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Astrobiology

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Paucity of phosphorus hints at precarious path for extraterrestrial life
She explains: "Phosphorus is one of just six chemical elements on which Earth organisms depend, and it is crucial to the compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which cells use to store and transfer energy. Astronomers have just started to pay attention to the cosmic origins of phosphorus and found quite a few surprises. In particular, P is created in supernovae -- the explosions of massive stars -- but the amounts seen so far don't match our computer models. I wondered what the implications were for life on other planets if unpredictable amounts of P are spat out into space and later used in the construction of new planets."
astronomy  phosphorus  astrobiology 
15 days ago by zzkt
SOLID | Life detection by CAB
SOLID (Signs Of LIfe Detector) is an antibody microarray-based instrument, designed and built for the detection and identification of microbes and biochemical compounds by in situ analysis of solid (soil, ground rocks or ice) and liquid samples Parro et al., 2005; 2008; 2011). Our system includes all the mechanisms, detectors and electronics needed to automatically operate and collect results. Current version (SOLID 3.1) is a portable field tested instrument that can use either sandwich or competitive immunoassays. SOLID3.1 can detect bacteria and large molecular weight compounds (mostly biological polymers such as proteins, polysaccharides, nucleic acids) from the environment as well as small molecular weight compounds. The core of SOLID is an antibody microarray biosensor, the so called LDChip (Life Detector Chip), capable of allocate up to 500 different antibodies to detect similar number of potential targets. Current version is LDChip451, which contains more than 450 antibodies to bacterial and archaeal strains, crude natural polymeric extracts, proteins, polysaccharides, nucleic acids, and small molecules such as aminoacids, or polyaromatic hydrocarbons.
planetary  science  astrobiology  instrument 
18 days ago by soto97
[astro-ph/0205014] Does the rapid appearance of life on Earth suggest that life is common in the Universe?
It is sometimes assumed that the rapidity of biogenesis on Earth suggests that life is common in the Universe. Here we critically examine the assumptions inherent in this if-life-evolved-rapidly-life-must-be-common argument. We use the observational constraints on the rapidity of biogenesis on Earth to infer the probability of biogenesis on terrestrial planets with the same unknown probability of biogenesis as the Earth. We find that on such planets, older than ~ 1 Gyr, the probability of biogenesis is > 13% at the 95% confidence level. This quantifies an important term in the Drake Equation but does not necessarily mean that life is common in the Universe.
Astrobiology 
4 weeks ago by tonyyet
Emission Spectra of the Elements – Field Tested Systems
Great for a high school science project or the scientifically or artistically curious adult. Getting started is easy. The grating is $195.  The software comes free with our RSpec Explorer spectrometer and is $99 by itself. (Optionally, our $39.95 AD-58 thread adapter adapts your camera’s lens cap threads.)
Science  astronomy  astrophysics  astrobiology  photography  chemistry  physics  grade_A  wishlist 
6 weeks ago by Marcellus
ELSI 6th International Symposium – Building bridges from Earth to Life
Understanding the transition from the Earth’s earliest geochemistry, to the later emergence of life, requires a synthesis of knowledge across an unprecedented range of scales of size, time, and complexity. We need both empirical data, and the ability to synthesize, compute, and reason at levels linking elementary mechanisms in organic geochemistry and catalysis, available energy systems, the assembly and roles of intermediate-scale structures, and reaching all the way to molecular and ecological systems evolutionary biology. Recent advances in several areas bring us close to connecting all the links in a chain needed to reason from micro to macro, from geochemistry to nascent biochemistry. The goal in this symposium is to hold a collaborative conversation, among speakers and participants, to sketch the form of this emerging bridge, and to point out both the most compelling opportunities and the most urgent needs.
astrobiology  geobiology  conferences 
9 weeks ago by soto97
Everything Worth Knowing About ... Alien Contact | DiscoverMagazine.com
0.041% How much of that search they have completed, for all radio SETI projects.

You wouldn’t dip a glass in the ocean, come up with no fish inside and conclude, “No fish exist.” Astronomer Jill Tarter often says that’s where humans are with SETI. To fill enough glasses to get a good sense, researchers want to look at 1 million stars within 1,000 light-years of Earth and scan all the frequencies between 1 and 10 gigahertz. When they’ve done that, maybe they’ll have caught a fish or two — or will at least be able to say more about how many swim in the cosmic sea. Here’s how close they’ve gotten, proportionally, to that goal.

99.959% How much searching astronomers still have to do to “cover” 1 million stars.
SETI  astronomy  astrophysics  astrobiology  grade_A  grade_AA  infographics 
11 weeks ago by Marcellus

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