Astronomers now think that life spread throughout the Milky Way via microbes hitching a ride on asteroids and comets, and that it didn’t originate on Earth. It will eventually leak out into other galaxies?if it hasn’t already. This means that life is probably widespread, although the planet(s) where life originated may now be barren or may never be identified. However, this doesn’t mean ET will look familiar, because evolution can take many twists and turns.
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Physicist Freeman Dyson says that our “scheme of Mars missions is excellent, but it has one fatal flaw: the fact that you are expecting NASA to do it.” NASA has become timid, after the recent shuttle disaster, but private companies are willing take over the task.

Sir Martin Rees, the British Royal Astronomer, thinks rich CEOs like Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos will finance trips to the moon and Mars in the future, with NASA playing a supportive role. On space.com, Robert Roy Britt quotes him as saying, “I think the future of manned spaceflight will only brighten if it’s done by people prepared to cut costs and take risks in a fashion that’s seemingly unacceptable to the U.S. public in a NASA project.”
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We recently reported that astronauts on board the International Space Station said they saw strange lights in space. NASA has discovered these were incredibly high auroras, produced by the recent solar storms, although they still don’t know how this was possible.

Auroras are usually only seen from Earth, close to the poles. They are generated by solar storms, and with space storms at a historical high, people recently saw auroras in 49 states. But until the recent astronaut reports, researchers didn’t realize they could also be seen from space.
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U.S. Astronaut Ed Lu, who spent 6 months on the International Space Station, still doesn’t know what caused the mysterious flashes of light he saw while studying the Earth’s aurora from space.

He spent 100 hours watching the northern and southern lights while on the ISS, so he’s familiar with the way they look from space. But on July 11, September 24 and October 12, Lu saw something different: flashes as bright as the brightest stars, that lasted only a second. Fellow astronaut Yuri Malenchenko also saw them on one occasion.

Lu is familiar with flashes from cosmic dust and meteors, and he says these weren’t from a satellite or space junk. He checked weather maps, which showed no lightning storms in the vicinity.
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