Suspense

Suspense is a way of (arrested) Life

The idea that the earliest forms of life arrived on Earth from elsewhere in the universe and then “took off” here, is not mine. It is not even new and some learned “savants” subscribe to it. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe once suggested that this kind of “seeding” still occurs and life on Earth has a cosmic ancestry. Irrespective of whether that’s the case, let’s examine which multicellular organisms, now present on Earth, could perhaps survive space travel. —>

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What Works in Space

And what does not work in space?

This week’s essay is an interesting one for me, because I had written this nearly 30 years ago and amazingly it still makes sense. So, in all these intervening years, hasn’t there been much progress or have I not kept up with developments? The latter may be one reason, but it is also true that by 1989, when this essay was written some basic and important knowledge was already there. And here it is (with some few minor pieces of information added). A former colleague of mine, Prof. Asashima, was one of the founders of the “Society of Space Biologists” in Japan. But what is space biology and what do space-biologists in contrast to exobiologists, who ponder about life on Mars, Ganymede and Europa moons, actually do? —>

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Star Gazers

When animals use celestial cues to navigate

In recent years there have been some spectacular astro-physical successes with the Cassini probe, the comet visit by Rosetta, the Pluto flyby etc. coming to mind. Successes, which were so fantastic that almost everyone must have heard of them. We do look at the stars and are fascinated by the world beyond our own. But animals, too, look at the heavens and see the stars, the sun and the moon – and many species actually make use of what they see up there. —>