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Astrobiology before “astrobiologists”: a potted history

Astrobiologists aim to work out how life fits into the wider universe, uniting biology with the planetary and space sciences to draw a unified picture of the cosmos and our place in it. This ambition is, of course, far older than the discipline itself. A 1748 engraving of an astronomy lecture. [Source] The atomist philosopher … Continue reading Astrobiology before “astrobiologists”: a potted history

New paper: could we find life’s fingerprints in mineral veins on Mars?

This blog post discusses a new article that my colleagues and I recently published in the journal, Astrobiology. Those with access to this journal can find the article here. Microscopic iron pyrite crystals preserved in an ancient gypsum vein — a new target in the search for life on Mars? Life on Earth is not limited … Continue reading New paper: could we find life’s fingerprints in mineral veins on Mars?

New paper: The trouble with tubules

Some naturally occurring iron-mineral filaments. Fossil microbes? (c) The author. For billions of years, microbes like bacteria have quietly transformed the Earth. They have re-routed the flow of nutrients around our planet, infused the atmosphere with oxygen, and built the biosphere from the bottom up. It is hard to overstate the palaeontological importance of “simple” … Continue reading New paper: The trouble with tubules