*Originally posted on AGU's Eos by Elizabeth Thompson
At the end of the 19th century, an astronomer named Percival Lowell first peered up at Mars and observed some dark lines with powerful implications--an extensive network of canals. He was thrilled to see what he considered evidence of an advanced civilization sculpting the Martian landscape as his fellow earthlings were constructing the Suez and Panama Canals.
Despite Lowell’s enthusiasm, these Martian canals were merely an optical illusion caused by the primitive telescopes of the day. But Giovanni Schiaparelli, the scientist who first observed the channels that Lowell interpreted to be canals, mapped out Martian seas and continents as well. Since his time, some studies have supported the idea that Mars had ancient oceans, long since dried up; others have challenged it.
*Originally posted on LSU's The Pursuit Blog by Paige Jarreau
Conferences! Whether you are a student or a faculty member, they provide a break from the normal school routine and a chance to learn more about the current research in your field.
But the excitement starts to wear off if you experience poster printing issues, travel delays, or arrive late to your first pre-conference meeting, review the conference agenda and discover all the relevant sessions are at the same time. That’s why we’ve gathered together some tips for attending a scientific conference, to help you rein in the craziness!
If life still exists on the Red Planet, it must be very rare – or so an unexploited energy source in the atmosphere suggests.
The Martian atmosphere is unusually rich in carbon monoxide, which many microbes here on Earth can convert to carbon dioxide to yield energy for growth.
“It’s a free lunch, just sitting in the atmosphere, that microbes could be eating,” says Steven Sholes, an astrobiologist at the University of Washington. The persistence of that leftover lunch suggests that Martian life must be nonexistent, or at least very rare.
*Authored by Peter Kelley and posted to UW Today on June 8, 2015.
Planets with volcanic activity are considered better candidates for life than worlds without such heated internal goings-on.
Now, graduate students at the University of Washington have found a way to detect volcanic activity in the atmospheres of exoplanets, or those outside our solar system, when they transit, or pass in front of their host stars.