Do we come in peace? I dunno anymore…

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This is why you read the Dose, after all — cutting edge info on the search for extra-solar life. This is from friend-of-blog Steve, who’s in charge of figuring out which asteroids are dense enough to be blown up, Armaggedon style.

MEDIA ADVISORY: M08-058

HUBBLE DETECTS ORGANIC MOLECULE ON AN EXTRASOLAR PLANET

WASHINGTON – NASA will hold a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 19, to report on the first-ever detection of the organic molecule methane in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a distant star.

Though the planet is too hot to support life as we know it, the finding demonstrates the ability to detect organic molecules spectroscopically around Earth-like planets in habitable zones around stars.

Briefing participants are:
-Dr. Mark Swain, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
-Dr. Sara Seager, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

This unique discovery, made with Hubble’s Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), will be featured in the March 20 issue of the journal Nature.

To participate in the teleconference, reporters must contact Ray Villard at 410-338-4514 or Cheryl Gundy at 410-338-4707 at the Space Telescope Science Institute by noon on March 19 for the call-in number and passcode. At the start of the briefing, images and supporting graphics will be posted on the Web at:

http://hubblesite.org/news/2008/11

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on NASA’s Web site at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

For more information about NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on the Web, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

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