Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mars ice water, early hydrocarbons and Venus Express

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 -When it comes to mysterious X-rays from Saturn, the ringed planet may act as a mirror, reflecting explosive activity from the Sun, according to scientists using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. See article.
g Abodes - New images taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft show a patch of water ice sitting on the floor of an unnamed crater near the Martian north pole. See article.
g Life - The stuff of burnt toast, auto emissions and life itself has been spotted in galaxies so far away they are seen at a time when our universe was just one-fourth its current age. The discovery of organic molecules, called hydrocarbons, shows that the raw materials for life were present long before our solar system formed. See article.
g Intelligence - Researchers have found that when adults are given "false memories" of getting sick from eating strawberry ice cream as a child, they may choose not to eat it as an adult. See article.
g Cosmicus - Venus Express, the first European space probe to investigate the planet Venus has completed the development, integration and test phase in Toulouse. EADS Astrium as prime contractor for European Space Agency is manufacturing Venus Express. See article.
g Learning - The White House dealt science another blow Tuesday: President Bush announced he backs the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. See article.
g Imagining - Like stories about alien anthropology and cultures? Scour your used bookstore for Michael Bishop’s "Transfigurations" (1979), which examines the deeply weird life cycle of the Asadi.
g Aftermath - Extraterrestrials might display either or both of two types of altruism: reciprocal altruism and nepotism. In reciprocal altruism, nice-ness is reciprocated with nice-ness, negativity with negativity. Reciprocal altruism is seen, for example, in chimpanzee grooming and food sharing. If Chimp A grooms Chimp B, Chimp A often gets a payback at dinner assuming no more than a couple hours has passed between personal hygiene and meal time. Even reciprocity has its limits such as those imposed by the constraints of memory. In nepotism, by contrast, altruism is extended to one's close relatives, not necessarily with the expectation of direct payback. Rather, by helping relatives, indirectly the altruist also benefits. By increasing the chances that relatives will survive to reproduce, the altruists genes also have an increased chance of being passed on to the next generation, simply because close relatives share a predictable percentage of genes, depending on how closely they are related. Nepotism may be even more common than reciprocal altruism in intelligence beyond Earth. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.

Get your SF book manuscript edited

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

No comments: