Ingredients for life on Saturn’s moon may be ‘tip of the iceberg’

Saturn moon Enceladus

There are likely to be many more ingredients for life on Saturn’s moon Enceladus than those identified so far, says Dr Frank Postberg from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, the lead author of a paper published on 27 June which revealed the presence of complex carbon-based molecules in the moon’s core. He says a fresh mission could … Read more

Microsatellite swarms could paint clearer picture of our planet

Microsatellites such as those developed by ICEYE not only reduce the size of the satellite but also cut costs significantly.

by Gareth Willmer Tiny, low-cost satellites that can work together to boost their output and a technology that reduces the loss of satellite data are two of the latest innovations to hit the Earth observation market – and the results promise to reveal a more detailed image of our planet. Space is not just a … Read more

Earth observations show Europe’s natural wealth in steep decline

Satellite data can show environmental shifts in protected areas like the Camargue wetlands, where rising sea levels have a damaging impact.

by Frieda Klotz In March 2018, French scientists reported a steep decline in the country’s bird populations, primarily as a result of agricultural activity. Causes include the increase in monoculture, detrimental land-use policies and, perhaps most importantly, the growth in the use of powerful pesticides such as neonicotinoids, which, by killing off insects, reduces the bird … Read more

Arsenic and permafrost microbes help hunt for life on Mars

Bacteria survive in the harsh conditions of the Andean lakes of Argentina among high concentrations of arsenic.

Studying environments that are similar to Mars, and their microbial ecosystems, could help prepare biologists to identify traces of life in outer space. In some of the most remote areas of our planet, scientists are examining how life can persist in the form of tiny microbes that inhabit a niche that would be fatal to … Read more