Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mars analog in California, changing environments affecting structure of genetic information and countermeasures for muscle loss on long-duration space

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 - Astronomers have found evidence for what might be the beginning of shrunken versions of our Solar System. They have shown that the birthplaces of planets exist not only around stars, but also around objects similar in size to Jupiter. See article.
g Abodes - Residents of California’s Tehama County would likely be surprised to find out no place on Earth has a landscape more similar to Mars than Lassen Volcanic National Park. At least that is what NASA researchers think, and that is why astrobiologists - with the help of four high school students - have installed high-tech instruments in the park in an effort to learn more about the planet in their Mission to Mars project. See article.
g Life - New research shows that a changing environment may organize the structure of genetic information. The unique research may shed light on how life's precursor molecules eventually led to the formation of the first organisms on our planet. See article.
g Cosmicus - A bed rest study exclusively on women is yielding information about how to develop more effective countermeasures for muscle loss in female astronauts on long-duration missions in space. The research will be useful for long missions on the space station, and possibly future missions to the Moon and Mars. See article.

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