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We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.
This picture shows NASA's Deep Space Network, which searches the sky for radio signals.
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NASA/JPL

Looking for Life's garbage

Most forms of life leave evidence behind that they are there. Plants use up carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Some bacteria are known to release nitrogen into the environment. People leave behind smog, radio signals, and garbage.

Io, Titan, and perhaps Triton, show some of the waste products of life, including molecules of oxygen, nitrogen, or the more sophisticated hydrocarbons such as Polycyclic-Aromatic-Hydrocarbons (PAH's). These constituents are not present in the environments of most planets and moons.

This means that there is no evidence that sophisticated creatures are present.


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The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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The Atmosphere of Triton

Triton, by far the largest moon of Neptune, is slightly smaller than Earth's Moon. Triton has the coldest surface temperatures in our Solar System. Surprisingly, this frigid moon has an atmosphere, albeit...more

Can there be Life in the Environment of Jupiter?

Jupiter's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +32 degrees (freezing temperature)....more

The possible discovery of Life on Mars

In July, 1996, it was announced that Dr. David McKay, along with a team of scientists at Johnson Space Center (a division of NASA), had discovered possible fossils of bacteria in an ancient rock from Mars....more

The Environment of Saturn

Saturn's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +80 degrees. With winds...more

The Environment of Titan, can there be Life?

Titan's atmosphere is a lot like the Earth's, except that it is very cold, from -330 degrees to -290 degrees! Like the Earth, there is a lot of Nitrogen and other complex molecules. There also may be an...more

Autotrophs

Autotrophs are organisms that produce organic compounds from an inorganic source of carbon (carbon dioxide) given a source of energy. If the source of energy is the reactions of inorganic chemical compounds,...more

Coacervates

In the warm primordial ocean, aggregates of amino acids, proteins, and other hydrocarbons coalesced into a form called *coacervates*. Organic polymers such as amino acids will spontaneously form coacervates...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF