Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nearest star most similar to our Sun and sulfur dioxide’s effect on early Mars

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 - What’s the nearest star that is most like our sun? Try 18 Scorpii.
g Abodes - Scientists have found that sulfur dioxide might have played a role in warming the climate of early Mars. The finding may help determine whether or not Mars could have supported life in the past, and may also yield important clues about the conditions in which life originated on the early Earth. See article.
g Life - "Mammoth hit by meteorite!" might sound like fantastical black-and-white puppet-fest filmed in glorious Moving-Picture-O-Vision, just before a gripping two-hour feature on why mixing ants and radioactive waste is, in fact, a bad idea - but it's real. Arizona geophysicist Allen West has discovered burn marks consistent with micrometeorite impacts in a number of mammoth and bison bones. The resulting study has found numerous impact scars over 30,000 years old. See article.
g Cosmicus - New research has shown that Earth's magnetosphere actually protects some parts of the Moon from solar storms. Scientists found that for seven days during the Moon's 28-day orbit, select regions are shielded from harmful solar energy. The findings could help protect astronauts on future Moon missions. See article.

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