ญญWhat'sNEW in Cosmic Ancestry, beginning August 2020
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What'sNEW

30 Sep 2020
Water on Mars: discovery of three buried lakes intrigues scientists by Jonathan O'Callaghan, Nature, 28 Sep 2020.
Multiple subglacial water bodies below the south pole of Mars unveiled by new MARSIS data by Sebastian Emanuel Lauro et al., doi:10.1038/s41550-020-1200-6, Nature Astronomy, 28 Sep 2020. Life on Mars! has history.

14 Sep 2020
Clouds on Venus by JAXA Evidence is accumulating for life in Venus's clouds, as Hoyle and Wickramasinghe predicted.
Single-line millimetre-waveband spectral detections ...from the JCMT and ALMA telescopes have no other plausible identification — astronomer Jane Greaves, Cardiff University
...our most plausible explanation is life — molecular astrophysicist Clara Sousa-Silva, MIT
Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus by Jane S. Greaves et al., doi:10.1038/s41550-020-1174-4, Nature Astronomy, online 14 Sep 2020.
Something Weird Is Happening on Venus by Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 14 Sep 2020.
...life on Venus stirs up heated debate by Nadia Drake, National Geographic, 14 Sep 2020.
Thanks Thanks, Rob Cooper, Stan Franklin, James Powers and Bob Sweeney. And Ronnie McGhee:
...life on Venus? Check for spores in the atmosphere... by Charles Q. Choi, Space.com, 28 Aug 2020; re: ...the Venusian Aerial Biosphere by Sara Seager et al., Astrobiology, 13 Aug 2020.
Microorganisms in the Clouds of Venus by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1988.
Life on Venus by Chandra Wickramasinghe, The Times, London, 16 Sep 2020.
Venus's Clouds... by Chandra Wickramasinghe, The Daily Telegraph, 23 Sep 2020. George Nickas comments.

The launch of Perseverance
06 Sep 2020
What is Lyfe? Several new missions are on the way to Mars and planetary moons to look for signs of life. What might those signs be, if what's living there is not life-as-we-know-it? Various experts discuss implications of this question in a wide-ranging open-access review article.
Are aliens hiding in plain sight? by Philip Ball, The Guardian, 05 Sep 2020. Thanks Thanks, Justin Willingham.

Let's also be alert for evidence of life-as-we-know-it!       > What Is Life?
Life on Mars! has background about earlier evidence for life there, some predictions and updates.
> A fossil on Mars..., seen by NASA's Opportunity rover, is just one example of ignored evidence.

30 Aug 2020
Satellite images from NASA'S Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are sampled in a 2.5-minute video.
...10 Years of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA JPL via YouTube, 09 Mar 2016. Thanks Thanks, Rob Cooper.

26 Aug 2020
Tanpopo on ISS Bacteria survived on the exterior of the International Space Station. Japan's Tanpopo mission placed dried Deinococcus cells in pellets of varying small size on panels that were exposed to space for up to three years. The astrobiologists conclude that some colonies of these bacteria, even without shielding, could endure a trip between Earth and Mars.

DNA Damage and Survival Time Course of Deinococcal Cell Pellets During 3 Years of Exposure to Outer Space by Yuko Kawaguchi1 et al., doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.02050, Frontiers in Microbiology, 26 Aug 2020.
Bacteria could survive travel between Earth and Mars when forming aggregates, Phys.org, 26 Aug 2020.
Clumps of bacteria could spread life between planets by Paola Rosa-Aquino, Popular Science, 27 Aug 2020.
Bacteria: The Space Colonists has more.
Thanks Thanks, Jacob Navia, Richard Hoover, George Howard and many others.

comet Neowise
24 Aug 2020
Comet Neowise has passed its July 3 perihelion, releasing tons of gas and dust. New Hubble images show the comet spinning and still spraying contents in two prominent fans. The nucleus, maybe three miles in diameter, remains intact and concealed by a visible coma spanning 11,000 miles. Neowise now returns to its apahelion beyond the planets, not to reappear for 7,000 years.
Hubble Snaps Close-Up of Celebrity Comet Neowise NASA Hubblesite (+Newswise), 21 Aug 2020. Thanks Thanks, Rob Cooper.
Comets: The Delivery System has discussion and links.

21 Aug 2020
Bacteria living on atmospheric trace gases are found in Anarctica, the high Arctic and the Tibetan Plateau. Researchers at University of New South Wales, Sydney, and their affiliates found DNA sequences from the specialized metabolic genes in soil from those locations. The Australians conclude that bacteria surviving on air are likely widespread and could possibly exist on other planets.

Microbes living on air a global phenomenon by Caroline Tang, UNSW (+Newswise), 19 Aug 2020.
Soil Microbiomes With the Genetic Capacity for Atmospheric Chemosynthesis Are Widespread Across the Poles and Are Associated With Moisture, Carbon, and Nitrogen Limitation by Angelique E. Ray et al., doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.01936, Frontiers in Microbiology, 12 Aug 2020.
Life without water: how do bacteria generate biomass in desert ecosystems? by Sean Bay, Belinda Ferrari and Chris Greening, doi:10.1071/MA18008, Microbiology Australia, 21 Feb 2018.
Bacteria: The Space Colonists discusses their versatility, with links to updates.

16 Aug 2020
Clays in an Aguas Zarcas fragment may hold amino acids and stardust that predate the sun. Salts confirm that the meteorite came from a wet environment. The amino acids have remnants of the same chirality (left-handedness) as in all other carbonaceous meteorites – and in life.

Aguas Zarcas is a carbonaceous chondrite that fell in Costa Rica, 23 April 2019. Residents quickly gathered fragments which collectors and scientists were eager to buy. Fortunately, five days without rain left many pieces of the soluble meteorite intact. Meteoriticists like Richard Hoover and Daniel Glavin think Agua Zarcas could be as important as Murchison. And mainstream astrobiologists (we've come that far!) are saying that the life-like organics are pre-biotic ingredients for an origin-of-life soup. This is a small step in the direction of panspermia. But we think the organics may actually be post-biotic.
Agua Zarcas chart
Lucky strike by Joshua Sokol, Science, 14 Aug 2020.
Comets: The Delivery System has history and related links.

14 Aug 2020
Evidence for Ceres' ocean A salty underground ocean on Ceres is looking quite likely. An Italian team, studying close-up images taken by the Dawn orbiter in 2018, see evidence of fresh brines in Occator crater. Organics have already been seen elsewhere on the surface. Could there be life on this asteroid?
Ceres might be home to an underground ocean of water by Neel V. Patel, MIT Technology Review, 11 Aug 2020.
Asteroid Ceres: An Ocean World by Monica Young, Sky and Telescope, 10 Aug 2020.
Fresh emplacement of hydrated sodium chloride on Ceres from ascending salty fluids by M. C. De Sanctis et al., Nature Astronomy, Aug 2020.
Salt Water Remnants on Ceres, Astronomy Picture of the Day, 01 Sep 2020.
15 Mar 2018 and 17 Feb 2017: more about Ceres. Life on Europa, Other Moons, Other Planets? has related links.
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