Earth’s most arid desert may hold a key to finding life on Mars.
Diverse microbes discovered in the clay-rich, shallow soil layers in Chile’s dry Atacama Desert suggest that similar deposits below the Martian surface may contain microorganisms, which could be easily found by future rover missions or landing craft.
Amid the clatter in the days before the presidential election – the long lines at early polls, racial strife, street protests, political ad skirmishes and the streaming patter of television punditry – three College of Arts and Sciences professors offered a bright light at the end of the 2020 tunnel: hope for democracy.
As the frenzied 2020 presidential campaign reaches culmination, the nation’s media, political parties and courts brace for a possible contested outcome. But in the United States and around the world, heated national elections are nothing new.
Three decades after Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan suggested that Voyager 1 snap Earth’s picture from billions of miles away – resulting in the iconic Pale Blue Dot photograph – two astronomers now offer another unique cosmic perspective:
Lea Bonnefoy ’15, a Cornell postdoctoral researcher in astronomy who will soon examine NASA mission landing spots on the Saturnian moon Titan, has been awarded a 2020 L’Oréal-United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Young Talents France Prize For Women in Science.
Bonnefoy, who was among 20 doctoral candidates and 15 post-doctoral researchers in all selected to represent France, was recognized in the physical chemistry category.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54, whose legal career in the fight for women’s rights, equal rights and human dignity culminated with her ascent to the U.S. Supreme Court, and who – as an octogenarian – became a cultural hero and arguably the most beloved justice in American history, died Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C. She was 87.
Ginsburg died from complications of cancer, according to a statement from the Supreme Court.
In a little more than a decade, samples of rover-scooped Martian soil will rocket to Earth.
While scientists are eager to study the red planet’s soils for signs of life, researchers must ponder a considerable new challenge: Acidic fluids – which once flowed on the Martian surface – may have destroyed biological evidence hidden within Mars’ iron-rich clays, according to researchers at Cornell and at Spain’s Centro de Astrobiología.
The Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability has awarded seven Academic Venture Fund (AVF) interdisciplinary seed grants, totaling $1.1 million, for projects that engage faculty from eight Cornell colleges and 16 academic departments.
When astronomer Joan Schmelz met then-postdoctoral researcher Lisa Kaltenegger a decade ago at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the hottest cosmic theme to study was exoplanet exploration.
After examining a dozen types of suns and a roster of planet surfaces, Cornell astronomers have developed a practical model – an environmental color “decoder” – to tease out climate clues for potentially habitable exoplanets in galaxies far away.
The proliferation of medical misinformation on social media and the human experience of social distancing are among the pandemic-related topics to be studied with Rapid Response Fund grants from the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.
The next generation of powerful Earth- and space-based telescopes will be able to hunt distant solar systems for evidence of life on Earth-like exoplanets – particularly those that chaperone burned-out stars known as white dwarfs.
The chemical properties of those far-off worlds could indicate that life exists there. To help future scientists make sense of what their telescopes are showing them, Cornell astronomers have developed a spectral field guide for these rocky worlds.
After spotting a curious pattern in scientific papers – they described exoplanets as being cooler than expected – Cornell astronomers have improved a mathematical model to accurately gauge the temperatures of planets from solar systems hundreds of light-years away.