Thursday, December 02, 2010

And now for something completely different...

First thing first, I survived NaNoWriMo! Go me. I've written just under 60,000 words of a new novel, and think I have about another 30k to go. 60k in one month. Not bad, if I do say so myself. It was great turning off my internal editor and just writing.

I'll also be heading to the States shortly to spend some time in the setting of one of my novels in order to soak up the character of the place. That should be fun, too.

Anyway, as the title of this post says, And Now for Something Completely Different...

Me being the geek that I am, and being massively interested in alien life (take me! Take me!), I have to admit to being one of those caught up in the excitement of NASA's announcement:
NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p. m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Boy, hasn't that given folks something to chat about. There are all manner of rumours circulating cyberspace, such as arsenic-based bacteria, evidence of alien life on Titan, extraterrestrial life discovered in an ice meteorite...

When I first read this press release, my immediate thoughts were, brilliant! They've discovered alien life!! But although we won't know until tomorrow morning (my Aussie time) what the announcement will be, a lot of people think it will be about the arsenic-based life forms. And if it is, this is still huge news. As The Telegraph says;

If we found a microbe that used arsenic as a substitute for phosphorus, that would be a very exciting development. It might mean that, instead of evolving from a common ancestor with the rest of life, it developed in a second, entirely separate moment of biogenesis: that it is a limb on a “shadow tree of life”. Since this would mean that life has evolved twice on Earth alone, it’s reasonable to think it might have evolved elsewhere in the universe as well

I've always said alien life would be just that, alien. In every sense of the word. Planets we think totally inhospitable could very well be perfectly fine for alien life. It's naive to suggest otherwise.

Well, that was all rather deep. BBUURRRPP!!