Mars rocks may harbor signs of life from 4 billion years ago

Iron-rich rocks near ancient lake sites on Mars could hold vital clues that show life once existed there, research suggests.

These rocks -- which formed in lake beds -- are the best place to seek fossil evidence of life from billions of years ago, researchers say ,according to Science Daily.

A new study that sheds light on where fossils might be preserved could aid the search for traces of tiny creatures -- known as microbes -- on Mars, which it is thought may have supported primitive life forms around four billion years ago.

A team of scientists has determined that sedimentary rocks made of compacted mud or clay are the most likely to contain fossils. These rocks are rich in iron and a mineral called silica, which helps preserve fossils.

Tiny insect robot takes to the air, powered by laser beam

Swarms of tiny robots that carry out time consuming tasks could soon become a common sight after scientists figured out how to attach a “brain” to the mini laser-powered machines.

The University of Washington research team that created the insect-inspired droids says they could be used for a range of jobs, including surveying crops and sniffing out gas leaks, according to RT.

The fly-sized robots are too small to use propellers, so they work by fluttering their tiny wings. Previous attempts to create robo-insects were limited by the fact that the electronics needed to power and control their wings were too heavy for the machines to carry, so they had to be controlled through wires from the ground.

However, the engineers figured out a way to use an invisible laser beam to power the bugs.

Astronomers find fastest-growing black hole known in space

Astronomers have found the fastest-growing black hole known in the Universe, describing it as a monster that devours a mass equivalent to our sun every two days.

The astronomers have looked back more than 12 billion years to the early dark ages of the Universe, when this supermassive black hole was estimated to be the size of about 20 billion suns with a one per cent growth rate every one million years, according to Science Daily.

"This black hole is growing so rapidly that it's shining thousands of times more brightly than an entire galaxy, due to all of the gases it sucks in daily that cause lots of friction and heat," said Dr Wolf.

"If we had this monster sitting at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon. It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star that would almost wash out all of the stars in the sky."

Dr Wolf said the energy emitted from this newly discovered supermassive black hole, also known as a quasar, was mostly ultraviolet light but also radiated x-rays.

Could a multiverse be hospitable to life?

A Multiverse -- where our Universe is only one of many -- might not be as inhospitable to life as previously thought, according to new research.

Questions about whether other universes might exist as part of a larger Multiverse, and if they could harbour life, are burning issues in modern cosmology, according to Science Daily.

Now new research, has shown that life could potentially be common throughout the Multiverse, if it exists.

The key to this, the researchers say, is dark energy, a mysterious "force" that is accelerating the expansion of the Universe.

What will happen when our sun dies?

Scientists agree the sun will die in approximately five billion years, but they weren't sure what would happen next -- until now, according to Science Daily.

A team of international astronomers, including Professor Albert Zijlstra from the School of Physics & Astronomy, predicts it will turn into a massive ring of luminous, interstellar gas and dust, known as a planetary nebula.

A planetary nebula marks the end of 90% of all stars active lives and traces the star's transition from a red giant to a degenerate white dwarf. But, for years, scientists weren't sure if the sun in our galaxy would follow the same fate: it was thought to have too low mass to create a visible planetary nebula.

To find out the team developed a new stellar, data-model that predicts the lifecycle of stars. The model was used to predict the brightness (or luminosity) of the ejected envelope, for stars of different masses and ages.

Prof Zijlstra explains: "When a star dies it ejects a mass of gas and dust -- known as its envelope -- into space. The envelope can be as much as half the star's mass. This reveals the star's core, which by this point in the star's life is running out of fuel, eventually turning off and before finally dying.

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