Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Exotic matter from universe’s birth discovered and to Mars in 40 days

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 - Scientists have created a never-before seen type of exotic matter that is thought to have been present at the earliest stages of the universe, right after the Big Bang. See article.
g Abodes - According to a comprehensive review of all the available evidence, the extinction of the dinosaurs and half the species on Earth was caused by an asteroid colliding with our planet. A panel of 41 international experts reviewed 20 years' worth of data to determine the cause of the KT extinction. See article.
g Life - Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. We hear this mantra time and again. When it comes to carbon - the "Most Wanted" element in terms of climate change - nature has got reuse and recycle covered. However, it's up to us to reduce. Scientists at Harvard Medical School are trying to meet this challenge by learning more about the carbon cycle, that is, the process by which carbon moves from the atmosphere into plants, oceans, soils, the earth's crust, and back into the atmosphere again. One of the biggest movers and shakers is the lowly cyanobacteria, an ocean-dwelling, one-celled organism. See article.
g Intelligence - Rapamycin, a drug that keeps the immune system from attacking transplanted organs, may have another exciting use: fighting Alzheimer's disease. The drug - a bacterial product first isolated in soil from Easter Island - rescued learning and memory deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer's. See article.
g Cosmicus - Future Mars outposts or colonies may seem more distant than ever with NASA's exploration plans in flux, but the rocket technology that could someday propel a human mission to the red planet in as little as 40 days may already exist. See article.
g Imagining - Movie aliens often are like distant relatives: They resemble us in an unpleasant sort of way. This is hardly a surprise. Hollywood creates characters that audiences can identify with, and that’s why its aliens are so anthropomorphic (and why Donald Duck looks more like a human than a duck.) But appearances aside, cinema aliens have another implausible attribute: they’re nearly always at our level of technical sophistication. We frequently trade gunfire with them or chase them around in dogfights. This is silly, of course. Any beings capable of bridging the vast distances between the stars would be able to clean our clock when it comes to science and engineering. Visitors from other worlds — should any appear — would be enormously ahead of us from a technological viewpoint. See article. Note: This article is from 2000.
g Aftermath - If we encountered an intelligent species on another planet, could we understand them? In turn, could extrasolar species decipher one of our 8,000 terrestrial languages in use today? See article. Note: This article is from 2004.

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