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Probes on the Edge

Voyager 2 has now reached the edge of the solar system.

This sounds like a good excuse for a party.


Posted in News, Space July 2nd, 2008 by Chip
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New Scientist has an interesting overview of life forms that exist in the most extreme environments on Earth (the article title says “in the universe,” but they apparently mean only the little corner of it we know about so far).

I have a little trouble with the idea that the existence of an extremophile on Earth somehow translates into “proof” that life exists in similar environments elsewhere. All of the evidence suggests that Earth life originated in much friendlier surroundings and then managed to evolve to exploit harsher niches; the creatures that inhabit an extreme environment didn’t originate there, and it may be possible that they couldn’t have originated there.

On the other hand, if we ever want to terraform more extreme conditions on other planets, we may be able to use gene sequences from the extremophiles to help engineer helpful bacteria.


Posted in Science July 2nd, 2008 by Chip
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