Thursday, June 23, 2005

Silicate stardust, alien message in DNA and planetary protection

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 – For the first time, scientists have identified and analyzed single grains of silicate stardust in the laboratory. How they collected and analyzed the dust grains, provides a new way to study the history of the universe. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Abodes – The most exciting idea for finding liquid water on Mars may in fact be - boring. Deep drilling on the Red Planet offers both geological and biological promise, both in the search for evidence of life, as well as sustaining future human explorers of the planet. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Life – The moa, a large extinct bird from New Zealand, apparently had a decade-long adolescence. This is unheard of in birds, but it may help explain how early hunters were able to wipe out the giant birds. See article.
g Intelligence – New research has shown that the manipulation of a single gene in female fruit flies can make their sexual behavior resemble that of males, in a study that demonstrates the power of individual genes and the profound impact of genetics on complex sexual behavior. See article.
g Message – Forget waiting for ET to call — the most likely place to find an alien message is in our DNA, according to an expert in Australia. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus – The Arizona Board of Regents has approved the creation of a center for the study of astrobiology at The University of Arizona. The center, called the Life and Planets Astrobiology Center, will bring more campus researchers from various fields together to study the existence of life elsewhere in the universe. See article.
g Learning – “Teacher, why do I need to learn this?" "What’s it good for?" Students ask these questions when faced with content that seems unrelated to their lives. Motivating students is fundamental to promoting achievement in any classroom, even in science, which encompasses the entire natural world, the whole universe. Good questions and quality experiences support science learning for all students, not just those who are already science-friendly. The relatively new discipline of astrobiology asks great questions, however. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Imagining – There is a tendency for science fiction authors to and toes, two ears, two eyes and a nose, anthropomorphize - that is, to imagine that aliens are going to look and act in exactly the same way as humans would. But why would they? Aside from the broadest of physical and behavioral characteristics, aliens are not likely to be very similar to us. See article.
g Aftermath – In order to retrieve samples from another place in the solar system that might harbor life, careful planning is required to ensure that mission designs incorporate measures to safeguard both the Earth and other solar system bodies from cross contamination. These measures, collectively known as planetary protection measures, are actually tied to international law. See article. Note: This article is from 1999.

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