College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the media between September 28 - October 5, 2015
The search for life beyond Earth is one of the grandest endeavors in the history of humankind—a quest that could transform our understanding of our universe both scientifically and spiritually.
With news coming this week that NASA has confirmed the presence of flowing saltwater on the surface of Mars, the hunt for life on the Red Planet has new momentum.
"One of the many reasons this is exciting is that life as we currently know it requires water," said Alison Olcott-Marshall, assistant professor of geology at the University of Kansas. "So the fact that it's present at Mars means that the most basic and universal requirement for life was fulfilled."
In the journal Astrobiology, Olcott-Marshall recently has published an analysis of Eocene rocks found in the Green River Formation, a lake system extending over parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
Marshall and co-author Nicholas A. Cestari, a masters student in her lab, found these Green River rocks have features that visually indicate the presence of life, and they argue that probes to Mars should identify similar indicators on that planet and double-check them through chemical analysis.
"Once something is launched into space, it becomes much harder to do tweaks—not impossible, but much, much harder," Olcott-Marshall said. "Scientists are still debating the results of some of the life-detection experiments that flew to Mars on the Viking Missions in the late '70s, in a large part because of how the experiments were designed. Looking at Earth-based analogs lets us get some of these bumps smoothed out here on Earth, when we can revise, replicate and re-run experiments easily."
Additional media coverage includes:
- Stern: Prairies are an important ecosystem for KU and Kansas residents - The University Daily Kansan
- "Biogeography and Primate Evolution: Scientific Constraints on Improbable Events" - LJWorld
- With $527,154 grant, Monarch Watch will train tribes to restore butterfly habitats on their lands - LJWorld
- Oral histories from former key Kansas lawmakers to be heard Tuesday - Topeka Capital Journal
- Jayhawk Audubon Society: "Cicadas: What All of the Ruckus is Really About" - LJWorld
- Walls at the Statehouse are silent, but those inside are gabbing away - WIBW
- Flight of the Butterfly - Santa Rosa Press Gazette
- Kickstarter Campaign Merges Craft Beer and Adults with Disabilities - WFLX
- KU professor's discovery challenges historical understanding of the Enlightenment - LJWorld
- Adorable Moustached Kingfisher Photographed for First Time - National Audubon Society
- Haskell Indian Nations University Students Want Lawrence, Kansas to Recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day - Native News Online
- Rock samples from Western US teach how to hunt for life on Mars University of Kansas 1m - EurekAlert
- Rock samples from Western US teach how to hunt for life on Mars - Science Daily
- KU professor says answer to life on Mars could be found in Midwest rocks - 6 News
- Glowing sharks light up underwater worlds - CBC Television Network
- Rex Buchanan, leader of Kansas Geological Survey, to retire in 2016 - Topeka Capital Journal
- Mars: Western Rock Findings Reveal Clues to Keep in Mind on Red Planet - My informs
- Conservatives face long, maybe impassable, road to big victories - Miami Herald
- Sex Regret: When You Kind Of Wish You Hadn't... - Glamour Magazine
- New dietary guidelines must be sustainable, regardless of politics - Phys.org
- Shakespeare's language is 'means and mode' of his accomplishments, KU professor says - 6 News
- KU Theatre's 'Detroit '67' explores race issues still relevant today - Lawrence.com
- KU Theatre's 'Detroit '67' explores race issues still relevant today - LJWorld
- KU play highlights racial bias in 1967 Detroit - 6 News
- KU Theatre's "Detroit '67" touches on current race relation issues by retelling stories from the past – University Daily Kansan
- Teens Don't Really Like Taking Risks, Study Finds - MedicineNet
- Biochem researcher, Faulkner expert win KU Endowment Chancellors Club honors - LJWorld
- Endowment honors KU faculty with Chancellors Club awards – University Daily Kansan
- Carl Lejuez named new dean of KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – University Daily Kansan
- Two KU students receive prestigious scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation – University Daily Kansan