Sometimes meteorites hitting the Earth is bad. Other times it causes all life on Earth to be possible.
Objects from space crashing into the Earth is generally considered pretty terrible. We'd like to keep it from happening in the future, but it turns out that a meteorite that struck the Earth billions of years ago is what's responsible for all life on our planet. At least that's the latest theory from University of South Florida Assistant Professor of Geology Matthew Pasek.Read More
You've got to hand it to NASA for their ability to routinely make a ruckus: Whereas many scientists struggle to elicit anything more than yawns from their audiences as they try to explain why their work matters (and, more pointedly, why it deserves tax or grant money), the whole "aliens" and "outer space" thing gives NASA a more receptive audience, and they know how to press that audience's buttons. In this case, though, things have gotten a little out of hand: A NASA press release on "an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life" morphed into Jason Kottke's "Has NASA discovered extraterrestrial life?", a question which he admitted was hyperbolic, which in turn mutated into progressively crazier herp-a-derp Internet speculation. Wired's Alexis Madrigal tweeted, "I'm sad to quell some of the @kottke-induced excitement about possible extraterrestrial life. I've seen the Science paper. It's not that." What is it, then? NASA's press conference isn't until 2pm EST tomorrow, so we won't know for sure, but it seems to relate to the decidedly less sexy, though still intriguing, research done on organisms that use arsenic rather than phosphorus for energy.Read More