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Did life get an energy boost from meteorites?
(Apr 5, 2013)

Most life on Earth today uses the molecule ATP (adenosine triphophate) as its main energy-storage chemical. But enzymes are needed to make ATP and tap its energy supply, so when life was first getting started it probably used something simpler. The question is, what? Many origin-of-life researchers think the most likely ancient biological energy storage took the form of a chemical called pyrophosphate. Terry Kee of the University of Leeds, England, however, begs to differ. He suggests it may have been pyrophosphite and that it came from phosphite minerals delivered to Earth by meteorites.

Read more (New Scientist)

Wing region of Small Magellanic Cloud
X-rays detected from young, solar-mass stars for the first time
(Apr 5, 2013)

In this composite image of a region of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown in purple, optical data from Hubble is shown in red, green, and blue, and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope is shown in red. The Chandra data marks the first time that X-ray emission has been detected from young stars with masses similar to the Sun outside the Milky Way Galaxy. The new Chandra observations of these low-mass stars were made of the region known as the "Wing" of the SMC.

Read more (NASA/Chandra)

Spanish meteorite
Spanish meteorite, owned by farmer, sells for $5.3 million
(Apr 3, 2013)

A rock found by a Spanish farmer has been revealed to be an asteroid worth $5.3 million – 30 years since it was found and put to work as a press for curing meat. Faustino Lopez found the 220lb, 18-by-12-inch rock in 1980 while tending livestock with his father in their field, near Ciudad Real. He assumed the rock was a remnant from Spain's civil war, and put it on the family's patio.

Read more (Huffington Post)

Radio telescopes
ET breakthrough: first contact is junk mail
(Apr 1, 2013)

Astonishing news is coming in this morning that contact has been made with extraterrestrial intelligence. A spokesman for the SETI Institute said: "The signals seem to be coming from about 15 light-years away. It's a repeating message that we're in the process of decoding." Asked if the alien message might represent a threat to Earth's security, the spokesman said: "No, we don't think so. From what we've been able to establish so far, it looks like a menu – probably fast-food like pizza with some unusual toppings. We decided to reply and place an order. Now all we can do is wait ..."

Read more (Wikipedia)

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