Sunday, December 05, 2010

Martian rock likely not a sign of life and living clouds

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 - What some argue is evidence of ancient life in a meteorite from Mars could have a simple chemical explanation, scientists now suggest. See article.
g Life - Microbiologists report that they have discovered a new cooperative behavior in anaerobic bacteria, known as interspecies electron transfer, that could have important implications for the global carbon cycle and bioenergy. See article.
g Intelligence - Researchers have deciphered the structure and functional mechanism of the glucansucrase enzyme that is responsible for dental plaque sticking to teeth. This knowledge will stimulate the identification of substances that inhibit the enzyme. Just add that substance to toothpaste, or even sweets, and caries will be a thing of the past. See article.
g Message - One of our natural tendencies when we make contact with strangers is to try to impress them. Sloppy dressers might polish their shoes for a job interview, hopeful suitors will wash their cars for a first date and prospective children-in-law will be on their best behavior in the presence of the parents of their intended. Wouldn’t we want to do the same in our first contact with ET? Lewis Thomas, in his book “Lives of a Cell,” suggests that if we want to impress an alien civilization, we should send "Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again." See article. This article is from 2002.
g Cosmicus - A rocket built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX performed an engine test Saturday, just days ahead of its planned launch to send a new commercial space capsule on its maiden voyage this week. See article.
g Learning - NASA is holding a "baked-goods" sale for schools, but instead of tasty desserts, the space agency is offering something much hotter: space shuttle heat shield tiles. See article.
g Imagining - The otherwise sane and respected astrobiologist David Grinspoon has been considering that under the right circumstances, clouds could become living things. With intelligence, even. See article.

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