Real pilots in flight simulator training

5 12 2010

Even real pilots also have problem…..

Kota Kinabalu Web Design

5 12 2010

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Follow Santa's journey in Google Earth

3 12 2010

All the preparations for this year are in place! Come back each day to receive updates from the North Pole and to discover new surprises in the Kids’ Countdown Village.

Santa’s Village

Santa’s elves have been busier than usual this year preparing. Visit Santa’s Village to see what’s been going on, and join in on the fun!

Winning Entry from Wasson High School NORAD teamed up with a local school dictrict to bring more holiday cheer.

to track Santa, go here

Alien Life found in Mono Lake, California

3 12 2010

Mono Lake viewed by Landsat satellite

Alien Life Form at Mono Lake, California July 2, 2010. The place was swarming with small black flying insects that would not touch humans.

The news

NASA, who have called a full scale press conference for tomorrow, have tried to keep their findings under wraps, though an accompanying scientific paper has been released to some journalists under embargo.

Skymania has not seen the paper and so has been free to do some detective work to discover what will be announced. Despite wild speculation on the internet, there is unlikely to be an announcement that extra-terrestrials have been discovered, for the reasons very well put forward by Stuart Atkinson’s Cumbrian Sky.

But our own investigations suggest that it follows a breakthrough in the discovery of microbes in a lake that get their energy from the usually poisonous arsenic. Experts say this shows they had a completely different origin to any other creature known on our planet. It means that life began not just once but at least twice on Earth.

A key scientist on NASA’s panel will be Dr Felisa Wolfe-Simon who has spent two years investigating Mono Lake, close to California’s Yosemite National Park. The lake has no outlet and has, over many millenia, built up one of the highest natural concentrations of arsenic on Earth.

Geobiologist Dr Wolfe-Simon has been looking to see whether microbes with a totally different make-up to that of conventional carbon-based life could have developed. There was an interesting article about her search for alien life on Earth in NASA’s online Astrobiology Magazine.

The importance that NASA attaches to her discovery and its implications for finding extra-terrestrial life is demonstrated by the fact that they will have on tomorrow’s panel experts on two other sites in the solar system where life might have developed.

They are Pamela Conrad who is looking for life on Mars and Steven Benner who is studying Saturn’s largest moon Titan which has a dense atmosphere like Earth but lakes of liquid methane rather than water. Also on the panel will be ecologist James Elser who is involved with a NASA-funded search for ET.

All life previously discovered is of one basic type because it relies on phosphorous as an essential building block. The newly found microbes seem to use arsenic instead.

Astrobiologist Dr Lewis Dartnell, of the Centre for Planetary Sciences in London, told Skymania today: “Mono Lake has a very high concentration of arsenic dissolved in it which is usually poisonous and consequently there’s not much life.

“I’m 90 per cent certain that Felisa has found something in Mono Lake and they have been able to demonstrate in some way that it uses arsenic in its metabolism rather than be poisoned by it.”

He added: “Phosphorous is key and absolutely essential for life. It forms the backbone of DNA. Every form of life of Earth we have known so far depends on phosphorous as well as another molecule called ATP, an energy storage molecule, or biological battery.

“It is exciting to find life in an arsenic-rich environment. If these organisms are using arsenic in their metabolism, it demonstrates that there are other life forms to that as we know it.”

Dr Dartnell went on: “There is no reason to expect that life arose just once on Earth. It could have arisen any number of times. The only reason that all life we have found so far has all descended from the same progenitor – the same mother of life – is because we’ve been looking for life in the same way.

“But if you start looking in extreme environments like Mono Lake, where our kind of life doesn’t survive very well, that’s where you find fundamentally different life forms with a separate origin. They’re aliens, but aliens that share the same home as us.”

Dr Wolfe-Simon has previously said of her research: “It may prove that there are other possibilities that are beyond our imagination. It opens the door for us to think about biology in ways we have never thought.

“We are going to look for life on other planets and we only know to look for that which we know. This may help us to develop tools to look for something we have never seen.”

Last year NASA revealed the detection of plumes of methane on Mars that offered compelling evidence that there might be life on the red planet.

British space scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, who has devoted his life to finding life on Mars, told Skymania: “If they have found anything which they can attribute to arsenic-based life then it is very interesting and obviously has connotations for other places in the universe where life forms other than the ones on Earth may very well have developed.”