Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Planetary construction zone, Innovation Triangle Initiative and alien feelings

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 – Interstellar travelers might want to detour around the star system TW Hydrae to avoid a messy planetary construction site. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astronomers have discovered that the gaseous protoplanetary disk surrounding TW Hydrae holds vast swaths of pebbles extending outward for at least 1 billion miles. These rocky chunks should continue to grow in size as they collide and stick together until they eventually form planets. See article.
g Abodes – Does life exist on other planets? An atmosphere rich in oxygen is the most likely source of energy for complex life to exist anywhere in the universe. See article.
g Life – From feathered carnivores that resemble T. rex to amazing four-winged flyers, paleontologists have built a case for birds descending from dinosaurs. See article.
g Intelligence – The ability to take in visual cues and basically fill in the blanks allows humans to process information very quickly, but new research shows that it also can lead to misperceptions – like seeing things that are not there. See article.
g Message – Looking for life elsewhere is a tough task for human or robot. The good news is that the scientific skill and tools to search for, detect and inspect extraterrestrial life are advancing rapidly. See article.
g Cosmicus – Drilling holes on other planets and inventing novel textiles to secure large structures in space are just two of the 27 challenges that expert teams have been working on in the first year of ESA’s Innovation Triangle Initiative. See article.
g Learning – What is an astrobiologist, and can you become one? See article.
g Imagining – While science fiction can prove remarkably accurate on technological development, it falls well short of reality when it comes to biology and behavior. Many of the bug-eyed monsters we see depicted in movies, books and comics are not only very unlikely but also completely unfeasible. And aliens all too often are charmingly naive about such things as violence and love. See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Aftermath – A 1998 report by the National Research Council Space Studies Board Task Group on Sample Return from Small Solar System Bodies assesses the potential for a living entity to be present in or on samples returned from small solar system bodies such as planetary satellites, asteroids and comets. See article.

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