Monday, March 28, 2011

Exposing mutant bacteria to radiation and why ETI isn’t watching ‘I Love Lucy’

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 - X-ray observations made by the Suzaku observatory provide the clearest picture to date of the size, mass and chemical content of a nearby cluster of galaxies. The study also provides the first direct evidence that million-degree gas clouds are tightly gathered in the cluster's outskirts. See article.
g Abodes - The planet is surrounded by two gigantic, fluctuating donut-shaped zones made of protons and electrons known as the Van Allen radiation belts. The charged particles in these zones can damage sensitive electronics on spacecraft such as those used for global positioning systems (GPS) and communications and can injure humans in space. See article.
g Life - The bacterium B. subtilis is capable of adapting to UV levels even higher than what existed on the primordial Earth – a harbinger of untapped potential that still lies within some organisms. Mutant versions of this microbe are now being exposed to space radiation to test their reactions to conditions in space and on other worlds. See article.
g Intelligence - Researchers in Texas have discovered thousands of human artifacts in a layer of earth that lies directly beneath an assemblage of Clovis relics, expanding evidence that other cultures preceded the Clovis culture in North America. This pre-Clovis toolkit appears to be between 13,200 and 15,500 years old and it includes biface and blade technology that may have later been adapted - and improved upon - by the Clovis culture. See article.
g Message - For more than 80 years, we’ve been sending radio (and eventually television) transmissions into space, allowing anyone in space to hear war reports from London, “I Love Lucy” reruns and our latest election results. So wouldn’t hearing aliens be as simple as turning on the radio? Here’s why not . This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - It's a question that many people who popularize astronomy get asked time and again: "How many stars are there?" And while the sky is packed with a myriad of stars, the number visible to skywatchers depends greatly on the local night sky and the impact of city lights. See article.

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