Monday, January 05, 2009

Atmospheric oxygen’s link to lifeforms’ size and Spirit celebrates fifth anniversary

Atmospheric oxygen’s link to lifeforms’ size and Spirit celebrates fifth anniversary
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 European Mars Science & Exploration Conference: Mars Express and ExoMars was held at the end of 2007. Here are some interviews with selected experts on some hot topics. See article.
g Life - New research has found important links between the evolution of life and the geological evolution of Earth. The study shows that increases in the maximum size of organisms on our planet may be linked to increases in atmospheric oxygen. See article.
g Message - A technique used to discover the small rocky world that was announced last year also could be used to detect a transmitter with the power of your local TV station at a distance of a hundred light-years, even if the alien broadcasters weren’t beaming our way. See article.
g Cosmicus - Happy anniversary, Spirit! That's right—against all odds, NASA's plucky Spirit rover has officially been on the Red Planet for five years. Its twin, Opportunity, will celebrate the same five-year milestone on Jan. 24. See article.
g Imagining - Many problems faced the development of astrobiology as a credible science when it was first named in 1958. The most basic of these problems was skepticism on the part of many scientists of the time. The ideas of astrobiology touched too closely with science fiction to be considered seriously. The idea of life on Mars was definitely science fiction: H. G. Wells' "War of the Worlds" and Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" attested to that. And Gregory Benford and David Brin in “Heart of the Comet” have since addressed the idea of life being seeded on Earth by comets. Why would anyone take these ideas seriously as science? See article.

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