Questions tagged [life]

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

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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 ...
10
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4answers
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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?
23
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1answer
4k views

Why is there a pregnancy test kit on the ISS?

A comment by Organic Marble on the question Is it possible to get pregnant through natural means in space? includes a link to PREGNANCY TEST (ISS MED/3A - ALL/FIN) which seems to indicate there is a ...
13
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1answer
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Melanized fungi on the ISS - are they 'enjoying' the elevated radiation levels there?

The end of this excellent answer lead me to Wikipedia which linked to The blacker the better… especially in Chernobyl and Chernobyl Fungus Feeds On Radiation. One passage in 'blacker the better' ...
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2answers
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Can plants grow in microgravity?

If a manned mission to another far-off planet were to take place, the crew probably would need something more sustainable than tubes for a food resource - plants would probably be the best option. ...
19
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1answer
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Why is Curiosity not heading for Peace Vallis?

For over 5 years Curiosity has been successfully searching for many signs that water was once present at Gale crater. Its geology is notable for containing both clays and sulfate minerals that may ...
8
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2answers
1k views

What is meant by 'Organics' when discussing space exploration?

A recent news article Comet landing: Organic molecules detected by Philae (BBC 18 November 2014) talks about 'Organic molecules' being found on a comet. The question here Any regolith lunar samples ...
19
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4answers
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Could any life from Earth survive in Enceladus' oceans?

Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn, is probably unique in being the only body in our solar system besides Earth (and possibly Europa) to have significant amounts of liquid water. Most of this ...
14
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1answer
623 views

What non-plant, non-bacteria organisms have been studied for their use in colonization?

We hear a lot about the usefulness of plants and bacteria in human colonization efforts in space, whether interstellar or within our solar system. Other organisms, on the other hand, seem to receive ...
12
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4answers
654 views

Are we searching for life “as we don't know it”?

The phrase "Life as we know it" is often spoken with a knowing wink, and implies the speaker is in on the big secret. Life on Earth is carbon based and every form of life we know of is on Earth. Which ...
12
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3answers
531 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 ...
11
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1answer
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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, ...
8
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1answer
615 views

Which earth-based lifeforms can survive the vacuum of space?

The Tardigrade (or Water Bear) is a remarkable creature: It is able to survive in all sorts of extreme environments (taken from wikipedia): temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above ...
7
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2answers
789 views

What happens to a body, that has been exposed to vacuum, once brought back onboard?

You are on a ship in the cold vacuum of space. You find a body of an astronaut exposed to vacuum (for this instance just assume human, but you never know). The body was essentially freeze dried and ...
6
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1answer
161 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 ...
13
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1answer
848 views

Has any country stated its official position on how it would respond to a discovery of intelligent extra terrestrial life?

There are currently many programs that are attempting to find intelligent extraterrestrial life. Putting aside the fact that I believe that the chances of this are slim to none, I'm interested in ...
26
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2answers
809 views

How to explore subsurface oceans (cheaply)?

There are dozens of speculative proposals to explore Europa, Enceladus, and possibly other Solar System bodies (including Sedna and other Trans-Neptunians!) that may be endowed with liquid water under ...
21
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1answer
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Are there free insects in the ISS?

Are there free insects, living and breeding in the ISS, not part of an experiment? I am not asking about an occasional escaped single fruit fly, Nor am I asking about insects contained in a enclosure ...
17
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3answers
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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 ...
15
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2answers
648 views

What are the constraints for a successful robotic mission to Europa?

Of all the destinations within our solar system, the one that intrigues me the most is Europa. Every location has its own merits and beauty, but I'm most optimistic about finding life on Europa. It's ...
12
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2answers
710 views

What existing life on Earth is best suited for the Martian environment?

What existing life on Earth is best suited for the Martian environment? By best suited, I mean it could theoretically be placed on Mars and easily adapt or thrive within the existing environment the ...
11
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1answer
419 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 ...
8
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1answer
768 views

Will my hair raise if I land on the dark side of the moon?

The dark side of the Moon (i.e., the side not currently illuminated by the Sun) has high static potential. But I have heard that hairs can raise if humans are exposed to such situation. But if I ...
7
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1answer
196 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 ...
5
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2answers
612 views

Have extremophiles and anaerobic extremophiles been studied in space?

Extremophiles are organisms that can survive in physically and geothermally extreme conditions. The anaerobic variety do not require oxygen in order to survive. Has extremophiles' survival, in ...
2
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2answers
242 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 ...
14
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4answers
267 views

What properties are used to quantify the odds of a star harboring earth-like life?

Say you start with a list of stars. What properties do we believe to be critical in the present existence or future formation of earth-like life in those star systems? How can one reasonably pare down ...
11
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1answer
937 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 ...
7
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1answer
462 views

Can (human) gas propel someone in a contained space station?

I am NOT trying to be lewd, but I had a student ask this. Yes, she may have been tongue-in-cheek, but I promised to answer her. And yes, I am trying to keep this as practical as possible. If and ...
6
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3answers
658 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?
3
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1answer
3k views

Could you hear the sound of your own body in the vacuum of space?

I think the answer to this question probably lies more in biology than astrophysics. If you were in space with an oxygen mask on (ignoring the fact that you will get quite cold for the moment) you ...