This week was a disappointing one for NASA and fans of space exploration, as the space agency announced that two pioneering projects, the Kepler Space Telescope, and the Dawn spacecraft asteroid explorer, have run out of fuel and both will be left to drift in space.
Scientists have made a massive breakthrough in the search for water on Mars, the discovery of a huge reservoir of water beneath the planet’s surface. The subsurface 20km lake at the planet’s southern pole gives us our strongest sign yet that Mars could support living organisms.
The past month has seen several fairly major developments with regards to the discovery of organic molecules at different locations in the solar system. First NASA announced the discovery of variations in methane concentrations on Mars, followed by the discovery of organic molecules in Martian mudstone. More recently it was revealed that the Cassini probe had observed even more massive organic molecules on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. What is it about these discoveries that point to the possibility of life elsewhere in the Solar-system?