As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

SPACE: Did Mars Rover Curiosity Just Detect an Alien Belch?

Curiosity Rover - NASA

A group of scientists may have just pinpointed the location on Mars of a mysterious source of methane, a gas most often produced by microbes — and NASA’s Curiosity rover could be right on top of it. Methane blips have pinged on Curiosity’s detection systems six times since the rover landed in Mars’ Gale crater in 2012, but scientists weren’t able to find a source for them. Now, with a new analysis, researchers may have traced the methane burps to their origin. To calculate the unknown methane source, researchers at the California Institute of Technology modeled the methane gas particles by … Read more

SPACE: Water-Based Life Extremely Unlikely On Venus

Venus - NASA

The amount of water in the atmosphere of Venus is so low that even the most drought-tolerant of Earth’s microbes wouldn’t be able to survive there, a new study has found. The findings seem to wipe out the hope stirred by last year’s discovery of molecules potentially created by living organisms in the scorched planet’s atmosphere that were seen as an indication of the possible presence of life. The new study looked at measurements from probes that flew through the atmosphere of Venus and acquired data about temperature, humidity and pressure in the thick sulfuric acid clouds surrounding the planet. … Read more

SPACE: Proxima Centauri’s Giant Flare Could Be Bad News for Possible Alien Life

Solar Flare - Pixabay

Scientists have spotted one of the largest stellar flares ever recorded in our galaxy. The jets of plasma shot outward from the sun’s nearest neighbor, the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri. The flare, which was around 100 times more powerful than any experienced in our solar system, could change the way scientists think about solar radiation and alien life. Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf — the smallest, dimmest and most common type of main sequence stars in the galaxy — located approximately 4.25 light-years from Earth. Its mass is only one-eighth of the sun’s, and it is orbited by … Read more

Could Aliens Breathe Hydrogen or Helium? This Bacteria Says Yes

yeast bacteria - deposit photos

Could aliens that breathe helium and hydrogen live on exoplanets throughout the cosmos? A new study of life on Earth suggests it’s possible. And if so, that would mean the hunt for life in the universe may need to look beyond oxygen-bathed planets to ones with seemingly inhospitable atmospheres. There is no question that an oxygen atmosphere is conducive to life — after all, it’s what we breathe on Earth. But oxygen isn’t common in the cosmos. It makes up about 0.1% of the mass of the universe. Far more common is hydrogen (92%) and helium (7%). The planet that … Read more

Are There Invisible Aliens Among Us?

Life is pretty easy to recognize. It moves, it grows, it eats, it excretes, it reproduces. Simple. In biology, researchers often use the acronym “MRSGREN” to describe it. It stands for movement, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion and nutrition. But Helen Sharman, Britain’s first astronaut and a chemist at Imperial College London, recently said that alien lifeforms that are impossible to spot may be living among us. How could that be possible? While life may be easy to recognize, it’s actually notoriously difficult to define and has had scientists and philosophers in debate for centuries — if not millennia. For … Read more

Why Aren’t We Finding Alien Life?

alien - deposit photos

If we discovered evidence of alien life, would we even realize it? Life on other planets could be so different from what we’re used to that we might not recognize any biological signatures that it produces. Recent years have seen changes to our theories about what counts as a biosignature and which planets might be habitable, and further turnarounds are inevitable. But the best we can really do is interpret the data we have with our current best theory, not with some future idea we haven’t had yet. This is a big issue for those involved in the search for … Read more

SPACE: Could Carbon Monoxide Be a Sign Of Life?

Scientists hunting for signs of alien life shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss carbon monoxide (CO), a new study suggests. The substance is highly poisonous to people and most other animal life here on Earth because it latches firmly onto hemoglobin, preventing this blood protein from carrying vital oxygen in the required quantities. And the gas hasn’t typically rated as a promising “biosignature” that astrobiologists should target in the search for ET. Indeed, many researchers regard CO as an anti-biosignature, because it’s a readily available source of carbon and energy that life-forms should theoretically gobble up. So, finding lots of … Read more

Rabid Reader Recommendations — R3 Wednesdays!

WELCOME to Rabid Reader Recommendations, or R3 WEDNESDAYS! We host this discussion the first Wednesday of every month; it’s a great opportunity to recommend and discuss works you have enjoyed in queer speculative fiction. For March’s R3, the theme is: Aliens!   HOW IT WORKS: The works have to be QUILTBAG Speculative Fiction. They have to be related to the theme. This is a reader discussion. Don’t recommend your own works–get someone to do it for you! Please include a Goodreads link or something comparable. You can create a new comment for each recommendation if you’d like. Join the Facebook … Read more

SPACE: Oxygen Isn’t the Only Possible Sign of Life

search for life

Alien-life hunters should keep an open mind when scanning the atmospheres of exoplanets, a new study stresses. The time-honored strategy of looking for oxygen is indeed a good one, study team members said; after all, it’s tough for this gas to build up in a planet’s atmosphere if life isn’t there churning it out. “But we don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket,” study lead author Joshua Krissansen-Totton, a doctoral student in Earth and space sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in a statement. “Even if life is common in the cosmos, we have … Read more

SPACE: Does Alien Life Exist?

UFO - Pixabay

Last month, The New York Times published an article describing a secret government program investigating reports by military pilots of unidentified flying objects they encountered in the course of their daily duties. The media was awash with stories of flying saucers and extraterrestrial encounters, with scientists downplaying the likelihood of alien visitation and UFO enthusiasts exclaiming their excitement. While I sit very firmly on the side that believes these reports more likely have an unremarkable and terrestrial explanation, whether alien life exists is a very real and credible scientific question. What is the possibility that life — and even intelligent … Read more