Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sulfur and ammonia vital to life’s development and what to do when ETI phones

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 - NASA spacecraft watching the sun has caught a dazzling view of a solar eruption that launched a vast tendril of magnetic plasma into space. See article.
g Abodes - Scientists have found large amounts of ammonia in a primitive Antarctic asteroid. This high concentration of ammonia could account for a sustained source of reduced nitrogen essential to the chemistry of life. See article.
g Life - In the 1950s, Stanley Miller demonstrated that organic compounds could form under conditions mimicking the primordial Earth. By re-examining some of Miller's unused samples with modern techniques, scientists have found that volcanoes and sulfur may have been important in life's origin on our planet. See article.
g Intelligence - A robust new phylogenetic tree resolves many long-standing issues in primate taxonomy. The genomes of living primates harbor remarkable differences in diversity and provide an intriguing context for interpreting human evolution. The phylogenetic analysis was conducted by international researchers to determine the origin, evolution, patterns of speciation, and unique features in genome divergence among primate lineages. See article.
g Message - Just how does SETI work? Here’s a good primer for those looking to get a basic overview.
g Cosmicus - Scientists have found the strongest evidence yet that a puzzling gap in the electronic structures of some high-temperature superconductors could indicate a new phase of matter. Understanding this "pseudogap" has been a 20-year quest for researchers who are trying to control and improve these breakthrough materials, with the ultimate goal of finding superconductors that operate at room temperature. See article.
g Aftermath - From the oldie but goodie files: If E.T. phones home, will it be safe to answer? See article. This article is from 1996.

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