Monday, October 20, 2008

How volcanoes helped life get started and Miller-Urey Synthesis sibling studies

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 - A re-examination of samples from a classic 'origin-of-life' experiment indicates that volcanoes may have played an important role in life's beginnings on Earth. The study could also have implications in determining potential habitats for life beyond our planet. See article.
g Life - A classic experiment proving amino acids are created when inorganic molecules are exposed to electricity isn't the whole story, it turns out. The 1953 Miller-Urey Synthesis had two sibling studies, neither of which was published. Vials containing the products from those experiments were recently recovered and reanalyzed using modern technology. See article.
g Message -Could intelligent beings in another solar system have hidden their sun by knocking their planets apart and using the pieces to build a hollow ball around their sun? For more on “Dyson Spheres,” see article.
g Cosmicus -The recent book "Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth" shows how the Apollo program changed the lives of the astronauts who walked on the Moon. This leap to another world also colored our perception of what it means to be stuck on Earth.
g Learning - Discover the universe, its components and origins — play “Spaceball”. Here’s a Web site structured as if a championship baseball game is being played between a celestial object and a spacecraft. Besides being fun, it helps children explore our solar system and the people and spacecraft that made our adventures in and knowledge of space possible.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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