A gigantic radio telescope in Virginia has started listening to 86 Earth-like planet candidates identified by the Kepler Space Telescope, hoping to hear signs of alien life. Astronomers aren’t even sure the stars to which they are listening actually harbor planets, let alone radio-communicating extraterrestrials, but hey, we might as well bend an ear, right?
Puzzle-loving gamers are better at solving molecular biology problems than a supercomputer, according to a new study published today in the journal Nature. Playing a game called Foldit, which involves protein folding, gamers outsmarted computers on problems that required radical moves, risks and long-term vision.
The researchers, based at the University of Washington in Seattle, are incorporating the best Foldit players' strategies into their own algorithms. Forget distributed computing -- this is distributed thinking.
In the beginning, there were organic molecules. And they were good, but unorganized. Then, those organic molecules formed proteins, and evolution kicked in and started a three-billion-year journey culminating in you and me. But the question of just how life made the jump from inert organic chemicals to the complex building blocks of life has vexed scientists for years.
A company hopes that software originally designed to find extraterrestrial life will now help them unlock the origin of life on this planet.
A spacecraft delivers rare samples of extraterrestrial dust to Earth. Now scientists need your help to study it
By Dawn StoverPosted 03.14.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
"We believe we have the Holy Grail," says Don Brownlee, the lead scientist for NASA's Stardust mission, in which a robotic spacecraft traveled nearly three billion miles to capture interstellar dust and comet particles and then flew back to Earth in a seven-year round-trip voyage. The touch-down this January in the Utah desert marked the first successful return of extraterrestrial material since 1976, when an unmanned Soviet probe last brought home moon rocks.