Curiosity rover finds ancient Mars was suitable for life

Bedrock seen by the Opportunity rover (right) which formed in acidic water and bedrock at the Curiosity landing site (right) which formed in non-acidic, pH neutral water, as found in a lakebed. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / MSSS
Bedrock seen by the Opportunity rover (left) which formed in acidic water and bedrock at the Curiosity landing site (right) which formed in non-acidic, pH neutral water, as found in a lakebed. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / MSSS

The analysis results of the first-ever rock drilling on Mars, by the Curiosity rover, were announced today by NASA at a press briefing in Washington. The new findings indicate that ancient Mars, at least in this area, was habitable and could have supported some form of life.

Read MoreCuriosity rover finds ancient Mars was suitable for life

More evidence that Europa’s ocean is similar to Earth’s

Artist's illustration of how water from Europa's underground ocean can reach the surface. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Artist’s illustration of how water from Europa’s underground ocean can reach the surface.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

As one of the few places in the solar system other than Earth known to have an ocean, Europa has become one of the most fascinating worlds that we know of. This moon of Jupiter is small, but enticing – beneath its frozen surface of ice is a global ocean of water, making it a primary focus of study, especially in terms of the search for life elsewhere.

Read MoreMore evidence that Europa’s ocean is similar to Earth’s

Colourful exoplanets may be first to show evidence of alien life

Colourful alien life may be the easiest to find. Credit: Don Johnston / Getty Images
Colourful alien life may be the easiest to find. Credit: Don Johnston / Getty Images

Exoplanets are now being discovered on a regular basis, including ones that may be potentially habitable. But when even the nearest ones are so far away compared to the planets in our own solar system, how could they be studied for possible signs of life? Is that even possible?

Read MoreColourful exoplanets may be first to show evidence of alien life

Some exoplanets may be even more habitable than Earth

Some rocky exoplanets may be warmer and more geologically active than Earth—and perhaps even more habitable. Credit: J. Pinfield / RoPACS / University of Hertfordshire

In the search for life elsewhere, the Earth is typically used as a standard against which other planets, or moons, are compared. Since our planet is teeming with seemingly countless life forms, it must represent the near-perfect, most ideal conditions for life to flourish, right? It would seem so, but new research is suggesting that may not be the case, that there may be other exoplanets in other solar systems which are even better suited for life than Earth is.

Read MoreSome exoplanets may be even more habitable than Earth

Planets orbiting dying stars are probably dead too

Planets orbiting white dwarf or brown dwarf stars may not be good candidates for life, a new study shows. Credit: NASA / S. Charbinet

If you are searching for other inhabited worlds, almost any kind of star may do according to current findings, except perhaps for white dwarfs. As it turns out, planets orbiting these dying stars, as well as brown dwarfs, are probably very poor candidates for life.

Read MorePlanets orbiting dying stars are probably dead too

Microbial life found thriving under Antarctic lake ice: an analogue for Europa?

The ice-covered surface of Lake Vida in Antarctica; in the deep, dark water below, an amazing microbial exosystem thrives. Credit: Bernd Wagner / University of Cologne, Germany

A new discovery here on Earth may have implications for the search for life elsewhere, in particular icy waterworlds like Jupiter’s moon Europa.

Read MoreMicrobial life found thriving under Antarctic lake ice: an analogue for Europa?