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Planetary science

At Phys.org: Experimentalists: Sorry, no oxygen required to make these minerals on Mars

"There are several life forms even on Earth that do not require oxygen to survive," Mitra said. "I don't think of it as a 'setback' to habitability—only that there was probably no oxygen-based lifeforms." Read More ›

At Phys.org: Comet impacts could bring ingredients for life to Europa’s ocean

"Comet strikes on Jupiter's moon Europa could help transport critical ingredients for life found on the moon's surface to its hidden ocean of liquid water—even if the impacts don't punch completely through the moon's icy shell." Read More ›

At Sci News: Transits through Milky Way’s Spiral Arms Helped Form Early Earth’s Continental Crust, Study Says

New research led by Curtin University geologists suggests that regions of space with dense interstellar clouds may send more high-energy comets crashing to the surface of the Earth, seeding enhanced production of continental crust. The findings challenge the existing theory that Earth’s continental crust was solely formed by processes inside our planet. Earth is unique among the known planets in having continents, whose formation has fundamentally influenced the composition of the mantle, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Cycles in the production of continental crust have long been recognized and generally ascribed to the periodic aggregation and dispersal of Earth’s continental crust as part of the supercontinent cycle. However, such cyclicity is also evident in some of Earth’s most ancient rocks that Read More ›

At Phys.org: Underwater snow gives clues about Europa’s icy shell

Researchers: "When we're exploring Europa, we're interested in the salinity and composition of the ocean, because that's one of the things that will govern its potential habitability or even the type of life that might live there." Read More ›