Searching for Life in SOL | J@N | 3.16.11

Searching for Life in SOL | J@N | 3.16.11

Teams of scientist are actively searching for life in our own back yard. Tonight we look at some of the more promising searches for life, but not as we know it!

We bring our resident space geek, “Mars_Base” on the show to walk us through the more scientific aspects of these amazing efforts.

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Show Notes:

Drake Equation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation
The number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;
the average rate of star formation

% of stars that have planets
average number of planets that could potentially support life per star
% of planets that actually go on to develop life at some point
% of those that develop intelligent life
% of civilizations that could releases detectable signs of their existence into space
length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

Mars
Mars Canals – wiki
*    first observed by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli in 1877

*    The Italian word canale (plural canali) can mean “canals” (including artificial canals or ducts) or “channels” or “gullies
ALH84001 [headlines 1996]
Allan Hills Meteorite – wiki

First meteorite found during 1984 season in Allan Hills
*   Misclassified, 1993 – from Mars . @ the time 1 of less than a dozen Matian meteorites
*   Thermal Emission Spectrometer and other instruments on the orbiters
Examine exact composition to determine possible origination point
Enceladus – moon of Saturn
Tidal heating to keep some interior water

Cassini spacecraft flew past Enceladus and through the jets on Nov. 21, 2009
Analysis of the plume by Cassini revealed that the water is salty,
Indicates the reservoir is large, perhaps even a global subsurface ocean

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/whycassini/cassini20100708-b.html

Europa – moon of Jupiter
slightly smaller than Earth’s Moon.
*   2010 : Odyssey Two — Arthur C. Clarke, 1982.
“ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE.”

*   Interferometer spectrometers and showed that Europa strongly absorbs infrared light @ specific wavelengths that are distinctive characteristic of water ice

*   It’s magnetic field is indicative of a shell of electrically conducting material, such as a salty, liquid ocean.

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/ice/ice_europa.html
Lone Wolf Planets
Earth-Size “Lone Wolf” Planets May Host Life



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