SPACE NEWS! - Alien Planets and Suspended Animation!
So it's been at least a month since I last did a Space News Blog... So here's a double-bill. Two lots of connected Space News for all you interstellar heads:
Hundreds of new Earth-Like Planets discovered by Kepler Spacecraft
NASA's Kepler spacecraft hunting for Earth-like planets around other stars has found 706 candidates for potential alien worlds while gazing at more than 156,000 stars packed into a single patch of the sky.
If all 706 of these objects pass the stringent follow-up tests to determine if they are actually planets, and not false alarms, they could nearly triple the current number of known extrasolar planets. They were announced as part of a huge release of data from the mission's first 43 days by NASA's Kepler science team this week.
To date, astronomers have discovered more than 400 alien planets lurking around stars beyond our solar system. That includes six newfound worlds discovered by a French observatory that were announced earlier this week.
The Kepler observatory will continue conducting science operations until at least November 2012. It will also continue searching for Earth-like planets, including those that orbit stars in a warm, habitable zone where liquid water could exist on the surface of alien planets.
The discovery of all these potential new planets is interesting and exciting. But they are all so far away... how can we get to them???
Which brings me to the second half of my Space News Blog:
Suspended Animation No Longer Just a Pipe Dream
A research scientist in a Seattle cancer laboratory has discovered the secret to reanimating organisms that had been frozen to a temperature below survivable limits.
Dr. Mark Roth was inspired by cases of individuals who survived prolonged exposure to the bitter cold with few adverse affects — like Canadian toddler Erica Nordby, who wandered from her house in the winter of and whose heart stopped beating for two hours before she was rescued, warmed, and came miraculously back to life; and Mitsutaka Uchikoshi, who fell asleep on a snowy mountainside in 2006 and was found 23 days later with a core body temperature of just 71°F. He too was successfully reanimated having suffered no appreciable ill effects.
Experimenting on yeasts and worms, Roth and his team found that if his specimens were deprived of oxygen before freezing, they'd enter a state of suspended animation from which they can be reliably revived.