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    Supporting Life on Another Planet

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    As a future biologist, you like to follow news events within many areas of the scientific community. In August 2003, NASA ( the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ) launched its Space Infrared Telescope Facility to study (among other things) the birth of galaxies. This has made you think about the types of findings NASA will discover.

    You go to NASA's web site
    (http://www.nasa.gov/home/index.html) and read some of the news articles and features posted on the site. You send an editorial to the local newspaper that was featuring a story on this matter. You send a response. In your editorial, you mention some of the implications if NASA finds some type of environment which could support a life form different from life as we know it on earth. You also discuss how such a discovery would change our definition of what it means to be alive. In other words, the characteristics of living things.

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    Solution Preview

    Editorial: NASA'S Space Infrared Telescope Facility

    NASA (National Aeronautics Space Administration) has been working on a brand new project, Space Infrared Telescope Facility for over 2 years. This facility uses a Spitzer Space Telescope situated in Washington D.C., managed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. One of the research projects that NASA is trying to work out at this facility is to see if we do find any kind of life forms on other planets like Mars, or even the Moon. If those life forms are different than the life on Earth, then what are the challenges that we will face? For example, here ...

    Solution Summary

    In about 450 words, this solution provides a detailed outline of a discussion on life residing on another planet in space other than Earth. Some of the features of these planets and how they would impact human life are mentioned.