Midnight In The Desert — biology

Here's What Scientists Are Asking the Presidential Candidates

Posted by K R on

Here's What Scientists Are Asking the Presidential Candidates

By now, American voters are well versed on Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border and the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s emails. But they have yet to hear much from the presidential candidates about NASA and space. Or about ocean health. Or biodiversity. Or the fragile nature of global fresh water supplies. Scientists and engineers want science to play a more prominent role in the presidential campaign. They have published a list of the top 20 science questions for the candidates and are pushing for a debate devoted exclusively to science. The effort to highlight scientific...

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The Other Way to Find Life Out There

Posted by K R on

The Other Way to Find Life Out There

In the three-way horse race to prove that biology is not just a terrestrial aberration, there’s one steed that many people ignore: sampling the air of distant planets to see if they contain the exhaust gases of life, or in the jargon of astrobiologists, biosignatures. Everyone knows the other horses: (1) Finding biology in the solar system by hurling rockets to Mars or some of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, and (2) expanding our SETI experiments to eavesdrop on radio or laser signals from clever beings on distant worlds. The former has the advantage that, if microbes have sprung...

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