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Water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.

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Water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.
Water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.

Life Might Have Started in Fresh Water.

By tracing back the family tree of cyanobacteria, a researcher from Washington University in St. Louis believes these tiny organisms began life in fresh water, not salt water as most biologists theorized. Cyanobacteria use light, water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and biomass, and they probably got their start 2 billion years ago in fresh water, and then evolved to survive in saltier environments.

Mighty Ariane 5 Readied for Launch.

The massive Ariane 5-ECA rocket is ready for its second flight this weekend, after its first attempt ended in destruction back in 2002. The 50m (160 ft) tall rocket is capable of carrying more than 10-tonnes into geostationary orbit. On this second test flight, the ECA is equipped with two satellites: the Spanish XTAR-EUR military communications satellite and SloshSat, which will see how fluids work in orbit. If everything goes well, the ECA should lift off from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on Saturday.

Air Pollution Linked to Growth of Life in Oceans.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have uncovered a surprising link between air pollution levels over land, and the growth of phytoplankton in the ocean. These tiny, but hardworking, aquatic plants carry out half the Earth's photosynthesis, and are responsible for removing tremendous quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Normal dust storms produce iron which the phytoplankton can't use, but when it's modified by sulfur dioxide pollution, the iron becomes soluble and can trigger phytoplankton growth.

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