Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Searching for habstars, waiting for another Einstein and identifying lunar outpost sites

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 – Maggie Turnbull, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution, has spent many years thinking about what kind of stars could harbor Earth-like planets. Her database of potentially habitable star systems could be used as a target list for NASA's forthcoming Terrestrial Planet Finder mission. Turnbull presented a talk, "Remote Sensing of Life and Habitable Worlds: Habstars, Earthshine and TPF," at a NASA Forum for Astrobiology Research on March 14. This edited transcript of the lecture is part two of a four-part series. See article.
g Life – University of Colorado scientists have found bacteria that live in the rocks of a hot, acidic environment in Yellowstone National Park. Such extremophiles – organisms that can tough it out at sub-zero temperatures or with little water – are the cat’s meow to astrobiologists, who want to determine the origin of life here on Earth, as well as estimate good spots to look for life elsewhere. See article.
g Intelligence – Will there ever be another Einstein? This is the undercurrent of conversation at Einstein memorial meetings throughout the year. A new Einstein will emerge, scientists say. But it may take a long time. After all, more than 200 years separated Einstein from his nearest rival, Isaac Newton. See article.
g Message – Is it even ethical for us to contact alien life? See article. Note: This article is a few years old.
g Cosmicus – An illuminated part of a lunar crater rim may be very close to the Moon's North pole and is a candidate for a peak of eternal sunlight. Such places could be key locations for future lunar outposts. The European Space Agency's SMART missions — Small Missions for Advanced Research and Technology — are designed to test new spacecraft technology and propulsion while visiting various places in the solar system. See article.
g Learning – Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: “Mountain Quest.” Students divide into five research teams to make recommendations for building a new observatory for NASA. See article.
g Imagining – Speculation about aliens has typically been left to science fiction authors, science fiction readers and Hollywood writers and directors. But what if we apply what we have learned about life on Earth to speculate about what alien life forms might be like? Here’s a primer.
g Aftermath – Here’s an intriguing read: the final report of “The Workshop on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology". Note: The workshop was held in 1999.

Read this blogger’s books

No comments: