Thursday, March 24, 2005

First light captured from extrasolar planets, a Mars landing site and dracogenetics

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Stars – What do you get when you turn the temperature up to a trillion degrees? Physicists claim that at this temperature nuclear material melts into an exotic form of matter called quark-gluon plasma – which is thought to have been the state of the universe a microsecond after the Big Bang. See article.
g Abodes – Most of the 150 known extrasolar planets were discovered and studied through techniques such as finding the telltale wobble of a star tugged by an orbiting planet, or the blink of a star as a planet passes in front of it. Now for the first time scientists have observed an extrasolar planet through the light it emits in the infrared. See article. For related stories, see: “Light detected from two planets outside solar system"; “First detection of light from extrasolar planets”; “Glow of alien planets detected in ‘milestone’ observations”; and “First light captured from extrasolar planets”.
g Life – A group of scientists have identified habitats and microbial life using a robotic rover in Chile's arid Atacama desert, one of the harshest environments on Earth. Their findings may bode well for future missions to Mars. See article.
g Intelligence – New research into how the brain controls movement reveals a location of thoughts that determine what you will do. See article.
g Message – Aliens will be glad to know that if ever they need to find an apartment here on Earth, someone has got them covered. On March 11 at 6:30pm, a company called Deep Space Communications Network beamed the first commercial transmission of a Web site into space. See article.
g Cosmicus – What role will the President's Commission on the Moon, Mars and Beyond play in humanity’s drive to seek a future in space? Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of the PBS/NOVA Series "Origins,” discusses the topic.
g Learning – Here’s a neat classroom activity: Gather observations and data to generate a model that illustrates a landing site on Mars. The activity is for grades 5-12.
g Imagining – Could the legendary dragons of Pern from Anne McCaffrey’s famous science fiction novels actually exist? Welcome to the theoretical science of dracogenetics. See article.
g Aftermath – How would believers in the Muslim faith generally react to an announcement that we’ve made contact with an extraterrestrial civilization? See article.

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