NASA scientists probe space for signs of life, college students follow suit

English: The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) begi...
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) begins its separation from Space Shuttle Discovery following its release on mission STS-82. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The appearance of ice found on planet Mercury may prove that life exists in space, according to a recent article published by USA Today.

An asteroid or comet may have deposited this organic material onto the planet as the result of a previous collision. The presence of frozen water discovered under layers of bedrock underneath the soil has only recently been documented by NASA’s orbiting probe, MESSENGER.

Scientists have found ice crystals on the surface of the planet, near the north snd south poles, as well.

NASA has been making the rounds of nearby planets with the assistance of the Mars rover, Curiosity, in an attempt at detecting signs of life outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Professional astrophysicists aren’t the only ones concerned with this new information. Students from universities the world over are jumping at the opportunity to find out how water-bearing planets are formed and how this leads to the presence of intelligent life on an evolutionary scale.

UCF Today reported that students at the University of Central Florida will be taking a trip to the International Space Station in December 2013 to conduct research on how stars are formed.

Physics professor Joshua Colwell will be taking a group of students with him next year, in addition to an experiment they completed last semester while riding in an airplane which simulated the lack of gravity in space.

Advances in the development of telescopes have also allowed us to delve deeper into the physical makeup and systemic origins of space matter. High-resolution cameras, such as the Large Binocular Telescope has equipped, use infrared beams to peer through the cosmic void in search of answers.

Invented just shy of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s looking-glass, this telescope is one of the most highly regarded technical instruments in the industry. This makes the 2005 model 10 times more powerful than the Hubble telescope of 1990. And the Thirty-Meter telescope, still in the design stage at the University of California, might be able “look back in time,” as Popular Mechanics magazine suggests, allowing scientists to discover how the solar system formed eons ago.

The focus humans have devoted to space is nothing new. Civilizations have been transfixed by this journey toward a deeper understanding about how we came to be living on this hunk of rock cradled within the Goldilocks Zone.

Can learning about our past lead to the discovery of the origins of life on other planets?

As time goes on, we will see more discoveries led by the students of today, in their pursuit of becoming the scientists of tomorrow.

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