The top three news stories of the week, as chosen by our resident students. This week’s top stories include seeding our galaxy with life from Earth, storing data using DNA and listening to the ‘music’ of the stars and planets.
By Federica Ferrentino
Next NASA mission: seeding the Milky Way with microorganisms from Earth
Dr Claudius Gros, a theoretical physicist of Goethe University’s Institute, developed the last NASA project named “Genesis Missions”.
The aim is to seed spacecraft with gene factories or cryogenic pods used to distribute microbial life in the lifeless planets. Dr Gros explained the reasons behind this project, declaring that ‘the Cambrian Explosion only happened about 500 million years ago, roughly 4 billion years after Earth was formed’. ‘If we give planets the opportunity to fast forward evolution, we can give them the chance to have their own Cambrian Explosions now’.
The contamination of exoplanets with terrestrial microorganisms was considered unethical for some people, however, the undeniable fact is the valuable goal of this mission, representing the greatest step forward in the study of the evolution of life.
Click here to read more about this curious NASA mission!
DNA, the future of data storage?
DNA is nature’s oldest storage device. The human genome contains all the information necessary to build and maintain a human being. A total of 3 billion base pairs (bp) is contained in each set of human chromosomes. The total length of DNA present in one adult human is 2.0 × 1013 meters, the equivalent of roughly 70 trips from the Earth to the Sun and back.
Now, if we convert all those A’s, T’s, C’s and G’s into digital data such as zeroes and ones, it would total a few gigabytes (GB) in each cell of our body. We have more than 30 trillion cells.
You get the idea: DNA can store a ton of information in a minuscule space! To figure out more about this interesting study, click here!
Melody from space: the Solar System composition
The sound of the wind on Mars has been captured for the first time by Nasa’s InSight Lander, which touched down on the red planet 10 days ago. The Sun’s eruptions, loops and waves were recorded by the NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). NASA’s Cassini spacecraft recently found that the natural radio wave signals, coming from Saturn, differ in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Since 2005, Nasa has developed special instruments to record these electromagnetic vibrations and has transferred them into sounds for our ears. Having said that, if you are bored of listening to the usual Christmas Carols and the radio’s Top 10, try to hear the melody of planets around you.