Questions tagged [life]

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

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7
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1answer
1k views

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
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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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299 views

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 ...
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 ...
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6answers
556 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
219 views

I'm going to invade Europa, any international interferences that could stop me?

So I have some payload which is going to be sent to Jupiter's moon Europa. While my contract partner who is shipping my payload didn't specify strictly enough what the expected achievements of our ...
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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, ...
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524 views

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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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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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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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 ...
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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
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 ...
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172 views

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
287 views

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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974 views

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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269 views

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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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 ...
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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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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?
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How does the recent discovery of “microbes living 2,400m beneath the seabed off Japan” impact the search for life in our solar system?

A recent BBC news article reports on finding microbes living 2,400m beneath the seabed off Japan The team found that microbes, despite having no light, no oxygen, barely any water and very limited ...
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What is the cheapest and easiest way to look for life on Europa? [duplicate]

How much (roughly speaking, of course) would it cost to build and send a probe to look for life beneath the ice? A billion? 10 billion? 100 billion? What is the cheapest way to do it? What about the ...
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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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1answer
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What are the odds of finding a lifeless planet with breathable air?

As I understand it, our current breathable atmosphere on Earth is the result of early lifeforms transforming huge amounts of CO2 into O2. Before early life, even Earth's atmosphere wasn't livable for ...
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1answer
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Why did we take dinosaur bones into space?

For the past few days, since I found out about this, I've been trying to figure out what was the reasoning behind taking dinosaur bones into space. Everywhere I looked I couldn't find any explanation ...
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Does space environment affect human embryonic development?

What would the effects of pregnancy in space environment be on a human fetus? I understand that astronauts on long-duration missions in microgravity environment experience bone density loss. Would ...
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683 views

Logical Debunking of Alien Abduction/Encounters [closed]

I was just watching a story on TV about a man who tells a story of abduction (your basic run-of-the-mill abduction story) and was thinking about how every time someone explains these stories, the ...
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1answer
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Life on Earth previous to us [closed]

I've seen in several places that there seems to be an extinction cycle on earth of approximately 27 million years. I've read this here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1294372/Life-...
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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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Can humans live in something like the ISS around gas giants?

Beside solar winds and cosmic rays, would they need some form of shielding from whatever deadly comes from these planets ? And about this potentially deadly stuff coming from the planets, what would ...
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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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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 ...
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Does Mars One plan on taking precautions to ensure the Martian environment is not contaminated with Earth biota?

We have seen in these questions that one of the primary concerns in sending humans (or anything for that matter, but especially humans) to Mars is contamination of the Martian environment: How would ...
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1answer
206 views

Does NASA have a plan to search for the life in Europa?

Europa is one of the most interesting moons in our solar system. It seems possible that some kind of living beings are able to live beneath its frozen surface. Question. Does NASA (or any other ...
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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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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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1answer
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Do astronauts take any pills to battle bone density loss?

Is the effect of micro-gravity on bone structure similar to osteoporosis? If so, do they often take simple pills like calcium or more advance medicine such as ones listed here? Lastly, are they ...
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611 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 ...
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1answer
984 views

What kind of biological research does the ISS do?

As per this link, the International Space Station (ISS) continues to provide research in such fields as biology. What kind of biological research is being done on the ISS, considering there is no life ...
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558 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?
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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 ...
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1answer
620 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...