Friday, September 02, 2005

Astrochemistry, breaking the cosmic speed limit and ‘Social Implications of the Detection of Extraterrestrial Civilizations’

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 -The Gemini Observatory has released a pair of images that capture the dynamics of two very different interactions in space. One is a cold, dark dust cloud that resembles an ethereal-looking Chinese dragon. The other shows a distant duo of galaxies locked in a knot-like embrace that could portend the long-term future of our own Milky Way galaxy. See article.
g Abodes - Saturn's tiny icy moon Enceladus, which ought to be cold and dead, instead displays evidence for active ice volcanism. See article.
g Life - What is the relationship between astrochemistry and astrobiology, and how does this affect the viability of the SETI program? See article.
g Message - Project Argus, The SETI League's key technical initiative, has been called the most ambitious microwave SETI project ever undertaken without government equipment or funding. When fully operational, it will provide, for the first time ever, continuous monitoring of the entire sky, in all directions in real time. For more, see article.
g Cosmicus - Researchers in Switzerland have succeeded in breaking the cosmic speed limit by getting light to go faster than, well, light. See article.
g Learning - An outstanding analysis of the political motivations behind the intelligent design movement appeared in Sunday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “There's intelligent design at work here all right,” the columnist noted. “It is made up of electoral algebra and the chemistry of politics.” See editorial.
g Imagining - Here’s an interesting critical examination of science fiction aliens that’s worth reading: Chapter 1, "Aliens and Alien Worlds," of John J. Pierce’s “Great Themes of Science Fiction (1987).
g Aftermath - Book alert: What happens if SETI succeeds? Several dozen experts from the fields of sociology, technology and education consider the social consequences of finding a signal in “Social Implications of the Detection of Extraterrestrial Civilizations,” by John Billingham, Roger Heyns, David Milne and Seth Shostak (editors). Based on workshops held in 1991 and 1992, this is the definitive opus on the likely impact of an extraterrestrial signal. Don't believe all you see on TV, nor what you read in the chat groups: here is reasoned prognostication on what could be the biggest event in human history. See reviews.

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