Saturday, April 09, 2005

Helium-rich stars, oldest piece of Earth and extinct alien races

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 team of astronomers has made a surprising discovery about the stars in the giant southern globular cluster Omega Centauri: They’re helium-rich. See article.
g Abodes – A tiny speck of zircon crystal that is barely visible to the eye is believed to be the oldest known piece of Earth at about 4.4 billion years old. See article.
g Life – Scientists attempting to map the wild origins of the domesticated pig found that the wild boar was domesticated several times in different parts of Europe and Asia. See article.
g Intelligence – Laws and public policy often will miss their mark until they incorporate an understanding of why, biologically, humans behave as they do, scholars from Vanderbilt and Yale universities argue in the March issue of Columbia Law Review. See article.
g Message – Here’s a neat interactive Web game where you analyze a signal from space, just as would a SETI astronomer.
g Cosmicus – Japan's space agency mapped out a new, ambitious plan Wednesday for manned flights to the moon by 2025 as a first step to explore the solar system's far-flung planets, but said decisions about whether Japan will go it alone or collaborate with other nations won't be made for another decade. See article.
g Learning – Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: “Changing Faces”. Students examine images of the Sun and planets to determine their rotation rates.
g Imagining – Book alert: Those interested in how our imagined extraterrestrial societies should be based in science ought to read “Aliens and Alien Societies (Science Fiction Writing Series), by Stanley Schmidt. While designed for science fiction writers using science fiction examples, your strange races in fantasy will be more convincing if you absorb this valuable treatise on the analysis of where non-human creatures may go if they develop intelligence and culture. The book also covers the technology for space flight and provides "A Xenologist's Bookshelf" of reference for further study. See reviews.
g Aftermath – How might explorers determine what happened to an extinct alien race based on the clues they left behind on their home planet? See article.

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