Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Studying titanic solar eruptions, Little Red Spot’s wind speeds and isolated, self-sustaining, bacterial community

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 - NASA launched a pair of compact spacecraft today that will use the moon's gravity to whip them into orbital positions ahead of and behind the Earth to study titanic solar eruptions in three dimensions. The goals of the $550 million STEREO project are to figure out what triggers the enormous blasts, how electrically charged particles from the sun's atmosphere move through space and how they interact with Earth's magnetic field. See article.
g Abodes - The highest wind speeds in Jupiter's Little Red Spot have increased and are now equal to those in its older and larger sibling, the Great Red Spot, according to observations with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. See
g Life - Researchers have discovered an isolated, self-sustaining, bacterial community living under extreme conditions almost two miles deep beneath the surface in a South African gold mine. It is the first microbial community demonstrated to be exclusively dependent on geologically produced sulfur and hydrogen and one of the few ecosystems found on Earth that does not depend on energy from the Sun in any way. See
g Cosmicus - How do crew aboard the International Space Station take spacewalks? See