NASA closer to discovering life on other planets |

TBC Staff

[TBC: It is instructive to consider how propagandists (it is difficult to objectively call them reporters) use attention getting headlines which go well beyond the evidence the text presents.]

NASA closer to discovering life on other planets [Excerpts]

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Astronomers have captured enough light from two planets far beyond our own solar system to reveal details of their chemical make-up, marking a new phase in the search for extraterrestrial life.

By analyzing the faint glow of one of these alien worlds they have found tentative evidence that suggests the presence of chemicals which play a role in one theory of how life began on Earth.

The chemicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, may have helped the formation of RNA, the ancestral genetic material of DNA, the building-blocks of life on our own planet.

Although this planet seems to lack water and is at a searing 800 C - which is thought to be much too hot for life - three teams announce today they have successfully carried out the feat on this and one other alien world, marking a breakthrough in the development of techniques capable of scouring the cosmos for signs of life.

The research builds on earlier work with the Hubble Space Telescope which detected sodium, hydrogen and carbon from starlight passing through the atmosphere of the planet with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and shows that it is possible to measure the chemical make-up of "extrasolar" planets - those outside our solar system - and to hunt for the chemical markers of life in the far-flung reaches of space.;jsessionid=M0S0IZUSUKKKVQFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2007/02/21/nalien121.xml

[TBC: In articles such as this, the presence of words such as "suggests" are key to recognizing that the tenuous conclusions noted are based upon presumption. As a later paragraph notes, the planet lacks "water and is at a searing 800 C." This hardly supports the notion that these are signs of life.]