Space, space, space. Pretty much wherever you could look this past week, some sort of space-related news has been on the front page. Asteroid mining featured pretty predominantly, and this is so incredibly awesome I can hardly stand it. Given, at the moment everything is pretty theoretical and they haven’t actually found out how to make extensive space travel viable yet, but we’re that much closer to going, if not quite galactic, at least super-planetary.
However, as no-longer-just-sci-fi as all of that is, it’s not quite alien news. So here are some newsworthy updates on the astrobiology front that might have gotten a bit hidden by all the asteroid mining and dark matter news.
Let the odds be with us: Habitable planets have been all the rage the past couple of years. First we found one, then several, then a few hundred… now we have billions. While this article doesn’t necessarily present any new information, it nicely summarizes everything about habitable zone and potentially inhabited planets, and also plays a bit with statistics. After all, an infinite number of planets that can host life has to mean something.
Titan: not our kind of life, but maybe some kind of life: Titan has found a pretty permanent spot on the top contenders for places we might live on in the future or where other life might be living now. It has an atmosphere, it hosts a regular production of hydrocarbons, and it has a lot of methane gas. All in all, a lot of what we can see on Titan resembles our own primordial habitat. We haven’t found life there, and chances are we probably won’t that easily, but on the spectrum between Earth and dead rock, it’s edging its way towards us.
The best pro-life campaign yet: In light of NASA’s aborted commitment to space exploration, the students at the University of Washington are advocating a Mars mission to search for signs of life. It would analyze soil and hopefully remove a little of the mystery surrounding the weird 1976 signs of life – it would also help continue the stream of precedents removing space travel from the purview of the federal and administration and more into the realm of everyone.
Mars might have life after all (and haven’t I written that headline before?): The glassy sand dunes on Mars aren’t just cool to look at. Their formation, indicative of both volcanic activity and the presence of water or ice, leads credence to the idea of Mars once having had conditions ideal for life. However, it’s not the glass itself that holds the answer, but the potential subglacial lakes that moved it about on the surface. Whether or not this has any answers for the question about life on Mars, this at the very least adds a bit of intrigue to the continual mystery of water on Mars.
Have you heard any interesting alien or space news this past that wasn’t mentioned? If so, be sure to leave a comment so we can include it next week!
Rachel is the co-founder of How To Survive Alien Invasion Novels, and spends her time writing, studying, and reading what would probably considered far too many books. Connect with her and Rusty on Twitter and Facebook, and click here to read more of her articles about alien theories and how to survive alien invasion novels.