When termites munch on wood, the small bits are delivered to feed a community of unique microbes living in their guts, and in a complex process involving multiple steps, these microbes turn the hard, fibrous material into a nutritious meal for the termite host. One key step uses hydrogen to convert carbon dioxide into organic carbon—a process called acetogenesis—but little is known about which gut bacteria play specific roles in the process.
Bruce Churchill Murray, Caltech Professor of Planetary Science, Emeritus, and former head of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), succumbed to complications of Alzheimer's disease on August 29, 2013. He was 81.
An international team of researchers, including Caltech's Geoffrey Blake, has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to capture the first image of a snow line around a Sun-like star. The findings appear in the current issue of Science Express.
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.
For most terrestrial life on Earth, oxygen is necessary for survival. But the planet's atmosphere did not always contain this life-sustaining substance, and one of science's greatest mysteries is how and when oxygenic photosynthesis—the process responsible for producing oxygen on Earth through the splitting of water molecules—first began. Now, a team led by geobiologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has found evidence of a precursor photosystem involving manganese that predates cyanobacteria, the first group of organisms to release oxygen into the environment via photosynthesis.
National Geographic Society has named Bethany Ehlmann, assistant professor of planetary science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a 2013 Emerging Explorer. Ehlmann joins 16 other young scientists, educators, artists, and entrepreneurs recognized by National Geographic for making an impact on the world while still in the early stages of their careers.
Ehlmann accepted her award at the Emerging Explorers Symposium in Washington, D.C., on June 12. The symposium was part of the society's 125th anniversary celebration running June 10-14.
John Grotzinger, Caltech’s Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology and project scientist for Curiosity—JPL’s newest Mars rover, exploring the floor of Gale Crater—will describe its discoveries so far during a free public lecture on Wednesday, April 24.
If you could lick the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa, you would actually be sampling a bit of the ocean beneath. So says Mike Brown, an astronomer at Caltech. Brown and Kevin Hand from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have found the strongest evidence yet that water from the vast liquid ocean beneath Europa's frozen exterior actually makes its way to the surface.