Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bacteria that don’t need oxygen and 3-D map of ancient universe

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 - The largest-ever three-dimensional map of the distant universe has been created using the light of the brightest objects in the cosmos. See article.
g Abodes - A team of scientists led by Rice University has figured out why the Colorado Plateau - a 130,000-square-mile region that straddles Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico - is rising even while parts of its lower crust appear to be falling. The massive, tectonically stable region of the western United States has long puzzled geologists. See article.
g Life - Exotic bacteria that do not rely on oxygen may have played an important role in determining the composition of Earth's early atmosphere, according to a theory that a researcher is testing in the scalding hot springs of a volcanic crater in Siberia. See article.
g Message - Science fiction author David Brin offers a copy of his 1983 article “Xenology: The Science of Asking Who’s Out There”. While two decades old, the information is still relevant and offers a good overview of fundamental astrobiological questions.
g Cosmicus - A technique that astronomers use to parse starlight might also be useful in assessing skin blots that may become cancerous. See article.
g Imagining - Could Star Trek’s Caretaker of The Original Series’ “Shore Leave” fame actually evolve? Unfortunately, we know almost nothing about his race with the exception that it is very advanced technologically and quite disciplined mentally. We also know that it appears human, which virtually eliminates it from the realm of possibility, as the parallel evolution on another planet of homo sapiens is extremely unlikely. However, the Caretaker’s kind may not be humanoid at all. Indeed, his race employs machinery that can nearly instantaneously create items based on the readings of one’s thoughts. It’s similar to what the Squire of Gothos and The Next Generation’s Q can do. However, the squire and the Q can achieve this instantaneously, the squire through a machine and the Q through an omnipotent understanding of the universe. Both the squire and the Q also are energy beings. Might the caretaker as well be one (though of a different race than the squire or the Q) and merely took on human form for the landing party’s sake?

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