Wednesday, January 26, 2011

‘The Living Cosmos’ and solar sails unfurled

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 - New research shows that massive volcanic eruptions may have played a role in one of Earth's largest mass extinction events. Many theories have been put forth about the causes of the Permian extinction, but now scientists may have found an answer. See article.
g Life - Book alert: “The Living Cosmos” by Chris Impey draws readers into the scientific search for life in the universe. After centuries of speculation, we are on the verge of learning if biology is unique to the Earth. “The Living Cosmos” is a snapshot of the interdisciplinary field called astrobiology, weaving in stories of discovery by leading researchers. The book presents recent information on the origin and evolution of life on Earth. The vastness of space and the eons since the big bang present a great potential for biology both familiar and unfamiliar. The discoveries of astrobiology may soon redefine our place in the universe.
g Intelligence - Can't help molding some snow into a ball and hurling it or tossing a stone as far into a lake as you can? New research from Indiana University and the University of Wyoming shows how humans, unlike any other species on Earth, readily learn to throw long distances. This research also suggests that this unique evolutionary trait is entangled with language development in a way critical to our very existence. See article.
g Message - In late 1997, after almost 40 years of operation, the Ohio State University Radio Observatory and its "Big Ear" radio telescope — which picked up the famous “Wow!” signal — ceased operation. The land on which the observatory was sitting (owned by the Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio) was sold in 1983 to land developers who later claimed their rights to develop the property. The telescope was destroyed in early 1998. Here's a Web page memorial.
g Cosmicus - Talk about a comeback story: A tiny NASA satellite once teetering on failure has successfully unfurled its solar sail while orbiting the Earth. See article.

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