Friday, September 2, 2011

Some Links!

Some interesting sciencey links, presented in the order in which I came across them (which I think is the order they were published anyway).

First up! This New Scientist article is about how the wakes of ships (the white "trail" they leave behind as they plough through the ocean) temporarily increases the albedo of the Earth—how much light from the sun it reflects. This would be good news for climate change (that is, enacting a more positive change and less the "oh gods we're all going to die in a tropical hell" sort) if not for all the greenhouse gases those ships also produce...

Next! This arXiv paper, "Kepler Exoplanet Candidate Host Stars are Preferentially Metal Rich", seems to back up some of the assumptions made in the paper I discussed a short while ago about the galactic habitable zone. In that paper they assumed that sufficient metallicity would be required to form planets and it looks like Kepler has confirmed that.

Penultimately! Forget about Martian meteorites containing fossilised life, simulations have shown that life from Earth may have made it off world and could be set to land on another planet. Could it be that when we finally get around to drilling through the Europan ice, we find Earthly extremophiles instead of aliens? Cosmos magazine have the full story.

Finally! National Geographic have an article about a newly discovered planet which has the potential to be Earth-like. Seems that it gets less energy from its sun than Venus does from Sol, but more than Earth receives. It's habitability thus depends on the appropriate weather conditions but with surface gravity 1.4 times Earth's it should be more or less possible to walk on the surface.

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