Today’s Tidbits: October 2, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: October 2, 2017

Here are our tidbits for today, October 2, 2017:  the search for life elsewhere just got more complicated; Canadian astronaut Julie Payette gets a new job; and should Elon Musk be worrying about ecoterrorism?  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live-tweeting of events.

Finding Life Elsewhere Just Got More Complicated

Artist’s illustration of ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft at the end of its mission as it is about to “land” on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

The European Space Agency (ESA) reports today that using the detection of methyl chloride as a “biomarker” suggesting the existence of life elsewhere in the universe has been called into question.

Until now, scientists thought it was produced only from biological, geological, or industrial activity.  However, ground-based and space-based observations discovered it around a young star and at a comet suggesting it is “inherited during the planet-forming phase.”  Meaning it may not be indicative of life at all.

The observations were made by the Atacama Larger Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile and by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft that studied Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

ESA said today that “…now, it is seen in environments not derived from living organisms, and instead as a raw ingredient from which planets could eventually form.” Learn more at:  []

A New Job for Julie Payette

Canadian astronaut Julie Payette has a new job — with a very impressive title.  It’s Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette now.  She was installed as the 29th Governor General (GG) of Canada today. As the GG website [] explains, the Canadian Parliament has three parts:  the Queen, the Senate, and the House of Commons.  The non-partisan, non-political GG represents the Queen and “acts on the advice of the prime minister and the government, but has the right to advise, to encourage and warn.”  Sounds like the perfect job for a former astronaut.

Should Musk Worry About Ecoterrorism?

Andrew Maynard, Director of the Risk Reduction Lab at Arizona State University, has some advice for Elon Musk re his plan to colonize Mars — the risks aren’t all technical, but social and political too.  Like, what about ecoterrorists who object to the idea of terraforming Mars?  Interesting perspective.


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