Saturday, February 19, 2011

Training doctors to treat extraterrestrials and why Mars is small

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 - A stunning new photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows newborn stars studding a galaxy like bright blue jewels. See article.
g Abodes - Scientists studying planet formation have long been trying to determine why Mars is so small. A new model may help solve the mystery. The study could alter ideas about the early solar system and change our understanding of how small, rocky planets form and evolve. See article.
g Life - A novel X-ray imaging technology is helping scientists better understand how in the course of evolution snakes have lost their legs. The researchers hope the new data will help resolve a heated debate about the origin of snakes: whether they evolved from a terrestrial lizard or from one that lived in the oceans. New, detailed 3-D images reveal that the internal architecture of an ancient snake's leg bones strongly resembles that of modern terrestrial lizard legs. See article.
g Cosmicus - The Obama Administration just announced its budget proposal for the 2012 fiscal year: The total budget is $3.73 trillion, and $18.7 billion of that will go to funding NASA. But how much are you, personally, contributing to space exploration? See article.
g Imagining - Science fiction authors produce a lot of very strange critters. In the desperate dash to be different, many go way overboard to invent fantastic, outlandish species unlike anything anyone has ever seen. It’s an admirable expression of their artistic abilities, but there’s an inherent problem: they almost always lose the reader along the way. Sure, it sounds ultra-cool to have a whole herd of 80-foot quasi-limbed orb-stasis beings, but unless you draw a picture of these things, the reader often has no idea what you’re talking about. However, if you write that your alien has four wings, 10 eyes and looks a little like a kangaroo, the reader is right there with you. Most readers need at least something familiar to draw on for their imagination, or they get lost. See article.
g Aftermath - The Hull York Medical School in England last year was been selected to pilot a new course for trainee doctors: diagnosing and treating disease in extraterrestrial life forms. See article.

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