Thursday, March 19, 2009

An exoworld hospitable for life and the extraterrestrial origin of Earth’s proteins

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 - Astronomers studying light from the planetary system Gliese 581 have found that the host star is remarkably stable for billions of years. This means that the environment of its small, Earth-like planet, Gliese 581c, might be hospitable for life as we know it. See article. Note: This article is from 2007.
g Life - Left-handed people may be in the minority, but left-handed amino acids rule the Earth. Researchers have long known that the building blocks of proteins can be constructed in either “left-handed” or “right-handed” versions that are mirror images of each other, but that almost every living organism on Earth uses left-handed amino acids. Now, a new study gives weight to a theory of how that preference came to pass. See article.
g Cosmicus - Astronauts on board the International Space Station got the all-clear signal earlier this week as a piece of space debris passed harmlessly by the orbiter. See article.

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