Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Mining Death Valley for microbes and NASA probes in Lunar orbit

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 - What’s the potential habitability of NLTT 47754, a G-type star about 64 light years from Earth? See article.
g Life - Nevada, the "Silver State," is well-known for mining precious metals. But scientists Dennis Bazylinski and colleagues at the University of Nevada Las Vegas do a different type of mining. They sluice through every water body they can find, looking for new forms of microbial magnetism. See article.
g Intelligence - Many animals produce alarm calls to predators, and do this more often when kin or mates are present than other audience members. So far, however, there has been no evidence that they take the other group members' knowledge state into account. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the University of St. Andrews, Great Britain, set up a study with wild chimpanzees in Uganda and found that chimpanzees were more likely to alarm call to a snake in the presence of unaware than in the presence of aware group members, suggesting that they recognize knowledge and ignorance in others. See article.
g Cosmicus - NASA celebrated the New Year by completing a space agency first and announcing that its two Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft are in lunar orbit. For NASA, the announcement was a fulfillment of the space agency’s New Year’s wish. NASA will use GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B to study Earth’s closest neighbor, the moon. See article.

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