Saturday, April 16, 2005

Domino solar eruptions, moon base and life in extreme gravity

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 – A detailed study of a huge solar eruption reveals that a series of smaller explosions combined in a domino effect to fuel the blast. See article.
g Abodes – When astronomers discovered that the planets around Upsilon Andromedae had very strange orbits, they weren't sure what could have caused it. Researchers from Berkeley and Northwestern have developed a simulation that shows how an additional planet could have given the other planets the orbital kick they needed to explain their current eccentricities. If a similar planet had passed through our own Solar System early on, all our planets could be in wildly different orbits around the Sun. See article.
g Life – One million years ago, elephants and their cousins roamed the five major continents of the earth. Then humans came along. Today elephants can be found only in portions of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. There is a long-running debate over what drove elephants to extinction in some parts of the world and completely wiped other two other proboscideans, mammoths and mastodons. The two most argued hypotheses for their decline are climatic changes and over-hunting by humans. A recent archaeological expedition dug up information that may support the latter. See article.
g Intelligence – Hold the rose-colored glasses: Toddlers understand much more about false beliefs than parents and scientists previously suspected. A Canada-U.S. research team has discovered that very young children absolutely comprehend that other people believe things that aren't true. See article.
g Message – Does ETI use snail mail? See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus – Researchers have identified what may be the perfect place for a Moon base, a crater rim near the lunar north pole that's in near-constant sunlight yet not far from suspected stores of water ice. See article.
g Learning – Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: Sun’s Impact on Earth Temperature. In this lesson, students manipulate graphical computer models to determine the effect of distance, albedo and greenhouse effectiveness on planet temperature. See article.
g Imagining – Could extraterrestrials exist in conditions of extreme gravity, as they do in Hal Celement’s “A Mission of Gravity”?
g Aftermath – How will major world religions be affected by the reception ofradio transmissions from an extraterrestrial intelligence? Here’s an interesting project that posits some possible scenarios.

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