Saturday, September 17, 2005

Asteroid is mini-planet, diverse sauropods and relating to alien species

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 - New observations of a young star and its surroundings are like a snapshot of our own solar system when it was forming, astronomers have announced. See article.
g Abodes - Observations of 1 Ceres, the largest known asteroid, have revealed that the object may be a "mini planet," and may contain large amounts of pure water ice beneath its surface. See article. For related stories, see “Evidence says some comets may have become asteroids" and “NASA Research Finds Green Sand Crystals Are in Comet Tempel 1”.
g Life - With their long necks and tails, sauropod dinosaurs - famous as the Sinclair gasoline logo and Fred Flintstone's gravel pit tractor - are easy to recognize, in part because they all seem to look alike. The largest animals known to have walked the earth, sauropods were common in North America during the middle of the dinosaur era but were thought to have been pushed to extinction by more specialized plant-eaters at the end of that era. New discoveries, however, are showing that one lineage of sauropods diversified at the end of the dinosaur era, University of Michigan paleontologist Jeffrey Wilson says. See article.
g Intelligence - Human evolution, Chicago researchers report, is still under way, in what has become our most important organ: the brain. In two related papers published in Science, they show that two genes linked to brain size are rapidly evolving in humans. The researchers looked at variations of microcephalin and ASPM within modern humans, and found for each gene one class of variants has arisen recently and has been spreading rapidly because it is favored by selection. See article.
g Message - SETI researchers have long had to beg time on instruments built for conventional radio astronomy. Now they're building one of their own. See article.
g Cosmicus - The Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity are the Energizer Bunnies of planetary exploration. Designed to last for only 90 days, they are still going strong after nearly two years. Their journeys on Mars have provided exquisite detail of the planet's surface, proving definitively that liquid water once existed on this now arid world. Steve Squyres, the Principal Investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover project, has now published a book about what it took to get to Mars. See article.
g Learning - Young children can perform certain kinds of math operations before ever receiving any kind formal math training, a new study reports. See article.
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies/environments? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for Sheri Tepper’s “Grass” (1979), in which the complex ecology of a savannah world nets humans in parasitic parody of foxhunting.
g Aftermath Could humanity ever relate to an alien species? Consider the questioning context of these online speculations about why "Star Trek is human centered?" The latter is an interesting question, possibly creating a situation dealing with a prejudice on the behalf of the writers and producers. However, would a series completely dedicated to another species, such as the Romulans, be successful in a television market? Is it possible that the reasons it wouldn’t be might indicate humanity may care little about an alien species other than as a potential threat? See article.

Get your SF book manuscript edited

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

No comments: