Questions tagged [life]

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

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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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611 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
246 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 ...
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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.)?
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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?
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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 ...
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1answer
101 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
180 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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?...
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Is there any life from Earth that can live on Mars?

Does Mars have any environment in which a plant, virus or otherwise would be capable of living on Mars without an artificial environment? Is there anything that can live below the Armstrong Limit on ...
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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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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 ...
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1answer
608 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 ...
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1answer
107 views

How possible is it to have a habitable planet with no moon like Earth has?

This article describes how Earth's Moon helps Earth's core remain liquid, thus maintaining our magnetic field. The magnetic field, in turn, protects life on Earth from radiation. To what extent is it ...
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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 ...
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4answers
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Is 'Mars One' a one-way mission for fear of infecting Earth with unknown pathogens?

Will the Mars One mission team be testing samples to know for sure that there are no deadly viruses on Mars? If there are no viruses, will this pave the way for Mars travel? What would be the ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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1answer
82 views

How (if possible) can we assess the isotope variations on martian soils?

I'm personally interested in the biological implications of different isotope variations on biology. This can be tested on earth by separating them and just observing, but determining the isotope ...
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1answer
254 views

Could a molecular cloud be breathable?

Molecular clouds in deep space are fascinating objects. Various organic molecules have been found there (including alcohol, heh heh). So if one of these clouds contained about 20% of oxygen, would it ...
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What percent of star systems has planets that could potentially support life?

I wonder if there are any calculations that estimate the percentage of star systems with planets that potentially can support life?
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Who gets to represent Earth in case of an Alien meeting? [closed]

Let's assume the aliens that come to visit our planet are friendly and somewhat like humans. Who will be the one to tell them about our habits and technology? Very curious if there are any laws that ...
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1answer
171 views

Are there any procedures against biohazard containment failure on ISS?

This question might be more of a sci-fi question, so forgive me. It was inspired on behalf of the movie Life (2017) where the crew aboard the ISS catch a soil sample from Mars, and discover that it ...
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Mars drill depth to discover Life

Curiosity has shown that Mars used to have persistent liquid water on the surface. (~3+ billion years ago.) IF life was around at that time, at what depth would we expect to find it? Without plate ...
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1answer
261 views

Smallest planet where human type life could evolve and survive?

Most exoplanets making the news are larger than Earth. I wonder about the smaller worlds, how small is too small? Reword to keep the question narrow enough to be answerable. When the Earth was ...
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1answer
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Is child birth possible in lower gravity?

We are probably going to create colonies on Mars in few decades or centuries, so which steps have been taken by NASA or other space agencies to find out if child birth is possible in a lower gravity ...
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1answer
864 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 ...
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Could 'life' exist on other planets without water - as electrical impulses, for example?

Like many laymen I always wonder why scientists only ever talk about life on other planets - and get excited by the prospect - when they find planets that may have water. Has anyone suggested that ...
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How long can an astronaut stay in space and later have children?

While reading about the effects of microgravity on reproduction I was thinking about all the other aspects of space flight and how they may decrease fertility in both men or women (such as changes in ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Could a rogue planet's moons harbor life?

Because stars kill stuff with radiation, flares, etc, then die taking planets with them, might it not be easier for living things to live on a rogue planet's moon? Say you had a rogue Jupiter-like ...
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1answer
135 views

What exoplanet atmospheres might support life beside our nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere? [closed]

What exoplanet atmospheres might support life beside our nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere? Related question: Could an exoplanet atmosphere be very similar to our own, but contain some component toxic ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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How does the presence of water on a planet indicate a likelihood of life?

As title says. We find water on a planet, and we assume that it's more likely life is there. How/why is this the case? Isn't it possible some life could survive without water? Even if the answer is '...
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1answer
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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 ...
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How are organisms allowed be engineered to terraform Mars when NASA and others go through such measures to sterlize their probes?

There seems to be talk (and even some action done by DARPA) about engineering organisms to terraform Mars, however, current space organizations like NASA clearly do not want to get anything that could ...
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How would finding life on Mars affect the timeline to send people?

There are a lot of questions here about looking for life on Mars, potentially finding life on Mars, how to deal with life on Mars as far as contamination one way or the other, even whether or not ...
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1answer
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If there was DNA in the "organics" of a comet could we tell?

A recent news article says that the lander Philae on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko 67P, has discovered a rich array of organics and it quotes one leading scientist as saying it is a a frozen ...
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Why would TALISE be directed to the shore of Ligeia Mare?

TALISE (Titan Lake In-situ Sampling Propelled Explorer) is a proposed automated boat that would float in a lake called Ligeia Mare on Saturn's moon Titan. I saw an article that said once it touches ...
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What are the required parameters for modern Earth-like life on a planet? [closed]

You often hear scientists talk about it: we have found traces of molecules that are necessary for life on Mars. But we all know that Mars is not habitable right now. It might have been, but we cannot ...
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Could a biohazard sample return capsule from Mars be safely hard landed on Earth?

There are some planetary protection concerns about backward contamination of Earth by returning samples from Mars, a mission which may well happen around the Earth-Mars opposition of 2025. One of the ...
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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 ...
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4answers
668 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 ...
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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 ...
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Why haven't we sent seeds of life to other planets yet?

We could have sent seeds of life (say a few ounces of microbes) along with every planetary exploration craft. Why we haven't done that so far?