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Life

A view of the OpenWorm simulated nematode while swimming (Photo: OpenWorm)

The OpenWorm project is aimed at creating the first artificial lifeform – a bottom-up computer model of a millimeter-sized nemotode, one of the simplest known multicellular organisms. In an important step forward, OpenWorm researchers have completed the simulation of the nematode's 302 neurons and 95 muscle cells and their worm is wriggling around in fine form.  Read More

View of Yellowknife Bay formation with drilling sites (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The chances of life having once existed on Mars got a boost this week alongside good news for astronauts on any future expeditions to the Red Planet. Six papers from Curiosity team members presented to the autumn meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco revealed that they had directly dated their first Martian rock, gave details of an ancient lake where life may once of existed, and found new evidence about the radiation hazards that explorers and colonists may one day face.  Read More

Lab demonstration of the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has detected no methane on Mars after more than a year of extensive testing of the Martian atmosphere using the robot explorer’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory. Since methane is a key indicator for the presence of biological activity, its absence throws into question the notion that there may be life on Mars today.  Read More

Did life as we know it originate on Mars? (Image: Shutterstock)

New evidence presented by Prof. Steven Benner at The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology in Florida suggests that, billions of years ago, Mars was a much better place for the first cells to have formed compared to Earth. This gives more weight to the theory that life may have started on the Red Planet and then found its way to Earth aboard a meteorite.  Read More

Sugar molecules in the gas surrounding a young Sun-like star (Image: ALMA/L. Calçada & NAS...

Using the latest-generation Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), which is an advanced system of 64 radio-telescope antennas in northern Chile, scientists at the European Southern Observatory have discovered a simple form of sugar orbiting a small binary star. Known as 16293-2422, that star is only 400 light-years away, and has about the same mass as the Sun. The finding could shed light on how the building blocks of life can originate spontaneously in deep space, even without a planet to support them.  Read More

The iCHELLs created by a team from the University of Glasgow could be the first step on th...

All life on Earth is carbon-based, which has led to the widespread assumption that any other life that may exist in the universe would also be carbon-based. Excluding the possibility of elements other than carbon forming the basis of life is often referred to as carbon chauvinism and researchers at the University of Glasgow are looking to overcome this bias and provide new insights into evolution by attempting to create “life” from carbon-free, inorganic chemicals. They’ve now taken the first tentative steps towards this goal with the creation of inorganic-chemical-cells, or iCHELLS.  Read More

Artist’s conception of Stardust flying through gas and dust from comet Wild 2 (Image: NASA...

Fresh evidence has been revealed to support the theory that life on Earth began in space. NASA’s Stardust probe, a specially-designed comet ‘chaser’, successfully collected particles shed from Comet Wild 2 in 2004, and NASA scientists have since confirmed for the first time that amino acids can indeed be found on these extraterrestrial bodies.  Read More

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