Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ancient mcrobes fed on sulfate

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 - A new technique could help scientists study structures beneath the Earth's surface by measuring tiny seismic waves created by ocean waves as they crash against the shore. See article.
g Life - Sulfide ore deposits from a mine in Canada confirm that oxygen levels on Earth 2.7 billion years ago were extremely low, but they also indicate that microbes were actively feeding on sulfate in the planet's oceans. See article.
g Cosmicus - Everyone's seen pictures of rockets taking off - both real ones and imaginary ones. And everyone's seen pictures of spaceplanes taking off - but they're all imaginary - because they're impossible! (or at least, be prepared for a long wait). The basic problem for designers of reusable space vehicles is achieving the velocity needed to reach orbit without carrying so much fuel that the vehicle is either too heavy to get there or unable to carry anything other than fuel. So the answer is either to make the vehicle very light, or to find a way around having to carry all that fuel. See article.

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