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Blog Archive


Optical SETI Gets a Major Upgrade

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/08/30 03:57 CDT | 5 comments

The Planetary Society Optical SETI Telescope in Harvard, Massachusetts just got a major upgrade of its electronics.

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Full Free Intro Astronomy Class Now Online

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/05/22 02:57 CDT | 1 comments

Bruce Betts' complete CSUDH Intro Astronomy and Planetary Science class is now available online. Find out how to access it, and go behind the scenes.

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Earth’s toughest life could survive on Mars

Posted by Mike Malaska on 2012/05/15 06:22 CDT | 6 comments

The surface of Mars is a tough place to survive, but researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) found some lichens and cyanobacteria tough enough to handle those conditions.

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Is there life on Venus? Not in reprocessed Venera-13 images.

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/23 12:56 CST

At the end of last week, a rather sensational article appeared in both the Russian- and English-language sites of the Russian news agency, RIA Novosti. "Life Spotted on Venus - Russian Scientist," ran the English headline; a Google translation of the Russian one goes: "The Soviet probes may have photographed creatures on Venus."

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NOVA: Finding Life Beyond Earth airs tonight, with lots of planetary stars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/19 02:10 CDT

Programming note: tonight, public television stations will be airing a new, two-hour NOVA documentary, "Finding Life Beyond Earth."

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Origins 2011 conference, part 2

Posted by Frank Trixler on 2011/07/27 10:03 CDT

In this, my second blog on Origins 2011 in Montpellier, France, a conference dedicated to the interdisciplinary research on the origins of life, I aim to provide my impression of the second half of the conference.

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Origins 2011 conference, part 1

Posted by Frank Trixler on 2011/07/14 12:53 CDT

The Origins 2011 conference, which took place last week in Montpellier, France, was dedicated to the origins of life and its occurrence in the universe. At this meeting, scientists from very different disciplines came together to share their ideas.

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Why haven't we found evidence for life starting in asteroids?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/10 01:51 CDT

Here's a theoretical paper that asks an interesting question: When the solar system was very young and still very hot, could medium-sized asteroids have been habitable abodes for life?

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Phobos LIFE gets a ride on Endeavour as Shuttle LIFE!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/25 03:52 CDT

The Planetary Society is contributing this thing called the Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (LIFE) to Russia's Phobos sample return mission -- it's basically a sealed puck with dormant microbes inside that'll fly to Mars and back in the return capsule, and biologists will take a look to see what damage the little bugs suffered during their space journey.

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Best "Arsenic and Odd Life" coverage

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/03 10:03 CST

Last night I asked via Twitter for recommendations for articles that did the best job explaining the significance of the work, by people who actually read the relevant paper in Science.

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Arsenic and Deep Space?

Posted by Bill Nye on 2010/12/02 12:10 CST

If you or I ingest arsenic, doesn't go so well. If you are, on the other hand, a certain species of bacterium from Mono Lake, California, ingesting this seemingly toxic metal is simple enough.

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Update from the Ozma@50 Workshop

Posted by Jon Lomberg on 2010/09/16 01:07 CDT

Frank Drake used the 85' radio telescope at Green Bank to conduct the first modern Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence in 1960. Using a very simple receiver and no computers, he listened to each of two sunlike stars for 100 seconds. Call that unit 1 Ozma.

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More from the Ozma@50 Workshop

Posted by Jon Lomberg on 2010/09/14 12:22 CDT

Today's sessions at the Ozma@50 conference stretched the mind as these multidisciplinary gatherings usually do.

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Jaded by Mars Organics

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2010/09/11 04:35 CDT

So, you may have heard the news making the rounds last week that a new analysis of the Viking data suggests there may actually be organics and (dare I even say it?) life on Mars! Yawn. Consider me underwhelmed.

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