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Smaller ocean microplastics (below 1mm) made visible with fluorescent dye - viewed through a microscope. Credit University of Warwick

The smallest microplastics in our oceans – which go largely undetected and are potentially harmful – could be more effectively identified using an innovative and inexpensive new method, developed by researchers at the University of Warwick.

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In 2015, NASA’s Cassini mission discovered that a global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn's geologically active moon Enceladus. Now, Harvard researchers Manasvi Lingam and Abraham Loeb have published research suggesting that such conditions are not only common in the universe, but are capable of sustaining life. Image courtesy of NASA.

Is complex life in the universe a cosmic imperative or a rare phenomenon? Two researchers from Harvard say that the answer may lie within subsurface planetary oceans that never receive light, and yet, may still be able to support life.

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The deep sea off the southern coast of Puerto Rico was initially chosen as the Round 1 Field Test location for the 19 semifinalist teams competing in the $7 million Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. However, due to the island’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria, the first round of testing will now be a Technology Readiness Test comprised of site visits to each team, judged against 11 key measurement criteria.

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