Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Pre-biotic Earth, zoo hypothesis and the spaceflight movement

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 - Using the Very Large Telescope in Chile, UC Berkeley and Paris Observatory astronomers have obtained images of the first triple asteroid system: two moonlets orbiting one of the largest of the main-belt asteroids, Sylvia. A detailed chart of their orbits yields a density for Sylvia, indicating it is a "rubble pile" asteroid probably disrupted by impact long ago and gravitationally re-accreted - except for the two large moons. See article.
g Abodes - In order to attempt to understand how life started billions of years ago, we need to first look at what scientists believe to be the conditions of our pre-biotic Earth. See article.
g Life - A team of researchers working with colleagues from the Botswana National Museum shed new light on the questions of when cattle were brought to southern Africa and from where. A domestic cow bone, dated to about 2000 years ago was excavated from a site at Toteng, located in the Kalahari Desert of northern Botswana. See article.
g Intelligence - New information implies that early humans evolved and altered their diet according to seasonal and other changes in order to survive. See article.
g Message - What is the “zoo hypothesis”? See first article; second article; and third article.
g Cosmicus - The aim of the spaceflight movement - exploration and colonization of the universe - is so vast and revolutionary that it cannot be achieved by the ordinary operation of day-to-day social forces and institutions. Consequently, we must be prepared to think in imaginative ways if we are to understand how this "giant step" in human history may come about. See article.
g Learning - Digitalis Education Solutions has published 12 astronomy lesson plans for use with kindergarten through 12th grade students. Lessons are aligned with the National Science Education Standards and cover a variety of topics, including moon phases, solstices, equinoxes and debunking astrology. See article.
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies/environments? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for any of these fine novels by James White: “Hospital Station” (1962), “Star Surgeon” (1963), “Ambulance Ship” (1979), “Sector General” (1983) and “Code Blue–Emergency” (1987).
g Aftermath - Donald E. Tarter, a consultant in space policy and technology assessment, makes a persuasive case for developing the protocols and technology to reply to an extraterrestrial signal before news of the discovery is made public, in his article, “Advocating an Immediate Response.” Delay could be costly as technologically advanced fringe groups or ambitious nations could attempt to score a propaganda victory by being the first to reply, creating a mixed and perhaps embarrassing first message. This could be avoided by settling on a quick and simple message to let the extraterrestrial source know that we had received their message. See article. Note: This report is from 1996.

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