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In 1960, Dr Frank Drake came up with the Drake Equation - a formula calculating the likelihood of of extraterrestrial intelligence from seven key elements. The figures, approximate as they were, suggested the number of alien civilisations able to communicate with Earth was at least 10,000. But with the recent discovery of microbes which thrive in an arsenic-rich environment, scientists are now contending with the idea that life on Earth...


 Drake Equation Frank Drake extraterrestrial life arsenic evolution life prehistoric civilization microbe biochemistry
Fuel cells need a catalyst to speed up the chemical reactions that change hydrogen into water and electricity. Platinum is very good at this but it is famously expensive and rare. Some microbes, though, have known for a billion years how to make enzymes that can do the job using cheap and abundant nickel and iron. These natural enzymes are unfortunately difficult to obtain and do not do so well outside the microbe. Now researchers have...


 platinum nickel catalyst chemistry hydrogen fuel sustainability energy enzyme microbe
Striking new images from the mountains of Mars may be the best evidence yet of flowing, liquid water, an essential ingredient for life.
 Mars water salt extraterrestrial life 2010804 liquid microbe
Tiny structures found in 3.4bn-year-old sandstones in Western Australia represent some of the oldest, best preserved evidence of life on Earth. Scientists say their analysis of the microfossils clearly shows the organisms were processing sulphur for energy and growth - not oxygen.


 life evolution Earth Mars extraterrestrial life microbe sulfur oxygen Australia