Mars rover detects chemicals of life — but it doesn’t prove aliens just yet, scientists caution

A recent study published in the scientific journal Nature reveals the existence of organic compounds on Mars. The good news is this could indicate the existence of life — the bad news is that there are other possible explanations.

Organic compounds are molecules formed from carbon, although they often include other life-associated elements like phosphorus, oxygen, sulfur, hydrogen and nitrogen....

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Phosphorus, a building block for life, was just discovered on a moon of Saturn

At first glance, Enceladus doesn’t look like much — just a scuffed up, icy white ball that spins around the planet Saturn. Yet a recent study in the journal Nature revealed quite significant evidence for life on the distant moon. Using archival data from a past NASA mission, scientists analyzed a watery plume shot into space from Enceladus’ southern hemisphere, revealing traces of phosphorus....

Originally posted on salon.com

A highly anticipated Venus probe sees its funding slashed — and some scientists are very upset

NASA’s 2024 budget request includes a near-total reduction in funding for a highly anticipated Venus mission — and now, a number of prominent scientists are saying that the decision amounts to an effective cancellation of a highly anticapated mission to the second planet.

Yet not all space scientists and engineers agree with that assessment, saying that NASA budget critics are misusing the word “cancel.”...

Originally posted on salon.com