Sunday, April 26, 2009

New discoveries in Gliese 581 solar system and viral extinction rates

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Stars - A large fraction of red dwarf stars are very old (>5 Gyr), which present intriguing possibilities for the development of highly advanced modes of intelligent life on planets that may orbit them. See article.
g Abodes - Planet hunter Michel Mayor and his team have made two amazing discoveries regarding the Gliese 581 solar system. This star is orbited by the lightest exoplanet ever found, less than twice the mass of the Earth. One of the other planets in this system, a super-Earth, orbits within the star’s habitable zone. These new discoveries indicate astronomers may have found a solar system where alien life is possible. See article.
g Life - Two researchers from the Spanish Centre of Astrobiology have developed a mathematical model which demonstrates that a mild increase in the mutation rate of some viruses can reduce their infectivity, driving them to extinction. See article.

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