Solar Events Unlikely to Cause Birth Defects

High-energy cosmic rays can pose threats to airline crews at high altitudes, but how much risk do they pose for everyday life on the surface? A new study by a team of scientists that includes Dr. Dimitra Atri finds that Earth’s atmosphere provides a shilding mechanism that protects us at the surface, further confounding the problem of birth defects but at least giving us a sense of safety from cosmic rays above. This research has been featured by Science Daily […]

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Can Cosmic Rays Power Life?

A new hypothesis paper by Dr. Dimitra Atri suggests that galactic cosmic rays could provide a source for living organisms in subsurface environments. Dr. Atri suggests several mechanisms by which secondary particles induced by galactic cosmic rays could penetrate into deep subsurface environments and provide energy to biological systems. This suggests that planets with a strong geothermal heat flux, rogue planets, and other worlds previously thought to be uninhabitable could in fact support life in the absence of starlight. Dr. […]

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Astrobiology: An Evolutionary Approach

A new astrobiology textbook is scheduled for publication in October and includes chapters written by our own Dr. Jim Cleaves and Dr. Sara Walker! The book is titled Astrobiology: An Evolutionary Approach and will be released by CRC Press on October 2, 2014. The book provides an interdisciplinary cross-section of many contemporary issues in astrobiology and could form the basis for an undergraduate or graduate course. Pre-orders can be placed now on Amazon.com!

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A Fuel Cell Model for the Origin of Life

Dr. Laurie Barge has published a paper suggesting a novel way to study the origin of life by using fuel cells. Although fuel cells carry the potential to create cleaner-burning cars, Dr. Barge and her co-authors suggest that fuel cells are also an ideal laboratory for probing one of astrobiology’s deepest mysteries. This research is published in the journal Astrobiology, and news coverage appears on the NASA JPL website. [Read the article at JPL]

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Pubs: Quantum Non-Barking Dogs

A new paper led by Dr. Sara Imari Walker explores some novel concepts in quantum mechanics using conceptual models for the decay of an excited atom and the tunneling of a particle through a barrier. The paper is titled “Quantum Non-Barking Dogs” and is available as a pre-print on arXiv.org. In a new episode of our podcast series “Pubs with BMSIS”, join Brendan Mullan in a conversation with Dr. Walker about quantum mechanics and the implications of her new ideas. […]

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