Saturday, May 05, 2012

A hundred life-sustaining super-Earths within 30 light years and Phoebe more Earth-like than thought

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 - Low-density, low-luminosity red dwarfs are the most common stars in the universe, maybe 160 billion in the Milky Way alone. We’re paying attention to them now because they generated headlines in January, when the Journal of Astrobiology calculated that 40 percent of them have rocky “super-Earth” satellites. The red-dwarf planets in question are roughly four to five times the size of Earth, and are located in Goldilocks zones theoretically conducive to liquid surface water, i.e., life. According to the Journal, there could be as many as 100 life-sustaining super-Earths within 30 light years of here. See article.
g Abodes - Data from Cassini has revealed that Saturn's moon Phoebe is more planet-like than previously thought. Phoebe may have originated in the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune, and was later captured by Saturn's gravity when it somehow got close to the giant planet. See article.
g Life - A new study is helping scientists understand whether or not dinosaurs were already undergoing a long-term decline before an asteroid struck the planet Earth at the end of the Cretaceous period. See article.

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