Thursday, March 05, 2009

Reverse ecology and one day to Kepler launch

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 - Processes that laid the foundation for life on Earth - star and planet formation and the production of complex organic molecules in interstellar space - are yielding their secrets to astronomers. See article.
g Abodes - The Phoenix Mars Lander witnessed water vapor adsorbing into the Martian soil each night. Researchers suspect the films of water that resulted are probably too thin for life now, but they may have been thick enough millions of years ago. See article.
g Life - Researchers are using a technique called ‘reverse ecology’ to understand past environments on Earth. By examining the genes of bacteria, scientists are able to reconstruct what the organisms’ environments looked like millions of years ago. The data could help us understand key events in the history of life on Earth. See article.
g Cosmicus - If all goes according to plan, NASA's Kepler telescope will be launched on Friday from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air force Station, beginning a four-year quest for cosmic company - or at least a place in space where life may exist. See article.

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