WASHINGTON, March 21 - Weird gases from outer space arrived on Earth during a dinosaur-killing asteroid strike 65 million years ago, and survive in molecular cages called buckyballs, researchers reported on Tuesday. Buckyballs, lacy-looking molecules made up of carbon atoms, are also known as fullerenes and are named in honor of Buckminster Fuller because they are shaped like the geodesic dome he invented. <…> "They're enriched helium 3," Bunch said. "We know by the helium signature that it was formed probably outside the solar system … they've trapped them inside (the buckyballs) at the site of formation." This weird helium shows, as no other evidence has, that buckyballs can transport extraterrestrial gases without letting them escape on the way. Future research may focus on other gases that might have come to Earth in this fashion. This research also supports the theory that gases that make up Earth's atmosphere and organic compounds came to Earth's surface during the so-called age of bombardment, some 3.8 billion to 4.5 billion years ago, when "asteroids were running wild in their orbits," as Bunch put it. <…> "Most of the carbon in our bodies came from outside the solar system," Bunch said. "We're all aliens."
Pretty cool stuff, kinda feeds the ‘where did life originate’ meme.
[Wired] In the new issue that came Saturday there is an article in which Bill Joy (über-geek, Sun Computer, wrote the vi text editor) talks about the future of nanotechnology and ‘intelligent machines’ and expresses his views on the necessity of the human race in the near future. Great article, I highly recommend it. A version of this story had surfaced on the 12th as ‘Bill Joy on the Extinction of Humans‘ at The Washington Post.