Saturday, June 18, 2005

Proplyds, distribution of life and METI vs. SETI

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 – Astronomers using the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, have confirmed that many of the objects termed "proplyds" found in the Orion Nebula do have sufficient material to form new planetary systems like our own. It now appears that these protoplanetary disks are quite tenacious, bringing new grounds for optimism in the search for planetary systems. See article.
g Abodes – Desertification threatens to drive millions of people from their homes in coming decades while vast dust storms can damage the health of people continents away, an international report said. See article.
g Life – How might scientists obtain preliminary insights into the question of the distribution of life in the universe? Is the universal evolution of intelligent behavior is just a matter of time and preservation of steady planetary conditions? See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Intelligence – Scientists know that our brains shrink with aging, but does less gray matter really matter? Apparently not, according to a new study of 446 people in Australia. See article.
g Message – There are two interconnected, inverse and direct, problems in concept of extraterrestrial intelligence – Search for ETI by terrestrial intelligence and Messages to ETI from terrestrial intelligence. The key element of SETI is the Object of search, namely Universe, where we hope to detect the ETI and then to decode theirs Messages, and so the essence of SETI is Space Science. In turn, the key element of METI is the intellectual Subject, who creates new messages for potential ETI and hope that They will detect and perceive these Messages, and so the essence of METI is Space Art. Of course, both SETI and METI have both scientific and art components, but it’s important to underline that dominant of SETI is Science, and dominant of METI is Art. Also, the Messages for ETI might content both terrestrial knowledge and art, however scientific objective laws, known to terrestrials probably similar to ETI one, in turn the terrestrial subjective Art is unique and definitely unknown to ETI. See article.
g Cosmicus – In early July, NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft will deploy a tiny impactor to smash into the nucleus of a small comet. The idea is to excavate a sizable crater and provide valuable insight into the true nature of comets. For skywatchers here on Earth, it should also produce a large cloud of ejected material that should cause the comet to significantly brighten enough to become visible with binoculars and perhaps even with the unaided eye. See article.
g Learning – Here’s a neat classroom activity: “Moons of Jupiter.” In this lesson plan, students build model rovers to learn about engineering and evidence of alien life. See article.
g Imagining – Are there any alternatives to DNA or RNA, as an “X-Files” episode said there was? See article.

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