Sunday, July 10, 2005

Deep Impact’s findings, origins missions and ‘A Case of Conscience’

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 - Data from Deep Impact's instruments indicate an immense cloud of fine powdery material was released when the probe slammed into the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 at 6.3 miles per second. The cloud indicated the comet is covered in the powdery stuff. The findings give insights into the formation of our solar system. See article. For related story, see “History's Greatest Comet Hunter Approaches Major Milestone”.
g Abodes - A team of scientists from the University of Glasgow have developed a method they believe will help detect evidence of life in ancient rocks - perhaps even helping uncover if there's life on Mars. With their technique, rocks are crushed to release tiny amounts of liquid water, and then special detectors are used to search for the presence of biomolecules in the water. Once the technique has been proven to work, the researchers believe it could be miniaturized and flown aboard future Mars landers. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Life - Researchers have reported new information about how certain bacteria propel themselves from one place to another. Insight into bacterial micro-movement will benefit scientists and engineers developing nano-scale mechanical devices that may one day push fluids and transport molecules without the aid of pumps or electrical charges. See article.
g Intelligence - New research has found that women report more pain throughout their lifetime. Compared to men, women feel pain in more areas of their body and for longer durations. See article.
g Message - Origins missions are designed to observe the birth of the earliest galaxies and the formation of stars, to find all the planetary systems in our solar neighborhood, to find planets that are capable of harboring life and to learn to what extent life exists beyond our solar system. We do this to understand the origins of our world. We do this to answer two questions: Where did we come from? Are we alone? See article.
g Cosmicus - NASA has issued a formal request for expressions of interest by non-NASA organizations, including commercial space companies, for use of the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity: “Alien Volcanoes.” These lesson plans examine how volcanoes work and Jupiter’s moon Io. See article.
g Imagining - Like stories about alien anthropology and cultures? Then be sure to read James Blish’s classic novel “A Case of Conscience” (1958), in which he explores if original sin exists among the Lithians. See article.
g Aftermath - Add one more worry to the computerized world of the 21st century. Could a signal from the stars broadcast by an alien intelligence also carry harmful information, in the spirit of a computer virus? Could star folk launch a "disinformation" campaign -- one that covers up aspects of their culture? Perhaps they might even mask the "real" intent of dispatching a message to other civilizations scattered throughout the Cosmos. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.

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