Saturday, March 07, 2009

Ceres as the cradle of Earth life and asteroid belt pinball

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 - Scientists have determined that the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter should contain more asteroids than we actually observe today. The missing asteroids may be evidence of a dramatic event that occurred as the giant planets migrated to their present positions. See article.
g Life - The dwarf planet Ceres is rarely mentioned as a candidate for habitability, but the possible presence of an ocean and hydrothermal vents suggests it is plausible. If life developed on Ceres long ago, could it have seeded the young Earth? See article.
g Learning - Book alert: This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's masterpiece "On the Origin of Species." While this event, so seminal in the history of science, will be celebrated in a number of books slated to appear in 2009, none is likely to prove more compelling a read than Sean B. Carroll's "Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species." See review.

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