All life on Earth, for instance, relies on DNA and RNA for replication, the issuing of instructions at the molecular level, and heredity. Does that mean that our Earthly DNA is universal throughout the cosmos?
Hollywood is in the midst of a science-fiction boom, yet few of its sci-fi movies are based on real science. That's a shame, because the scientific discoveries emerging from NASA these days are as exciting as any Hollywood blockbuster.
The last few years have been heady for planet hunters. First the hot Jupiters; then the will-o'-the-wisp Glieslings and their cousins; and the results from the Kepler mission, one of which is Kepler-22b.
Lori's recent publications describe how dunes record climate change on Mars, the first evidence for dune migration on another planet, and how atmospheric models can be used to account for wind gustiness and its effects on sand movement.
After a starquake, says NASA's Dr. Jon Jenkins, "stars actually change their shape. This shape change causes an apparent change in brightness. As we study the brightness variations in time, we can essentially hear the songs of the stars."
It was clever of NASA to disclose its "amazing astrobiology discovery" right around budget-cutting time. But they should have better managed the hype -- and kept squarely in their memory the tale of the boy who cried wolf.