Slashdot: Encyclopedia of Life opened up to the public today with its first 30,000 pages in place — and, according to the AP, promptly crumbled even before being Slashdotted. (The site seems fine now.) We discussed this project last year when it was announced. The Telegraph has an overview of the launch, and reports that only 25 “exemplar” pages on the site are fully fleshed out to the extent scientists hope eventually to attain for all species; the other few tens of thousands are expanded placeholders. The project hopes to begin taking input from citizen-scientists late this year.
Matt clues us in to a project to compile everything known about all of Earth’s 1.8 million known species and put it all on one Web site, open to the world. The effort is called the Encyclopedia of Life. It will include species descriptions, pictures, maps, videos, sound, sightings by amateurs, and links to entire genomes and scientific journal papers. The site was unveiled today in Washington where the massive effort was announced by some of the world’s leading institutions. The project is expected to take about 10 years to complete; it starts out with committed funding for 1/4 of that.”
“With the financial help of NASA, American and European researchers have developed a new sensor to check for life on Mars. It should also be able to determine if traces of life’s molecular building blocks have been produced by anything that was once alive. The device has been tested in the Atacama Desert in Chile. It should be part of the science payload for the ExoMars rover planned for launch in 2013.”
“LiveScience is reporting on what appears to be the first digital simulation of an entire life form. Researchers created more than a million digital atoms to reverse engineer the satellite tobacco mosaic virus, a relatively simple organism. But is it really a life form? From the article: ‘Viruses are tiny bundles of protein and genetic material that straddle the line between life and non-life. Many scientists prefer to call them “particles” because even though they contain RNA or DNA like other lifeforms, they can only replicate inside other living cells.'”
The HRSC on ESA’s Mars Express obtained this perspective view on 2 February 2005 during orbit 1343 with a ground resolution of approximately 15 metres per pixel.
It shows an unnamed impact crater located on Vastitas Borealis, a broad plain that covers much of Mars’s far northern latitudes, at approximately 70.5Â° North and 103Â° East.
The crater is 35 kilometres wide and has a maximum depth of approximately 2 kilometres beneath the crater rim. The circular patch of bright material located at the centre of the crater is residual water ice.
The colours are very close to natural, but the vertical relief is exaggerated three times. The view is looking east.
Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)