The trouble with tubules: chemical gardens mimic purported fossils

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” single-celled micro-organisms. Unfortunately for palaeontologists, however, these small, soft, delicate … Continue reading The trouble with tubules: chemical gardens mimic purported fossils

The chemistry of fossilization on Earth and Mars

Fossils provide our most decisive evidence for testing hypotheses about the abundance, diversity, and evolution of life on Earth over the past three-and-a-half billion years. They are also our best hope for answering one of the most compelling questions in science: was there ever life on Mars? Continue reading The chemistry of fossilization on Earth and Mars

Lost in Space

“Though a planetary perspective is a magnificent and enriching thing, places, not planets, are the core of human experience. It is from places that we build our world.” —    Mapping Mars, Oliver Morton (2002) “He stood thereby, though ‘in the centre of Immensities, in the conflux of Eternities,’ yet manlike towards God and man; the vague shoreless … Continue reading Lost in Space