Thursday, November 15, 2007

The search for habitable planets, what happens if astronauts break laws in space and new astobiology center at Montana State

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 Abodes - The search for habitable planets like Earth around other stars fulfils an ancient imperative to understand our origins and place in the cosmos. The past decade has seen the discovery of hundreds of planets, but nearly all are gas giants. See article.
g Life - For more than 100 years, visitors to Yellowstone have been fascinated by the large populations of big animals, such as elk, moose, buffalo, and bear. However, these beautiful animals represent only a tiny fraction of the significant biological resources of Yellowstone. The visitor might be surprised to learn that the living organisms in Yellowstone that have had the greatest economic impact on society are quite invisible. These are the microorganisms that live in the boiling waters and run-off channels of the geysers and hot springs. Although their color is visible to the naked eye, an individual microbial cell is so small as to be completely invisible. It is only because of their vast numbers that we know they are there. See article.
g Cosmicus - The Columbus space laboratory is ready for the ISS. The facility shows how international cooperation can provide a venue for important scientific research in space. However, what would happen in a place as international as the ISS if astronauts onboard weren't so cooperative? See article.
g Learning - A new astrobiology center at Montana State University could play a role in unlocking some of the most intriguing secrets of the universe, including where life came from and if life exists beyond Earth. See article.