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Posts Tagged "interstellar"

Life, Unbounded

Deep Space, Branching Molecules, and Life’s Origins?

Hub of complex chemistry? Our galactic center (MSX/IPAC/NASA)

If biologically important organic molecules like amino acids could form in interstellar space, the implications would be enormous. On the Earth we find plenty of amino acid species inside certain types of meteorites, so at a minimum these compounds can form during the assembly of a proto-stellar, proto-planetary system (at least this one) and end [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Interstellar Space Can Be Pebbly

Are there interstellar pebbles here? The red strands of dense interstellar grains seen with the Green Bank raio telescope (Credit: S. Schnee, et al.; B. Saxton, B. Kent (NRAO/AUI/NSF); We acknowledge the use of NASA's SkyView Facility located at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.)

We’re used to thinking of the space between the stars as void, bereft of all but the most sparsely distributed atoms and molecules, or the occasional microscopic grain of silicon or carbon dust. Even the densest cores of nebula – molecular clouds – only attain average densities of a few million atoms or molecules per [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Krugman’s Theory of Interstellar Trade

Are we all the same? (Credit. C. Scharf, original LeCire/Wikipedia)

Everyone needs a little light relief sometimes, including the Nobel winning economist and writer/blogger extraordinaire Paul Krugman. A few months back he reminded the world of a short paper he’d written some years ago on the rather unexpected topic of interstellar finance. You can teleport a copy to your automated reading device by clicking here. [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Astrobiology Roundup

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                      Lots of new scientific results in the past couple of weeks feed directly into the central questions of astrobiology – from the search for life, to the environment of interplanetary and interstellar space, and the grand cosmological terrain we find ourselves in. No Methane [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Voyager Has Entered The Interstellar Medium

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                After many claims and statements over the past few years that Voyager 1, our most distant operating spacecraft, has ‘left the solar system’ (it hasn’t, as I explain here), it does now seem that as of August 2012 this extraordinary vehicle has entered the interstellar medium. This [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Interstellar Internet

An interstellar web? (Original image by B. Torrissen)

A speculative but intriguing discussion that sometimes crops up when talking to people engaged in exoplanetary science goes like this; let’s suppose that we find an unmistakably terrestrial style planet around a relatively nearby star (less than about 30 light years away), perhaps even around one of the Alpha Centauri members, a touch over four [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The molecules that made the universe

Imagine a molecule...

“We are starstuff”, it’s a well-used phrase in popular astronomy (yes, we are. The nuclei of most heavy atoms in your body were forged long before our solar system existed, a million kilometers down inside the cores of long-since-gone massive stars). “We contain matter as old as the universe” (absolutely. Pretty much all the hydrogen [...]

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