Today, the Royal Society in London kicks off a conference
on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In one session, Arizona State University physicist Paul Davies will explain why he thinks we should be looking in our own backyards to support the possibility that life evolved on other planets. For example, US Geological Survey scientist Felisa Wolfe-Simon
is exploring whether "alien" lifeforms could thrive in aresenic-contaminated environments that would seem to be a bit, er, inhospitable. Davies addresses some of these ideas in his forthcoming book, The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence
. From The Times Online:
Professor Davies will argue that demonstrating that life has appeared more than once on Earth would be the best evidence yet that it must exist elsewhere in the Universe.
"Royal Society meet to discuss if extra-terrestrials are here on Earth"
He told The Times: "We need to give up the notion that ET is sending us some sort of customised message and take a new approach."
According to Professor Davies, "weird" microbes that belong to a completely separate tree of life, dubbed the "shadow biosphere", could be present in isolated ecological niches in which ordinary life struggles to survive. Likely hiding places include deserts, scalding volcanic vents, the dry valleys of Antartica or salt-saturated lakes.
Not all are convinced by the "shadow biosphere" concept. Colin Pillinger, who led the Beagle 2 Mars landing mission, said: "I prefer to deal in scientific fact -- this is wildly science fiction. You'd be off your trolley to go searching for arsenic-based life."
Professor Pillinger, who is due to speak at the Royal Society today, argues that Mars remains the best bet for finding alien organisms.
Backed by huge donations from vitamin companies, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is pushing to get naturopathic medicine recognized and regulated in all 50 US states, paving the way to receiving public funds in the form of Medicare reimbursements.
In California today, a grand jury indicted the Plains All-American Pipeline and one of the oil company’s employees on criminal charges over the massive 2015 oil spill in Santa Barbara County.
Thomas Manning, 64, is recovering after receiving the first penis transplant in the United States. Manning had his penis amputated in 2012 due to penile cancer. It took 15 hours for surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital to complete the transplant, medically known as a “gentitourinary vascularized composite allograft.” The surgery involved “grafting the complex microscopic […]
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