Evidence Points to Martian Ocean
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered evidence for an ancient delta on Mars where a river might once have emptied into a vast ocean. This ocean, if it existed, could have covered much of Mars’s northern hemisphere — stretching over as much as a third of the planet.
"Scientists have long hypothesized that the northern lowlands of Mars are a dried-up ocean bottom, but no one yet has found the smoking gun," says Mike Lamb, an assistant professor of geology at Caltech and a coauthor of the paper describing the results.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/07/evidence-points-martian-ocean
Researchers Build Protocells from Sand Nanoparticles
Researchers at the Univ. of Bristol have led a new enquiry into how extremely small particles of silica (sand) can be used to design and construct artificial protocells in the laboratory. The work is described in an article published in Nature Chemistry.
Cells are the basic unit of life and are separated from the outside world by a thin organic membrane. A major function of this membrane is to allow certain molecules to enter or leave the cell whilst other molecules are blocked from the cell interior. This allows metabolic processes to take place efficiently and selectively. Controlling membrane permeability is therefore a key challenge when building artificial cells in the form of enclosed chemical systems, particularly so when the membrane is constructed from simple inorganic components.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/05/researchers-build-protocells-sand-nanoparticles