Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How phosphorous may have led to life and why visiting Earth probably isn't high on ETI’s to-do list

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 - The evolution of complex life forms may have gotten a jump start billions of years ago, when geologic events operating over millions of years caused large quantities of phosphorus to wash into the oceans. According to this model, proposed in a new paper by Dominic Papineau of the Carnegie Institution for Science, the higher levels of phosphorus would have caused vast algal blooms, pumping extra oxygen into the environment which allowed larger, more complex types of organisms to thrive. See article.
g Life - The definition of “life” is still unsettled in the world of science. Although at first glance, it may seem simple to distinguish the living from the nonliving, in recent years nature has provided researchers with many examples that challenge the boundary of the organic. See article.
g Message - When it comes to alien activities, visiting Earth seems to be pretty high on the "to do" list. But does that make sense? See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Cosmicus - Cells grown in microgravity generate problematic proteins (absent in normal stem cells) that play a role in bone deterioration. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat lesson for middle school students about extraterrestrials, courtesy of the Discovery channel.

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