Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Geomagnetic storm, Europa almost ready for life and oxygen generator on the fritz

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 – Forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., observed a geomagnetic storm on Sunday, which they classified as an extreme event, measuring G-5 - the highest level - on the NOAA Space Weather Scales. Possible impacts from such a geomagnetic storm include widespread power system voltage control problems; some grid systems may experience complete collapse or blackouts. Transformers may experience damage. Spacecraft operations may experience extensive surface charging; problems with orientation. See article.
g Abodes – A trio of unrelated studies show that while Jupiter's moon Europa should have the ingredients necessary for life, finding any bugs on the icy moon would be difficult because its watery ocean lies beneath an impenetrable, frozen shell that is several miles deep. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Life – At a recent meeting of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, molecular evolutionist Mitch Sogin explained why his research focuses not on plants and animals, but rather on microbial life. See article.
g Intelligence – Man's evolutionary tree is not a single, continuous line along time, as many people think. Scientists have evidence that there were many "dead end" branches, with hominid species, which died out without leaving descendants. It is very difficult to determine our direct evolutionary line, and there are still several missing links, not to mention that sometimes there is discordance among scientists about what constitutes the best guess. See article.
g Message – We probably already have the technology to find evidence of extraterrestrial life forms and to even send out evidence of our own. If we don't have this capability yet, we certainly will have achieved it within 15 years. See article. Note: This article is from 1998.
g Cosmicus – A balky Russian oxygen generator broke down on the International Space Station, but its two-man crew has a reserve air supply that would last about five months, NASA officials said. See article.
g Learning – The Kansas school board's hearings on evolution weren't limited to how the theory should be taught in public schools. The board is considering redefining science itself. Advocates of "intelligent design" are pushing the board to reject a definition limiting science to natural explanations for what's observed in the world. See article.
g Imagining – Here’s a neat Web site that examines the life cycle of the Alien — the extraterrestrial from said movie. It’s a little light on evolutionary speculation and discussing plausibility, but the life cycle is thoroughly described.
g Aftermath – How would humans react the day after ET landed? A nationwide survey by the Roper Organization in 1999 found that the following: “...one out of four Americans think most people would “totally freak out and panic” if such evidence were confirmed. See article.

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