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View Resource The Goldilocks Zone

This on-line news article introduces the Goldilocks Zone, an area of space adequate for the survival of life. Initially believed to be a remarkably small region of space that didn't even include the whole Earth, recent discoveries of extremophiles found thriving in unlikely habitats are convincing scientists to change their definition. Scientists Elena Pikuta and Richard Hoover are highlighted...

View Resource Planetary Exploration in the Time of Astrobiology: Protecting Against Biological Contamination

This article discusses the history and future of planetary-protection restrictions. It begins by addressing the difficulty of discovering (possibly rare) life elsewhere, and then describes the potential difficulties of dealing with alien life that could be discovered on other worlds or in samples returned to the Earth from space. Sections include an introduction, planetary protection heritage,...

View Resource Life on Earth: Signpost to Life on Mars

This magazine article features an interview with Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE) scientist Carol Stoker. In this second session of a four-part series, Stoker talks about some of the problems that occurred during the first field season and what they plan to do this season. She provides background by explaining the relevance of the MARTE project to the search for life on...

View Resource Magnetite Morphology and Life on Mars

This National Academy of Sciences scholarly paper discusses the strongest line of evidence for past life on Mars based on NASA's David McKay's original claims of finding nanofossils on the ALH84001 meteorite. This study concentrates on magnetite morphology, comparing morphologies of bacterial and abiotically produced magnetite. The findings are inconclusive, but do not strongly support evidence...

View Resource Evidence of Ancient Martian Life in Meteorite ALH84001?

This National Aeronautics and Space Administration website provides a summary of a study led by NASA's David McKay that may provide evidence for past life on Mars. McKay and his team found carbonate globule features on the ALH84001 meteorite that appear to be nanofossils. In addition, secondary mineral phases and hydrocarbons provide further evidence for past life. The website features color...

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