Friday, July 24, 2009

How biospheres deal with dramatic climate change and planetary habitability

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 - What is the habitable zone for the nearby star Sigma Draconis?
g Abodes - Planetary habitability is the measure of an astronomical body's (planets and natural satellites of planets) potential to develop and sustain life. The only absolute requirement for life is an energy source, but the notion of planetary habitability implies that many other geophysical, geochemical, and astrophysical criteria must be met before an astronomical body can support life. See article.
g Life - Scientists studying plankton fossils from the sea floor have determined that plankton in Earth's oceans may have survived the mass-extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous. The study provides insight into how Earth's biosphere has dealt with dramatic climate change in Earth's past. See article.
g Cosmicus - When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon, it was a first for the Soviet Union – the first time the U.S. had beaten the U.S.S.R in the space race. Forty years later, the memory of that loss of primacy still seems to sting the Russian soul. When state TV channel Rossiya reported last week on the restoration of video footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the account gave a lot of attention to dubious conspiracy theories that the landing was faked. See article.

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