Friday, March 05, 2010

Mini astrobiology lab tested and could plants from ‘Avatar’ really evolve?

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - Scientists are testing a miniature laboratory that could be used to study the composition of rocks and atmospheres on moons, asteroids and planets in the solar system. A recent field test of the instrument was performed in the mouth of a sleeping Hawaiian volcano. See article.
g Message - Analogies can provide a useful role for anticipating what might happen if, some day, we detect a signal from extraterrestrials. To briefly recap our last article in this series, some scholars have suggested that we might gain insights into decoding extraterrestrial messages that may be embedded in such a signal. These insights, they suggest, come from the experience that linguists have gained in the course of decoding ancient languages on Earth. See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Cosmicus - President Barack Obama's new plan for NASA has been met with some anger and confusion in the weeks since its announcement, drawing sharp objections from critics who view it as a radical vision change for the space agency that would upset the world leadership of the United States in space. See article.
g Learning - “Are we alone?" It's a question asked by curious kids of all ages including grown-up kids called scientists. In the classroom, the question may take different forms: Do extraterrestrials exist? Can we look for and find ET? Are aliens visiting Earth? Did ETs land in Roswell, New Mexico, or are ETs hidden in the Nevada desert? Can NASA send a spaceship to search the galaxy for ET? In this classroom activity, students consider how long it takes to travel to Sirius using different modes of transportation: walking, bicycling, driving, flying, and traveling in the space shuttle or a spacecraft.
g Imagining - Although they're not nominated for an Academy Award, plants play a central role in the blockbuster movie "Avatar." A botanist provided the science behind how these unusual organisms may have evolved. See article.

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