Model may explain origin of life

It's always been a bit of a mystery as to how life began on a molecular level. Theories tend to involve a network of molecules that have the ability to work together to jumpstart and speed up their own replication.

Asteroid belt boosts chances of complex life

The size and location of an asteroid belt could be a significant factor in determining whether complex life will evolve on a nearby Earth-like planet.

Curiosity set to scoop sand sample that could reveal ancient life

NASA's Curiosity rover is getting ready to take its first scoop of Martian soil.

Study supports theory that Earth life came from elsewhere

Scientists say they've found the best evidence yet for panspermia - the theory that life on Earth developed from microorganisms brought here from other planets on asteroids, meteors and the like.

Icy organics help understanding of origin of life

NASA scientists are zapping organics with lasers in an attempt to discover how life arose on Earth.

Weird exoplanets could harbor weird life

New research indicates that life might be able to survive on some of the odder exoplanets discovered so far - from scorching hot worlds with molten surfaces to freezing balls of ice.

Early Mars not so wet after all

One of the most encouraging signs for those searching for evidence of early water on Mars has been the existence of clays. But a French-US team has now rained on that particular parade.

Ship aims to sample deepest-ever life

A Japanese deep sea drilling vessel, Chikyu, yesterday set a new world record, by drilling down over 2,111 meters below the seafloor to collect rock samples.

How much life is on Earth?

The total mass of all life on Earth is about one third less than thought, a new analysis has indicated.

Life's building blocks could be near Martian surface

If there's any evidence of ancient life on Mars, it's likely to be found near the surface, new research suggests - dramatically upping the chances that it'll be discovered by the Curiosity rover, set to land next month.

Lichen shown to survive in outer space

An experiment carried out on the Internatonal Space Station has shown that lichen can survive in outer space - lending support to the 'panspermia' theory that life arrived here from elsewhere.

'Extensive' water found in Mars' interior

There's vastly more water in Mars's mantle than previously thought - as much as on Earth, in fact - dramatically raising the chances that the planet might once have sustained life.

Could these strange new microbes survive on Mars?

Scientists have discovered new types of organism living in one of the most inhospitable soils in the world - raising hopes that something similar could survive on Mars.

Mars methane not biological in origin

Disappointingly, scientists say they've been able to establish where the methane on Mars comes from - and it's not from living organisms.

Organic carbon originated on Mars

New, NASA-funded research indicates that very large molecules containing carbon - a key ingredient for the building blocks of life - have originated on Mars.

Nearby supernovae affect climate, and help life thrive

A Danish physicist has concluded that the explosion of nearby supernovae  has strongly influenced the development of life on Earth.

Artificial DNA alternative evolves on its own

The prospect of artificial life has just come one step closer, with the discovery that a synthetic version of DNA and RNA can evolve like the real thing.

Martian asteroid craters could be refuge for life

The best place to look for life on Mars and other planets could be the impact craters of asteroids.

Did 1976 Viking mission discover life on Mars?

Scientists believe they've found evidence for life on Mars - in data collected 36 years ago.

Martian pits could provide haven for life

ESA’s Mars Express has discovered a series of 'pit-chains' in the Tharsis region of Mars that could, says ESA, be tempting targets in the search for microbial life.