Thursday, March 17, 2011

First primitive life’s containers and astrobiology’s first four decades

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 south polar region of a frigid Saturn moon churns out far more heat than Yellowstone National Park, Earth's most famous geologic hotspot, a new study finds. See article.
g Life - Scientists have demonstrated that semipermeable vesicles can form from inorganic clay. Such vesicles might have been perfect containers for the first primitive cells. See article.
g Intelligence - For rodent pups, bonding with mom isn't hard-wired in the womb. It develops over the first few weeks of life, which is achieved by their maturing sense of smell, possibly allowing these mammals a survival advantage by learning to identify mother, siblings, and home. See article.
g Message - Some people sit in the tub, yell "Eureka", and come up with a brand new view of matter. Others can be riding a trolley home and at the sight of a clock initiate a whole new concept of time. Yet another more pedantic method is to follow government procedures to resolve riddles. Steven Dick and James Strick in their book, “The Living Universe - NASA and the development of Astrobiology,” narrate how this occurred for the new academic field of astrobiology. Though perhaps not as film-worthy as instantaneous flashes, the four decades of meetings, workshops and programs described therein show that this distinct academic area had an eventful and exciting coming of age. See review. This review is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - Two satellite companies have announced a new deal to launch the first spacecraft designed to refuel other satellites in orbit. See article.

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