Astrobiology

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Author:
Bwatkins
ID:
14885
Filename:
Astrobiology
Updated:
2010-05-29 01:28:27
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Evolution Exobiology Astrobiology
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Terms associated with astrobiology.
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  1. What is abiogenesis?
    • Spontaneous generation of living organisms from non-living matter.
  2. What is ALH 84001?
    • A Martian meteorite that contained magnetite (triiron tetraoxide), iron sulfide, and polycyclic aromatic hyrdrocarbons. Fossils found are of debatable microbial origin.
  3. What are antifreeze molecules from psychrophiles?
    Glycopeptides that absorb seeds of ice that prevent crystals from growing.
  4. What is project Argus?
    The SETI program that utilizes thousands of amateur radio astronomy systems?
  5. What are aridophiles?
    Organisms that are evolved to live in very dry environments, e.g. certain bacteria and lichens.
  6. What is astroplankton?
    A hypothesis advanced by JBS Haldane that stated traveling spores float through the universe and can be the source of life for a habitable planet. Carl Sagan calculated that the only way the spores could survive is in a rock.
  7. Who is John A Ball?
    The radio astronomer who proposed the zoo hypothesis, i.e. that the earth is a zoo to be observed by alien races.
  8. What are barophiles?
    Species that have evolved to live at very high pressures, e.g. certain bacteria, protists, and invertebrates.
  9. What is the SETI project BETA?
    A Harvard based 26 meter dish that scans 2 billion frequency channels every 16 seconds.
  10. What is the big crunch?
    • In physical cosmology, the Big Crunch is one possible scenario for the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the metric expansion of space eventually reverses and the universe recollapses, ultimately ending as a black hole singularity.
  11. What is a black hole?
    • A black hole is a region of space from which nothing, including light, can escape. It is the result of the deformation of spacetime caused by a very compact mass. Under the theory of quantum mechanics black holes possess a temperature and emit Hawking radiation.
  12. What is a Bracewell probe?
    A Bracewell Probe is a hypothetical concept for an anutonomous interstellar space probe dispatched for the purpose of communication with one or more alien civilizations. It was proposed by Ronald N Bracewell in a 1960 paper, as an alternative to interstellar radio communication between widely separated civilizations.
  13. What are brown dwarfs?
    • Brown dwarfs are sub-stellar objects which are too low in mass to sustain stable hydrogen fusion.
  14. Who was James Clegg?
    A biochemist at the University of California that took dried-up brine shrimp embryos and rehydrated them in oxygen free water at room temperature. Four years later Clegg exposed the embryos to oxygen and 60% of them resumed normal development. Clegg suspected their survival was due to molecular chaperones that protected the shrimp's proteins from degredation.
  15. What is a hive mind?
    A form of collective consciousness where a group or colony of a species is able to directly respond to environmental stimuli, regardless of the intelligence of an individual within the colony.
  16. What is panspermia?
    • The idea that spores, microbes, could be transported over interstellar distances in meteorites; and these spores could be the source of life for a developing planet.
  17. What is directed panspermia?
    • The hypothesis that an alien race would purposely send out spores to different worlds. Their motivation could be to continue life after their parent stars die or faced with imminent destruction.
  18. What are carbonaceous chondrites?
    • A small class of meteorites that are composed of stone and molecules associated with life, e.g. hydrocarbons, amino acids, silicates, oxides, and sulfides. The minerals olivine ((Mg,Fe)2SiO4 ) and serpentinite are characteristic.
  19. What is homochirality?
    The prevalence of one type of chiral compound over another as found in biological systems. On Earth almost all life forms utilize the L-amino acids over the D-amino acids. This pattern has also been observed in meteorites. Advocates of panspermia suggest that this pattern is what caused life on Earth to favor the L-amino acids.
  20. What is cryonics?
    • The science of freezing a body to be revived at a latter time. It has been speculated that this method could be used to make long interstellar travel possible.

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