Monday, May 30, 2005

Bringing rocks to Earth, Eel City and advocating an immediate response

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 – Observations by two of the world's largest telescopes provide strong evidence that a peculiar type of exploding star may be the origin of elusive gamma-ray bursts that have puzzled scientists for more than 30 years. See article.
g Abodes – How important would it be to have a Martian sample to pass around to the worlds' best laboratories, much the way that researchers share meteors and moon rocks today? According to Dr. Michael Carr, the stepwise goal of returning an interesting rock from Mars will hinge on mobility and robotics first. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Life – An international team of scientists has discovered an active underwater volcano near the Samoan Island chain about 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii. Researchers explored the unique biological community surrounding the eruption site, and were amazed to find an “Eel City,” a community of hundreds of eels. Much of the volcano is covered with yellow “fluff,” microbial aggregations that are produced by microscopic life feeding on chemical energy from the volcano's hydrothermal system. See article.
g Intelligence – Johns Hopkins researchers have identified the proteins that allow specific brain cells to "change channels," a rare ability that tweaks what can come into the cell. See article.
g Message – After its long voyage from Earth across the vast stretches of interstellar space, the space ship finally lands on a planet with an environment compatible with human life. The human space voyagers descend from their ship and encounter a race of intelligent beings native to the planet. Communication is soon established between the two groups, human and alien, of intelligent beings. So might begin a story in the contemporary science fiction genre. Such stories might not seem to have much to do with the question of the nature of language, but there is one aspect of the story that merits our attention, namely, the fact that communication is established. That in itself is remarkable. In real life humans have never succeeded in establishing communication with any other species, at least not in establishing communication in the same way as they do with alien beings in many science fiction stories. In such stories it is often possible to communicate with the aliens as effectively as with a human group who speak another language. Are we to say, then, that these alien beings have language? See article.
g Cosmicus – Earlier this month, examined the top 10 imaginations at work in a swiftly changing space industry. They are the entrepreneurs, policy makers, and visionaries helping to push innovation and technology to new heights, as well as the scientists who remind us of the hopes, dreams and ambitions that the cosmos could fulfill. See article.
g Learning – As the Millennium Force climbed to the peak of its first hill, 20 students took a deep breath and braced themselves for a high-speed plunge toward the ground. The ride began its descent, and they rose unwillingly from their seats only to be caught by the lap bars just in time. The Millennium Force is a 310-foot-tall roller coaster at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. And the sensation the students felt as the coaster plummeted down its famous first hill was similar to what astronauts feel as the Space Shuttle orbits the Earth. See article.
g Imagining – There are no glowing fingers or Reese’s Pieces in National Geographic’s alien-filled special ‘Extraterrestrial,’ but the message is clear: Earth is not that special when it comes to developing life. National Geographic’s ‘Extraterrestrial’ will appear on the National Geographic Channel today from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. CT. See article.
g Aftermath – Donald E. Tarter, a consultant in space policy and technology assessment, makes a persuasive case for developing the protocols and technology to reply to an extraterrestrial signal before news of the discovery is made public, in his article, “Advocating an Immediate Response”. Delay could be costly as technologically advanced fringe groups or ambitious nations could attempt to score a propaganda victory by being the first to reply, creating a mixed and perhaps embarrassing first message. This could be avoided by settling on a quick and simple message to let the extraterrestrial source know that we had received their message. Note: This report is from 1996.

Read this blogger’s books

No comments: