Monday, April 30, 2012

Extent to which evolution is predictable and launching rubber chickens into solar storms

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 - New research reveals that the Archean era experienced far more major asteroid impacts than had been previously thought. See article.
g Life - A 500-million-year-old bacterial gene got a second chance at evolution this year. The experiment may help biologists understand the extent to which evolution is predictable. See article.
g Learning - It's been known for some time that solar storms represent a danger to the health of astronauts. But what about rubber chickens? Last month, when the sun unleashed the most intense radiation storm since 2003, a group of high school students in Bishop, California, wanted to find out.See article.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why we must find another habitable planet and scientists call for strong astrobiology-oriented Martian mission

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 - Determining the habitability of rocky, Earth-like planets in the universe will be crucial for us as a species, according to scientists from The Australian National University. See article.
g Life - Over the course of 300 million years, Ammonoids survived three mass extinctions only to die out at the end of the Cretaceous. See article.
g Cosmicus - A group of 20 scientists is now calling for a mission to Mars with "a strong and comprehensive life detection component." The proposal presents a small fleet of sensor packages that can run a range of tests for signs of ancient or existing life. See article.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Possible signs of life in new Martian meteorite and origin of cosmic rays

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 - Scientists are preparing to use a new detector in Antarctica to understand the origin of cosmic rays. See article.
g Abodes - The Arctic region is home to large reservoirs of methane. As the Earth's climate warms, this potent greenhouse gas could be released into the atmosphere. Now, new research has uncovered a surprising new source of Arctic methane. See article.
g Life - A team of UK scientists are making the latest controversial claim to have found signs of life in a meteorite from Mars. They say their evidence lies in a fragment from a chunk of rock that fell in the Sahara Desert in Morocco in July last year. See article.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Earth analog to region on Titan and how cosmic rays affect life

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 - Experiments on board the ISS are helping scientists monitor how much radiation living organisms receive in orbit. The same experiments could also provide data on cosmic rays that will help us understand the origins of the universe. See article.
g Abodes - A region on Saturn's moon Titan has been found to be similar to the Etosha Pan in Namibia, Africa. See article.
g Intelligence - Tape measures. Rulers. Graphs. The gas gauge in your car, and the icon on your favorite digital device showing battery power. The number line and its cousins - notations that map numbers onto space and often represent magnitude - are everywhere. Most adults in industrialized societies are so fluent at using the concept, we hardly think about it. We don't stop to wonder: Is it "natural"? Is it cultural? See article.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Powering extraterrestrial rovers remotely and no evidence of dark matter in Milky Way

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 most accurate study so far of the motions of stars in the Milky Way has found no evidence for dark matter. See article.
g Life - A geological curiosity known as the Great Unconformity may help scientists understand why life on Earth went through a dramatic period of diversification some 600 million years ago. See article.
g Cosmicus - Future extraterrestrial rovers may be powered remotely by high-energy laser beams shot through miles of thin fiber-optic cables. This new technology could allow robotic probes to penetrate thick layers of ice to explore Antarctic lakes or the subterranean oceans on icy moons like Europa or Enceladus, and even power a new kind of rocket into space. See article.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How exploding stars influence development of life

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 - Research by a Danish physicist suggests that the explosion of massive stars - supernovae - near the Solar System has strongly influenced the development of life. Prof. Henrik Svensmark of the Technical University of Denmark sets out his novel work in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. See article.
g Message - Here’s a fascinating talk with Jill Tarter, director of the Center for SETI Research and the inspiration behind Jody Foster’s character in the movie “Contact.” Find out about the tools and technologies being developed for a multigenerational effort to search for other advanced civilizations beyond our solar system here; scroll to “Listening for the Long Term.”
g Cosmicus - A new NASA outreach project will enlist the help of amateur astronomers to discover near-Earth objects. See article.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stars capturing rogue planets and sharing information during space exploration

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 - New research suggests that billions of stars in our galaxy have captured rogue planets that once roamed interstellar space. See article.
g Life - Just as banks store away only the most valuable possessions in the most secure safes, cells prioritise which genes they guard most closely, researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute have found. The study, just published online in Nature, shows that bacteria have evolved a mechanism that protects important genes from random mutation, effectively reducing the risk of self-destruction. The findings answer a question that has been under debate for half a century and provide insights into how disease-causing mutations arise and pathogens evolve. See article.
g Cosmicus - New technologies could help scientists share information through space - providing better capabilities for future exploration missions. See article.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Bringing rocks back from Mars and carnivory’s role in success of intelligent life forms

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Life - Using high-resolution satellite mapping, scientists have discovered that there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than was previously thought. See article.
g Intelligence - Carnivory is behind the evolutionary success of humankind. When early humans started to eat meat and eventually hunt, their new, higher-quality diet meant that women could wean their children earlier. Women could then give birth to more children during their reproductive life, which is a possible contribution to the population gradually spreading over the world. The connection between eating meat and a faster weaning process is shown by a research group from Lund University in Sweden, which compared close to 70 mammalian species and found clear patterns. See article.
g Cosmicus - Rocks from Mars can teach us much about the red planet - its geology, its climate, and whether or not it ever hosted life. A new study says that looking for evidence of past life on Mars should be one of the driving forces behind a sample return mission. See article.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Searching for alien life on Jupiter’s moons and proteins not necessarily dependent on water

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 - If you were alien life, where would you live? A new mission wants to explore Jupiter's moons to find out. See article.
g Life - New research is challenging one of the key beliefs in chemistry: that proteins are dependent on water to survive and function. The results could have profound implications in the search for life in our solar system. See article.
g Cosmicus - An unusually dust-rich comet is helping astrobiologists understand how comets change as they move further away from the Sun. See article.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Astrobiology Science Conference opens and future robotic missions to Mars

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 - For the first time, scientists have captured images of auroras above the giant ice planet Uranus. See article.
g Cosmicus - NASA’s Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) has begun analyzing options for future robotic missions and enlisting the assistance of scientists and engineers worldwide. See article.
g Learning - Students, mentees, and scientific collaborators of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor of Chemistry James Ferris gathered at a special session of the 2012 Astrobiology Science Conference in Atlanta, Ga., on April 19 to honor the scientist. The session titled “The Origin of Biomolecules in Planetary Environments: From HCN to RNA” was dedicated to Ferris for his seminal research into the origins of life on Earth and its potential to form on other planets. See article.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Did Viking mission find evidence of Martian life and DNA-RNA hybrid discovered

Welome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Stars - Researchers have found a way to see the molecule that likely made the universe. See article.
g Abodes - NASA's Curiosity rover is set to land on Mars in August and will hunt for signs of life's potential on ancient Mars. Some scientists still believe that the Viking mission has already found evidence of life. See article.
g Life - In the hostile environment of a bubbling volcanic hot spring, a team of researchers at Portland State University in Oregon has discovered a new viral genome that seems to be the product of recombination between a DNA virus and an RNA virus — a natural chimaera not seen before. See article.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Potential habitability of the nearby star Fomalhaut and why the subsurface shall inherit the Earth

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 is the potential habitability of the nearby star Fomalhaut? See article.
g Abodes - Scientists have refined the data used to determine how old minerals or rocks are. The study will help us more accurately date major geological events in Earth's history. See article.
g Life - A drilling project into the Chesapeake Bay impact crater has found evidence that the subsurface may become more habitable after a large impact. See article.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Martian pit-chains might harbor life and the nearby planetary system Fomalhaut

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 - A new observatory, which is still under construction, has already provided a major breakthrough in understanding the nearby planetary system Fomalhaut. See article.
g Abodes - New images from Mars Express reveal 'pit-chains' on the flanks of huge volcanoes on Mars. Depending on their origin, they might be good targets in the search for microbial life on the red planet. See article.
g Learning - NASA and the Library of Congress have announced the selection of David H. Grinspoon to be the first Baruch S. Blumberg NASA-Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology. See article.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Similarities between Venus and Earth and link between climate change and mass extinction

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 - Scientists have recently made surprising observations of Venus' magnetosphere. The study is highlighting some unique similarities between the planets Venus and Earth. See article.
g Life - The second-largest mass extinction in Earth's history coincided with a short but intense ice age during which enormous glaciers grew and sea levels dropped. Although it has long been agreed that the so-called Late Ordovician mass extinction - which occurred about 450 million years ago - was related to climate change, exactly how the climate change produced the extinction has not been known. Now, a team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has created a framework for weighing the factors that might have led to mass extinction and has used that framework to determine that the majority of extinctions were caused by habitat loss due to falling sea levels and cooling of the tropical oceans. See article.
g Cosmicus - Whether it comes to phoning a friend or to using the internet - our daily communication is based on sophisticated networks, with data being transferred at the speed of light between different nodes. It is a tremendous challenge to build corresponding networks for the exchange of quantum information. These quantum networks would differ profoundly from their classical counterparts: Besides giving insights into fundamental questions in physics, they could also have applications in secure communication and the simulation of complex many-body systems, or they could be used for distributed quantum computing. One prerequisite for functional quantum networks are stationary nodes that allow for the reversible exchange of quantum information. A major breakthrough in this field has now been achieved. See article.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

How long until we identify Goldilocks planet and atmospheres of dying stars

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 - Astronomers at The University of Manchester believe they have found the answer to the mystery of a powerful 'superwind' which causes the death of stars. See article.
g Abodes - Kepler has revealed an astounding variety of planets around distant stars. How long will it be before we identify a Goldilocks planet - a truly Earth-like world orbiting its star at the right distance for liquid water and life. See article.
g Life - Dating back 280 million years or so, the oldest known fossil reptile embryos have been unearthed in Uruguay and Brazil. They belong to the ancient aquatic reptiles, mesosaurs. The study of these exceptionally well-preserved fossils suggests that mesosaurs were either viviparous[1] (pushing back this mode of reproduction by 60 million years) or that they laid eggs in advanced stages of development. See article.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Intelligent dinosaurs ruling other planets and close 12 billion-year-old white dwarfs

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 - A University of Oklahoma assistant professor and colleagues have identified two white dwarf stars considered the oldest and closest known. Astronomers identified these 11- to 12-billion-year-old white dwarf stars only 100 light years away from Earth. These stars are the closest known examples of the oldest stars in the universe forming soon after the Big Bang, according to the OU research group. See article.
g Abodes - A new analysis of material collected by Apollo astronauts conflicts with the theory that the Moon was formed by an impact between the Earth and a Mars-sized object. See article.
g Intelligence - New scientific research raises the possibility that advanced versions of T. rex and other dinosaurs - monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans - may be the life forms that evolved on other planets in the universe. "We would be better off not meeting them," concludes the study, which appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. See article.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Planetary systems like ours may be norm and atmospheres of extrasolar worlds

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 - Recently, the HARPS spectrograph and the Kepler satellite made a census of the planetary population around stars like our own, revealing a bounty of planetary systems. A follow-up study led by members of the EXOEarths team (Centro de AstrofĂ­sica da Universidade do Porto - CAUP), in collaboration with Geneva University, did a joint analysis of the data which showed that the planetary orbits in a system are strongly aligned, like in a disk, just as we have in our own solar system. See article.
g Abodes - Climate models used by the United Kingdom Met Office to study Earth's weather are now being adapted to help scientists understand space weather and the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. See article.
g Intelligence - Scientists report that they have mapped the physical architecture of intelligence in the brain. Theirs is one of the largest and most comprehensive analyses so far of the brain structures vital to general intelligence and to specific aspects of intellectual functioning, such as verbal comprehension and working memory. See article.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Similar solar system to our own discovered and explaining Martian geologic features

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 - A new analysis shows that the star HD 10180 may be at the center of a solar system with nine planets. HD 10180 is similar to the Sun in mass, temperature, brightness, and chemical content. See article.
g Abodes - Researchers have proposed a new hypothesis to explain a class of geologic features on Mars that have puzzled scientists for decades. See article.
g Cosmicus - NASA's astrobiologists study microbial life to understand how it transformed a rocky Earth into the thriving, diverse, life-sustaining planet we inhabit today. These studies of photosynthetic green algae are creating sparks for new 'green technologies' on Earth and future human space exploration missions. See article.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Earth-like planets around low-metallicity stars and ancient planetary system discovered

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 - New research predicts the criteria needed for Earth-like planets to form around a star that have one-tenth the metallicity of our Sun. If researchers find small, rocky planets orbiting stars with lower metallicity, it may challenge the presently accepted "core accretion" model of planetary formation. See article.
g Abodes - Astronomers have discovered an ancient planetary system that could be a survivor from 13 billion years ago. See article.
g Cosmicus - The Canadian Astrobiology Network, centered at Western University, is a network of institutions and researchers across Canada that is actively engaged in this type of astrobiological research and effective immediately, CAN has been elevated to affiliate status within the NASA Astrobiology Network. See article.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NASA extends three astrobiology missions and studying fossil raindrops

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 - By studying fossil raindrops, scientists have revealed valuable information about the early atmosphere of Earth. The research could dramatically improve models of Earth's ancient, and will help astrobiologists understand the environmental conditions in which life arose on our planet. See article.
g Life - Researchers are moving closer to understanding how cells begin to duplicate their DNA, and ultimately replicate themselves. The study sheds new light on processes that underlie the origin and evolution of life as we know it. See article.
g Cosmicus - NASA is extending three missions that will continue to play an important role in the search for habitable planets beyond our solar system. See article.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Earth’s mini-moons and a computational system that learns and evolves

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 - Astronomers have found that the Earth has mini-moons that can orbit our planet for less than a year at a time before returning to their normal positions as asteroids orbiting the Sun. See article.
g Life - New research shows that a person's presence in a room can add 37 million bacteria to the air every hour, most of which is material left behind by previous occupants and stirred up from the floor. See article.
g Intelligence - Using a model inspired by the human brain, scientists are developing an adaptable computational system that learns and evolves. See article.

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Martian atmospheric circulation and navigating voyages across the 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 Abodes - A faint glow above the winter poles of Mars is helping scientists understand seasonal changes in the planet's atmospheric circulation. The research could help astrobiologists understand life's potential on Mars. See article.
g Life - New research shows that fire during the Cretaceous was much more widespread than previously thought. See article.
g Cosmicus - Scientists have developed a new technique using a special population of stars to navigate in voyages across the universe. See article.

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Radiation-doused Europa and drastically reducing cost of space exploration

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 - Jupiter's icy moon Europa is subject to constant and significant blasts of radiation. A new experiment attempts to determine how deep life must lay beneath the crust in order to survive. This will be important for future missions looking for life on Europa. See article.
g Life - A new study has dispelled the theory that putrefaction gases produced by decomposition caused some dinosaur carcasses to explode before they were fossilized. See article.
g Cosmicus - A new, ultra-compact motor could allow small satellites to journey beyond Earth's orbit. The technology could drastically reduce the cost of space exploration. See article.

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Earth-sized planets common around red dwarfs and asteroid deflection technology

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 - New research shows that rocky planets not much bigger than Earth could be very common in the habitable zones of faint, red stars. See article.
g Life - A new theory may help explain why some microorganisms can appear to lose the ability to perform a function necessary for survival - yet still endure and even reproduce. See article.
g Cosmicus - Engineers are developing an innovative technique based on solar-powered lasers that could radically change asteroid deflection technology. Such technology could help prevent impact disasters in the future. See article.

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Friday, April 06, 2012

How comets may have affected origin of life on Earth and coral reefs with herpes

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 - By using a spacecraft to time the transits of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun, scientists have measured the diameter of our star with unprecedented accuracy. See article.
g Abodes - Dust grains from Comet Wild 2 are helping scientists reappraise the traditional picture of comets. Understanding the composition of comets can help astrobiologists determine their potential role in the origins of life on Earth. See article.
g Life - New research shows that viral diseases may play a role in the decline of corals in Earth's oceans. See article.

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Thousand-year drought on Titan and how our ancient oceans led to life

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 - A new study shows how the solar storms of March 8th through 10th dumped enough energy in Earth's upper atmosphere to power every residence in New York City for two years. Studying how the Sun affects the Earth is important in understanding our planet's habitability. See article.
g Abodes - Data from NASA's Cassini mission indicates that parts of Titan may not see rain for more than 1,000 years. Understanding the cycling of liquids on Titan could help astrobiologists understand life's potential on the unique moon. See article.
g Life - By studying carbon-rich rocks, researchers are gaining new information about how changes in the atmosphere and oceans of the ancient Earth helped stage the emergence of animal life. See article.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Runaway planets and how the brain handles optical illusions

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 - New research shows that planets can be tossed out of galaxies at extremely high speeds - up to 30 million miles per hour. These runaway planets would be some of the fastest objects in the galaxy. See article.
g Intelligence - One cup or two faces? What we believe we see in one of the most famous optical illusions changes in a split second; and so does the path that the information takes in the brain. In a new theoretical study, scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, the Bernstein Center Göttingen and the German Primate Center now show how this is possible without changing the cellular links of the network. The direction of information flow changes, depending on the time pattern of communication between brain areas. This reorganization can be triggered even by a slight stimulus, such as a scent or sound, at the right time. See article.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the Day: “A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged. One can't put the difference into words. When the man is a friend it may become painful: the old footing is not easy to recover.” - C.S. Lewis, Perelandra

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Top 10 Best Reasons to Believe in Aliens and mysteries of the Wow! signal

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Life - Quote of the Day: “You can't take this speck of dust in this midst of all this incredible panorama of birth and complexifying and say...this is the only place that [life] happens. It's like turning your back on the whole idea of growth and evolution." – Gene Roddenberry
g Message - In August 1977, a sky survey conducted with Ohio State University's "Big Ear" radio telescope found what has become known as the “Wow” signal. Registering enormous signal strength, the shape of the signal had the characteristic rise and fall expected for its short 72-second lifetime. But a hitch remains: The signal has not been retrieved from other sky surveys, making it more anomaly than confirmable cosmic source. See article.
g Imagining - I’m not crazy about the UFO evidence, but here are the “Top 10 Best Reasons to Believe in Aliens.” See article.


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Monday, April 02, 2012

A Mars-unique geologic feature and parasite evolution

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 - An odd, previously unseen landform could provide a window into the geological history of Mars, according to new research by University of Washington geologists. See article.
g Life - Researchers have found the subtle genetic differences that make one parasite far more virulent than its close relative. They looked at the evolution of these parasites and found that although their genome architecture still remains similar, the two split from their common ancestor 28 million years ago, approximately four times longer than the human-gorilla split. See article.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the Day: “The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.” - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky


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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Getting involved in search for ETI and $1 billion space tourism industry

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 - Seven years ago, astronomers boggled when they found the first runaway star flying out of our galaxy at a speed of 1.5 million miles per hour. The discovery intrigued theorists, who wondered: If a star can get tossed outward at such an extreme velocity, could the same thing happen to planets? See article.
g Message - A new website hopes to include Earthlings in the search for extraterrestrial life. Click her for downloadable program.
g Cosmicus - The Obama administration is preparing for a space tourism industry that is expected to be worth $1 billion in 10 years, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration's commercial space office said. See article.

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