This week has been filled with some grim news, some good news, and some old news. The old news might win out in terms of volume – there’s still a lot of theorizing about Mars without a lot of action to back anything up, and that goes double for the existence of any aliens – but the good news is pretty spectacular. If there were awards for the most visually exciting space and alien news, it would have to be given to the last article listed, but I’ll let you imagine that for yourselves.
All in all, this week wasn’t a particularly exciting one, especially compared to the still news-worthy news about Planetary Resources – in fact, the lack of exciting news is an important part of this week’s happenings. But science is making pretty steady progress towards connecting our world with outer space, and that’s still cool.
Also, how did any of you like that supermoon last night?
Space Helps Heal Cancer: This statement might be an exaggeration because it’s not space itself that is particularly curative; space, however, is the environment in which medicine with the potential to halt cancer’s growth can be manufactured. With microgravity, Dennis Morrison’s Microencapslation Electrostatic Processing System-II experiment was better able to encapsulate anti-cancer drugs and genetically engineered DNA than any system on Earth. If this drug works – which it seems to, since it allows for direct application on the tumor instead of something like chemotherapy – then two things will happen, and both are awesome. One, this opens a new frontier in cancer research and we’ll be that much closer to finding a good cure; two, we’ll have industries that depend on being in space to operate, and space-based things will slowly (or quickly!) become a major part of our daily lives.
Earth – Atmosphere = Mars?: I know. More ‘Mars Kind Of/Maybe/Don’t Get Your Hopes Up Has Water’ news. But there are so many different angles of study, and NASA hasn’t really consistently studied any of them, that pretty much all possible ways of studying our Martian data are viable. This time, scientists (from Georgia Tech, not NASA) are trying to figure out what Mars’s past atmosphere might have been like, and if standing water might have been possible millions of years ago. And maybe, just maybe, there was life there then, too.
Damn You, SpaceX: SpaceX has been the poster child for privatized space everything for so long that it’s hard to see them mess up. But all of the potential trips to the International Space Station that the news (and I) were crowing about last week are now put on hold due to some technical difficulties. Not only is that first cargo run – a fairly monumental event – off schedule, it has yet to be rescheduled. That sounds pretty ominous for SpaceX.
Abiogenesis, Maybe Not So Much: All of the good news about habitable zone planets in the last few months have created a possibly ridiculous amount of optimism about finding extraterrestrial life. That hope was stymied a bit when an article last week said that we really have nothing to base our expectations on – and, really, we don’t. This article, however, says that maybe it’s just abiogenesis that’s so rare, and maybe all the species on Earth just got ahead start in our little corner of the galaxy. And it, despite balancing between the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’ camps, is still rooting for the ‘yes’ side.
This Isn’t Alien News, Just The Best Incentive I’ve Ever Heard Of: The University of Warwick saw our possible end, and it was crunchy. It has long been postulated that the Earth will one day be consumed by an enlarged Sun; having been scheduled for billions of years in the future (probably long after there’s no such thing as humans anymore), however, most people aren’t too concerned. But a new study documents four dying stars feasting on their surrounding planets and causing all sorts of debris, shattering, and all-around destruction. So. It’s never to early for us to get started on that whole space colony plan.
Want to share all the news? Please be sure to recommend this post on StumbleUpon – all it takes is a click!
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.