The Morning After: Researchers find evidence of organic matter on Mars

But they need to bring the materials back to Earth to confirm their origin.


The Perseverance Rover has found evidence of organic compounds in the Jezero Crater on Mars. Don’t get too excited: These compounds could have also developed in nonbiological ways. But even if it’s not proof of organic life on Mars, the results hint at complex organic conditions for the “key building blocks for life.” Organic molecules like those observed in the Jezero Crater contain carbon and often hydrogen atoms. They’re the core components of life as we know it on Earth.

The rover found organic materials in all ten targets it observed on the crater floor. “Our results support observations by previous robotic missions to Mars that the Red Planet was once rich in organic material, compounds made primarily of carbon and hydrogen, and that some of that organic material can still be detected billions of years later,” co-author Joseph Razzell Hollis, a London-based astrobiologist, told Gizmodo. “Each detection, each observation, gives us a little bit more information that brings us closer to understanding the history of Mars and whether it could have supported life in the past.”

Hopefully, scientists can maintain this level of excitement. They’ll have to wait for the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission, which isn’t expected to launch from Earth until at least the late 2020s.

– Mat Smith

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For those who really need it.


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Google's Bard AI chatbot has learned to talk

It understands 40 languages and can speak its responses.

Google Bard’s latest round of updates includes expanded linguistic skills. It can now respond with spoken word in addition to text. It can do so in nearly four dozen languages. Users can now converse with the AI in Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi and Spanish, among others, as well as access the platform from more places on the planet, such as Brazil and "across Europe." Users will have the option to either read or listen to the AI's generated responses, as well as have more control over how friendly Bard is, with five distinct AI tones: simple, long, short, professional or casual. Those are only available for English-language requests at the moment.

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'Roblox' is coming to Meta Quest VR headsets

Zuck says the beta version drops in a few weeks.


The immensely popular online game creation platform, Roblox, is coming to VR, thanks to the Meta Quest. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement, which was followed by an official Roblox blog post. A beta version of the app, according to Zuckerberg, launches in just a few weeks, via the Quest platform’s dedicated App Lab. This is going to be a fully cross-platform title, so anything you interact with or make on your phone or console should be accessible in VR.

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Elon Musk’s new AI company aims ‘to understand the true nature of the universe’

The team will be holding a Twitter Spaces chat on Friday.

Elon Musk has a new AI company. A website has appeared for xAI, which will embark on the self-described mission to “understand the true nature of the universe.” The announcement comes after filing documents revealed the existence of a company called X.AI Corp earlier this year. Musk also said in April he wanted to start a venture for “maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe,” which “hopefully does more good than harm.”

Not much else is known yet about Musk’s latest venture. He tweeted yesterday: “Announcing formation of @xAI to understand reality.” The company webpage notes the team will host a Twitter Spaces chat on Friday, July 14th.

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