Hundreds of millions of years ago, a tiny green microbe joined forces with a fungus, and together they conquered the world. It’s a tale of two cross-kingdom organisms, one providing food and the one other shelter, and it’s been our touchstone example of symbiosis for 150 years. Trouble is, that story is nowhere near…
Winemaking is always an exercise in uncertainty. You don’t really know just what the wine will taste like until the very end of the process, which is sometimes decades long. A new technique, however, could help predict what wine will taste like before it’s even made.
Here’s a way to make environmental cleanup more fun: Next time you’ve got a polluted waterway, just unleash a swarm of tiny, bacteria-nomming robots on it.
Discovering life on another planet, only to contaminate that world with our own pesky microbes, is one of NASA’s nightmare scenarios. To find out whether single-celled Earthlings can hitchhike to Mars and survive on the Red Planet’s surface, NASA is going to see how they like it 120,000 feet up.
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty was one of the few things the U.S. and the Soviet Union managed to agree on at the height of the Cold War. Among other things, it forbid both nations from bringing space microbes back to Earth, or spreading Earth germs to other planets.
This week’s episode of Meanwhile in the Future gets very scary, very quickly. And we’re not going all that far into the future, either. We’re already starting to see the beginnings of an age without antibiotics. So what does a world without these drugs look like? Listen to find out.
As anyone who's ever owned a pet fish or gone to a public swimming pool knows, chlorine is commonly used to disinfect water. Ironically, when it comes to sewage treatment, it may be doing just the opposite.
Against vast whiteness of Antarctica, Blood Falls bleeds a deep dramatic red. The color comes from iron-rich ancient seawater trapped under the ice for 2 million years. For the first time, scientists have been able to take a sample from deep under the ice.
Nearly half the gold ever mined comes from the Witwatersrand Basin, a layer of gold-flecked rock that spreads out under South Africa. The mines there are famously deep and prolific. Why is there so much gold concentrated in this one small part of the Earth's crust?
In the otherwise barren space 220 miles above Earth's surface, a capsule of life-sustaining oxygen and water orbits at 17,000 miles per hour. You might know this capsule as the International Space Station (ISS), currently home to six humans—and untold billions of bacteria. Microbes have always followed us to the…
The European Space Agency has been collecting examples of "spacecraft-associated biology" in a small collection housed at the Leibniz-Institut DSMZ in Brunswick, Germany. 298 strains of "extremotolerant" bacteria, isolated from spacecraft-assembly rooms because they managed to survive the incredible methods used to…
When most of us wake up, we don't turn to our loved ones or think about the day ahead. Nope, we let off some gas. Turns out microorganisms are just the same, only their gas might have a dramatic effect on global warming.
Say good-bye to smelly socks and stenchy shirts. A team of researchers from the University of Georgia have developed a spray-on solution that rids your clothes of bacteria, including those that make you stink.
Ah yes, the belly button. A remnant part of your body that serves to collect lint. Lint and quite a bit more, according to the early results from the Belly Button Biodiversity project.
Two potential signatures of life on Saturn's moon Titan have been found by the Cassini spacecraft. But scientists are quick to point out that non-biological chemical reactions could also be behind the observations.
If you watch 30 Rock religiously, you might have seen one or two references to an out-of-control fart machine. Well, Tina Fey's dream is kind of, sort of becoming a reality.
If you can't bring the microbial parasite to the lab, bring the lab to the microbial parasite, goes the thinking of the Berkeley researchers who invented a microscope to attach to cellphones and smartphones, using the phones' own cameras. The higher powered of their two microscopes delivers 60X magnification, capable…