Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pristine supernova grains, the Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts and growing flowers on the Moon

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 - NASA and University of Arizona researchers have found pristine mineral grains that formed in an ancient supernova explosion. See article.
g Abodes - A researcher at Yale's Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale has mapped the first detailed history of atmospheric carbon dioxide between 45 million and 25 million years ago based on stable isotopes of carbon in a National Science Foundation study reported in Science Express. See article.
g Life - Japanese scientists say that DNA tests have shown that the prehistoric woolly mammoth is more closely related to Asian elephants than to their African counterparts, settling a long-running debate over the lineage of the giant animals that went extinct 10,000 years ago. See article.
g Intelligence - The human brain struggles to simultaneously look and listen, a new study suggests. See article.
g Message - The Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts, or SETA, is about delineating between the artificial and the real. In the case of radio detection from other stellar systems, the artificial is what is labeled the real signal that intelligent communications are on-air. See article. Note: This article is a couple of years old.
g Cosmicus - Bernard Foing, project scientist for the lunar satellite SMART-1, discusses the steps we need to take to develop bases on the Moon. Growing flowers is one step towards making the lunar desert an oasis for human life. See article.
g Learning - How are key concepts of astrobiology treated in science fiction? See article. Note: This article is from 2001 and intended to be used as part of a classroom lesson.
g Imagining - Book alert: “Intelligent Life in the Universe,” by Peter Ulmschneider, concentrates on planet formation and the characteristics needed for the development of life, the timetable of evolution, and the effects on our planet and others of life becoming intelligent. A lecturer could build an intriguing general science module around this book. New in this book is the argument that, by thinking carefully about the future development of mankind, one can gain insight into the nature of extraterrestrial civilizations. It’s an interesting book for what concerns the scientific chapters, and also the speculative part will definitely interest a great number of readers. See reviews.
g Aftermath - As we look toward exploring other worlds, and perhaps even bringing samples back to Earth for testing, astrobiologists have to wonder: could there be alien pathogens in those samples that will wreak havoc on our world? See article. Note: This article is from 2003.

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