Questions tagged [life]

Questions regarding living organisms, searches for life, or human life in space.

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14
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5answers
3k views

What level of oxygen in a planetary atmosphere would be indicative of life?

Astronomical spectroscopy can be used to determine the chemical composition of far away bodies. In the related question Can we detect atmosphere on exoplanets? we learned that even now we are studying ...
12
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3answers
501 views

Phosphine, yes — but where are the organic compounds on Venus?

There has been much speculation in recent news about the finding of phosphine on Venus, and what may be producing it. At the same time, when we look for clues of life elsewhere in the Solar System, we ...
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0answers
35 views

Avoiding Martian contamination with Earth microbes

Unmanned probes can be sterilized, but when humans begin occupying Mars in large quantities, how can contamination of possible Martian microbes with Earth microbes be avoided?
17
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3answers
2k views

Could a spacecraft be made out of wood?

Could a spacecraft use organic materials, like wood or bone or shell or other tissues, as an interface to the vacuum and radiation of space? Would wood outgas and crack up in space? I wonder if life ...
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1answer
68 views

Could we intentionally contaminate another celestial body with life to start producing oxygen?

My question is simple, could we "nuke" a planet with life to create an atmosphere over time? I was seeing a documentary about Jupiter's moon, Europa, and how it could have hydro thermal ...
5
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3answers
301 views

Life on Mars: How do we know it is not from Earth?

Firstly I would like to start the question with the knowledge that we have, that the most basic form of life we want and expect to find in our Solar System is the primitive kind, such as viruses or ...
2
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0answers
149 views

Why were only three known-negative soil samples used to determine the Viking labeled release experiments' false positive rate?

According to Levin, Gilbert V., and Patricia Ann Straat. "The case for extant life on Mars and its possible detection by the Viking labeled release experiment." Astrobiology 16.10 (2016): ...
11
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1answer
933 views

How certain are we that we have not accidentally sent life to other planets/moons?

Recently phosphine was discovered on Venus, and that led to some speculation that life exists on Venus because phosphine is a known biosignature on Earth. Considering that we've sent probes to Venus ...
6
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1answer
169 views

Why are Viking LR results not sufficient evidence of life on Mars?

Gil Levin, one of the scientists involved with the 1976 Viking mission to Mars, has claimed and continues to claim that there is life on Mars, based off the positive results of the Labeled Release (LR)...
38
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3answers
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Why did the Chinese send flies and plants to the far side of the moon?

The Chinese space craft that just landed on the moon had a tube with a biosphere in with flies and plants. What are they expecting to learn? Didn't we already experiment that on the ISS? Source ...
6
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4answers
561 views

Is there likely to be life in Venus's upper atmosphere?

From what I understand, Venus's upper atmosphere is much more habitable than its surface, with a temperature and pressure that humans could tolerate. However, lack of oxygen and the presence of ...
7
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1answer
507 views

What was the design and/or results of the fish experiement onboard Space Shuttle Columbia disaster mission STS-107?

Highlights from NASA's webpage lists studies done during the Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-107 including student experiments, one of them including fish. What did the student fish experiment ...
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1answer
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How many astronauts have reported an alien encounter of some kind?

This question will be controversial, so I want to start out by saying that I am not advocating any sort of conspiracy. I'm merely acknolwedging the fact that there are numerous claims that some ...
5
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1answer
127 views

Space exploration designs based in biology?

I was reading about how many inventions are spurred by biological structures that exist in nature. A few of which include: Velcro: from burr cacti (and it is used in space, sometimes to scratch noses!...
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2answers
184 views

How to waterproof a rover?

What changes would be needed to a late model rover to enable it to function under water? What would prevent a rover from functioning under water as is? related: https://astronomy.stackexchange.com/...
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1answer
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Did Streptococcus mitis survive 950 days in the lunar environment?

The "Apollo 50th" account on Twitter tweets news and events day-to-day as they happened 50 years ago. Yesterday, the following information has been tweeted: The microorganism Streptococcus mitis ...
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0answers
297 views

What harm could perchlorate consuming bacteria do to (past) life on Mars?

Since the discovery of the toxic perchlorate being globally distributed in the martian soil the chances for microscopic life there are thought to be greatly reduced.. Even in the RSL's, once thought ...
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3answers
262 views

Challenges to building a human habitat on Titan (Saturn's Moon)?

I have been studying Titan for a while, reading documents from Cassini and Huygens (probes). On Titan there is an atmosphere, layer of clouds, seas of hydrocarbons (fuel and plastic for many centuries)...
7
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2answers
543 views

What other bodies in the solar system are most likely to contain forms of life?

There have been many candidates stated as potential habitats for life outside of Earth, but what are considered to be the most likely to harbor life?
4
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3answers
164 views

Evidence of alien civilizations

When scientists talk about the probability of us being the only intelligent species in the universe, they always say that "we should see the galaxy filled with life". I never really understood how ...
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2answers
239 views

Which are the reasons for wanting to have a colony in Mars first than in the Moon?

As far as I understand, (correct me if I'm wrong) one of the reasons for wanting a colony in Mars is for the possibility in the future of having a space port where rockets could leave the planet ...
11
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3answers
309 views

Is the rigorous disinfection process prior to launch necessary?

Before a rover or other exploration vehicle is launched, it undergoes rigorous cleaning and disinfection, such as a bath in UV rays to kill off bacteria. The official reasoning on this seems to be ...
6
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2answers
107 views

Were there any noticeable immune system changes observed for people staying for long in space?

I have read this article about how difficult is to send ships to another possible habitable world. One aspect deals with the human bacterial companions which might be greatly affected by prolonged ...
11
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1answer
195 views

Were any mammals born in space (or are there any confirmed planned missions to breed them)?

This answer claims rats had been born in space, but link with confirmation is broken. Some pregnant rats were in space, but those didn't give birth in space. This question has good answers regarding ...
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0answers
94 views

Have we looked in the right place for life on Mars?

I know it's (extremely) unlikely there is (& perhaps ever was) any life on Mars but having had a glance through the missions I can find I can't help thinking we've not really looked in the best ...
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6answers
555 views

Can a launch of a rocket or ship from Earth go so badly that it damages the Solar System?

Is it possible for a launch of a space object originating from Earth to go so badly that it would cause permanent damage to the Solar System or even destroy it? Example: a spaceship going off ...
7
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1answer
200 views

Can we grow potato in mars soil?

In the movie The Martian (Wikipedia, IMDB) the astronaut grew potatoes using "soil" from the surface of Mars. Does the surface of Mars have something equivalent to soil? If so, even after being ...
5
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1answer
6k views

Would you age slower on mars?

As far as I know, time dilation has little effect on Mars compared to Earth, and I'm not asking with that in mind. I'm rather asking if the low surface gravity (38% of Earth's) could allow humans to ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Can mushroom spores survive the vacuum and radiation of space?

From this source, it states that: Living spores have been found and collected in every level of earth’s atmosphere. Mushroom spores are electron-dense and can survive in the vacuum of space. ...
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0answers
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Future of civilization in our solar system - AI or Human? [closed]

Which civilization type from Earth is most likely to exist one million years from now? 1) Human/Biological 2) Artificial Intelligence 3) Both 4) Neither Interested in any enlightening comments. ...
6
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1answer
160 views

Aspects of “true deep space environment” on Gateway not thoroughly explored by decades of habitation of nine space stations already?

The ABC News article President Trump prompts state of confusion over space policy with tweet covers POTUS' tweet and NASA director Bridenstine's clarification tweet a few hours later, as well as cites ...
9
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1answer
2k views

How many astronauts are left handed?

One kind of 'popular science' fun facts that is very popular is to show how many of the individuals belonging to a notable group of people that are left handed, often showing a large disproportionally ...
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3answers
632 views

Can a flock of birds crash a rocket?

Has there ever been a situation when birds caused damage to a rocket? At what speed would birds be a problem? Could a rocket launch off water horizontally in stages?
11
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1answer
2k views

Largest inhabitable volume in space

When you look at space ships, capsules and stations, one thing that is lacking in space is… space. As in: pressurized volume a human can freely move in. Most are tiny tin cans. So I was wondering, ...
7
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1answer
194 views

Does exploration of Venus' atmosphere now require any planetary protection protocols?

This answer quotes Marc Rayman's August 21, 2018 Dawn Journal entry: Not all solar system bodies need such protection. The Moon, Mercury and Venus, for example, have not been of interest for ...
8
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1answer
505 views

Can centrifugal force actually overcome the health problems of microgravity?

Microgravity has a negative health effect which exercises cannot completely remedy. Rotation of spacecraft and the resulting centrifugal force have been suggested as a source of pseudo-gravity. But ...
2
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0answers
75 views

Would there be value in taking tardigrades on a Lunar mission?

China's Chang'e 4 mission recently initiated biological experiments on our moon. There's value in performing those experiments, of course. Now, I'd be curious to see how tardigrades do in the long ...
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2answers
609 views

Does SpaceX plan to enhance/change the genome of space colonists to speed up the adaptation process to the living conditions on Mars? [closed]

My understanding of biology is that all living organisms adapt to the environment around them. I would even say the environment shapes the very essence of an organism. Gravity alone is a huge factor ...
16
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1answer
4k views

How did humans grow plants on the Moon despite the harsh conditions?

The Chang'e 4 lander contains seeds to grow plants on the Moon. The Moon has non-sustainable life conditions. Among those are the lack of water, atmosphere, the varying extreme temperatures, the low ...
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0answers
158 views

Is there any reason other than lack of oxygen Tardigrades can't survive Mars?

If Cyanobacteria or Lichens can survive on Mars could other small organisms like the Tardigrade then survive & flourish among them? Due to the thicker atmosphere to be found the bottom of the ...
31
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3answers
3k views

Is it possible to get pregnant through natural means in space?

The Russians did some early testing with rats (Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, By Mary Roach pg 245) and natural means did not result in pregnancy. Later testing shipped ...
3
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1answer
238 views

Is Titan still the best bet for Extra-Terrestrial life?

I remember reading - probably decades ago - that Titan would be the most likely body within out Solar System to contain life. If memory serves, this was due to methane in the atmosphere and what were ...
4
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3answers
6k views

What is the maximum atmospheric pressure a human can tolerate? [duplicate]

How much pressure can the human body tolerate before living is impossible (e.g. skin begins to rupture, etc.)?
10
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4answers
2k views

What animals, if any, have reproduced in space?

Have any living animals successfully reproduced entirely in space? If none have, what animals have had the most complete reproductive cycles in space?
9
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0answers
892 views

Could there be liquid hydrogen oceans on the surfaces of worlds (including frozen gas giants) in the distant Kuiper belt or Oort cloud?

This is something I'm wondering for a science book I'm writing (not science fiction) where I cover the various forms of life that could exist especially in our solar system - such as life on Mars of ...
2
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1answer
80 views

Is microgravity “known to” increase bacteria's tendency to acquire foreign genetic material and become metal & antibiotic-resistant?

The RT article Mutant superbugs menace future space station expeditions – NASA ends with: Microgravity is known to increase a bacterium's tendency to acquire foreign genetic material and to become ...
11
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1answer
415 views

Have there been experiments in space to determine how plants grow without any gravitational or light cues for direction?

I just read a question on the gardening stack site about why plants grow up, to which one of the answers has mentioned experiments on the ISS, and which stated: experiments on the ISS have shown ...
2
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1answer
152 views

NASA's Curiosity Rover - Carbon Isotope Ratio of Methane?

The following is taken from Sinha & Rral , 2015: "NASA's Curiosity rover has the capability to search for organic compounds and to identify the chemical and isotopic composition of the Martian ...
4
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1answer
87 views

Methane and the Search for Life on Mars

I was wondering, if we measured the carbon isotopic ratio of methane on Mars and found that it was very negative (i.e. it contained more carbon-12 than carbon-13), would this provide definitive proof ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Have water bears ever been studied on the ISS or in Space?

I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with the ever resilient tardigrades. Have we ever done studies to see how they would fair in a space environment or any other neat studies, perhaps aboard the ISS?...