Sunday, June 05, 2005

Earth invades!, 'Active SETI' and robots in space exploration

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 – It was a day like any other for a nearby star named GJ 3685A - until it suddenly exploded with light. At 2 p.m., the detectors on NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer ultraviolet space telescope nearly overloaded when the star abruptly brightened by a factor of at least 10,000. After the excitement was over, astronomers realized that they had just recorded a giant star eruption, or flare, about a million times more energetic than those from our Sun. See article.
g Abodes – The dramatic and, in some cases, damaging environmental changes sweeping planet Earth are brought into sharp focus in a new atlas launched to mark World Environment Day. Produced by the United Nations Environment Programme. “One Planet Many People: Atlas of our Changing Environment” compares and contrasts spectacular satellite images of the past few decades with contemporary ones, some of which have never been seen before. See article.
g Life – Some hardy Earth microbes could survive long enough on Mars to complicate the search for alien life, according to a new study co-authored by University of Florida researchers. See article.
g Intelligence – According to a new study analyzing Billboard magazine's number one hits for the years 1955 to 2003, the connection between the country's collective mood and its taste in music may not be random. See article.
g Message – Recent discussions within the SETI community have thoroughly explored the issue of whether people with access to radio telescopes should send powerful signals to alien civilizations without some process of prior international consultation. In particular, those exchanges have focused on the question of "Active SETI." See article.
g Cosmicus – Crew cooperation will always be vital in any manned space exploration mission, even if some of those crewmembers aren’t human. With a current mandate to return human explorers to the moon no later than 2020, then push on to Mars, NASA researchers are developing better robots for the humans who will work alongside them on space missions. See article.
g Learning – Here’s an easy to understand (and attractive) primer to astrobiology, courtesy of the BBC.
g Imagining – England's Astronomer Royal says he believes aliens could exist, possibly as balloon-like creatures floating in dense atmospheres. See article.
g Aftermath – The next big discovery in science will be the proof that alien life exists — and it could come any day now. See article.

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