Sunday, April 01, 2012

Science and Science Fiction Highlights: April 1, 2012

Some of the science and SF links originally posted on Google+ Biology in Science Fiction on Google+Twitter , and Facebook this week:

Science and the Arts
Interesting Bioscience

Other Planets and Alien Life
  • Why black (or blue, or red) plants might be the key to finding life beyond Earth
    Life on other planets may be colorful!
  • Science Fiction or Fact: ET Will Look Like Us
    Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at SETI sums up the answer nicely:
    "Why should they look like us? No other creatures look that much like us, except for other apes."
    He also points out: "An alien will look like whatever its evolutionary niche is."
    Despite that, the article gives a 3 out of 4 plausibility rating for the idea that extraterrestrial aliens will look like "us". What the heck?
  • If We Discover Aliens, What's Our Protocol for Making Contact?
    It seems like the biggest mistake we could make is assuming that aliens will think and behave like humans and that they likewise understand our behavior. Do open gun ports signify an imminent attack or are they a sign of respect?
  • Science Fiction or Fact: Sentient Living Planets Exist
    The article doesn't really focus on planets themselves that could be sentient, like the Gaia of Asimov's Foundation universe. Instead it asks whether a network of living beings on the surface of a planet could become sentient. In either case, the answer is "pretty darn unlikely".
  • “Snowing Microbes” On Saturn’s Moon?
    It's all speculation at the moment, but Cassini imaging team leader Carolyn Porcini thinks there's the possibility of life in ice jets of Enceladus:
    "In the end, it’s is the most promising place I know of for an astrobiology search. We don’t even need to go scratching around on the surface. We can fly through the plume and sample it. Or we can land on the surface, look up and stick our tongues out. And voilĂ …we have what we came for.”
  • Could Life Be Abundant In Our Galaxy?
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