Friday, July 07, 2006

When Arctic ice formed, developing urban trees and Discovery heat shield OK

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. You may notice that this and future entries are shorter than usual; Career, family and book deal commitments have forced me to cut back some of my projects. Now, here’s today’s news:
g Stars - Embedded in the heart of a supernova remnant 10,000 light-years away is a stellar object the likes of which astronomers have never seen before in our galaxy. See
g Abodes - Arctic ice formed about 45 million years ago – roughly 14 million years ahead of previous predictions – according to new research published in Nature. An international team of scientists, including Brown geologist Steven Clemens, says this startling evidence shows that glaciers formed in tandem at Earth’s poles, providing important insights into global climate change. See For related story, please see “Warming Climate Plays Large Role In Western U.S. Wildfires, Study Shows” at
g Life - In an effort to improve the survival chances of urban trees, scientists have developed a cloning technique that allows oaks to develop their own root system rather than having growers painstakingly use the grafting method, which involves propagation by joining plant parts. See
g Cosmicus - Preliminary assessment of the shuttle Discovery's heat shield after a dramatic end-over-end flip while approaching the international space station shows no signs of appreciable damage to the ship's fragile heat shield tiles from debris impacts during launch, officials said. See