Friday, March 14, 2008

Enceladus' geysers and parochial viruses

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 international Cassini spacecraft collected science data on mysterious geysers spewing from Saturn's moon Enceladus and recorded new images of its surface during a close flyby, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Thursday. See article.
g Life - Biologists examining ecosystems similar to those that existed on Earth more than 3 billion years ago have made a surprising discovery: Viruses that infect bacteria are sometimes parochial and unrelated to their counterparts in other regions of the globe. It's surprising because bacteria and the viruses that affect them were long believed to be cosmopolitan, having similar genetic histories across the globe. See article.
g Message - If you're not familiar with's "Great Debates series, you'll want to head right away to their Web site. The discussions draw upon experts in the astrobiology field. The Fermi paradox ("If there's intelligent life out there, then why haven't we heard from them?" is examined in six parts at this link.
g Cosmicus - A pair of spacewalking astronauts started putting together a robot outside the international space station early today despite a problem getting power to the giant machine. See article.
g Learning - Here's a neat Web site from NASA: A curriculum framework for comparing Earth to other planets with regard to life. See article.

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