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Why space travel demands a well-stocked cosmic pharmacy

In space, no one can hear you sneeze. But if an astronaut does catch the flu, it can be a ...
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Recreation of Earth’s ancient hydrothermal vents suggests life could emerge even on ‘hellish worlds’

One theory for how life emerged suggests that it originated in the sea, at alkaline hydrothermal vents. It’s impossible to ...
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If we want to go to Mars, we’ll need to figure out how to feed our astronauts. Synthetic biology can help.

Revolutionary food production and closed-loop biomanufacturing could transform human space travel and address the growing food crisis on Earth ...
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Can the human body survive a trip to Mars unharmed? New study casts doubt on safety of long-term space travel

Extended periods in space have long been known to cause vision problems in astronauts. Now a new study in the ...
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Discovery of microbes under ocean floor suggests life could thrive in ‘extreme environments’ like Mars

When scientists find microbial life thriving in some of the most extreme environments on Earth, it gives them hope that ...
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Visit Mars and bring back alien life? Troubles containing coronavirus should make us wary of bringing microbes to Earth

You know what? Maybe we ought to reconsider this whole thing about looking for life on other worlds. It would ...
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Human hibernation eyed as solution for severe trauma, weight loss and deep-space travel

A small group of scientists is taking human hibernation extremely seriously. They are studying the basic mechanisms with an eye ...
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What to make of ‘photographic proof’ of insect life on Mars? More than likely, they’re just rocks

William Romoser, a professor emeritus who specializes in arbovirology (the study of viruses transmitted by arthropods) and entomology at Ohio ...
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We may need to genetically engineer astronauts to protect them from radiation during long space flights

One of the main health concerns with space travel is radiation exposure. If, for example, scientists could figure out a way ...
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Have we already discovered life on Mars? And did we accidentally kill it?

In a recent opinion piece in Scientific American, former Viking Mars investigator Gil Levin fired up anew the argument over whether that ...
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Orange skin? That’s just one of the ways our bodies might evolve if we settle on Mars

Over time, we should expect a fair bit of evolutionary divergence between Mars settlers and the human population on Earth, ...
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How NASA’s struggle with radiation-resistant microbe could help us understand infections

Bacteria have infiltrated sterile rooms NASA used to build space equipment. Studying what happens to them in outer space could ...
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‘The Martian’: More science than fiction? Crops could grow in space, study suggests

Whoever is going to survive on the Moon and Mars is going to have to eat. There’s just one problem ...
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How genetically engineered crops can help us colonize space

If we are serious about settling on other planets, we must grow food efficiently outside the safe environment of Earth ...
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Why this NASA engineer believes we’ve already found evidence of life on Mars

I was fortunate to have participated in that historic adventure as experimenter of the Labeled Release (LR) life detection experiment ...
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Would the discovery of life on Mars be ‘world-shaking’?

In a recent interview with the Telegraph, NASA chief scientist Jim Green said it’s possible we’ll soon find evidence of life on ...
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Rapid mutation: Why future Mars’ colonists could evolve into a ‘completely different species’

In a new interview with Inverse, evolutionary biologist and Rice University professor Scott Solomon thinks it’s worth asking what will happen to Mars colonists in ...
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‘Second genesis’: Assessing the evidence for life on Mars

Today, the burning question isn’t whether Mars might once have been habitable – at various times in its distant past, ...
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Was life on Earth ‘just a lucky accident’? Next Mars mission will drill for answers

American rocket engineers are being urged to push their next Mars mission to the limits of technological performance. Space scientists have ...
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We could visit Mars within a decade—and grow food when we get there

A visit to Mars is almost guaranteed within the next decade or so .... And long-term occupation may not be ...
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Using synthetic biology to help humans adapt to a life on Mars

Synthetic biology could solve many problems that Mars colonization brings up ...
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What are the odds that aliens might actually look similar to us?

In his new book, Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution, Charles Cockell from the University of Edinburgh makes the argument ...
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Mars conundrum: How do we explore without contaminating the Red Planet?

Space exploration experts worry over what will happen if a human expedition introduces Earth's microbes to Mars. Are those concerns ...
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Tick tock, circadian clock research wins Nobel Prize—and why it may help us sleep and travel to Mars

Our clock system is in organisms across the planet. Better understanding of our internal body rhythms may help pave the ...
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Could life have emerged multiple times on Earth, in the universe?

If we discover that life forms on Mars or Europa do not share an origin with Earth life, we'll have ...
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Science deniers stay home: Synthetic biology crucial to human missions to Mars

Bioprocessing of lunar materials will allow us to transport more people and non-consumable supplies (such as equipment) back and forth, ...