Saturday, September 10, 2005

Beginning of the universe, first four-legged land animal and the day after ET lands

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 - Scientists at MIT’s Haystack Observatory have made the first radio detection of deuterium, an atom that is key to understanding the beginning of the universe. The findings are being reported in an article in the Sept. 1 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters. See article.
g Abodes - Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research have created a computer simulation showing Earth's climate in unprecedented detail at the time of the greatest mass extinction in the planet's history. The work gives support to a theory that an abrupt and dramatic rise in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide triggered the massive die-off 251 million years ago. The research appears in the September issue of Geology. See article.
g Life - A reconstruction of the skeleton of the first four-legged land animal suggests that it didn’t move too nimbly on land – it either shuffled along or crept like an inchworm. See article.
g Intelligence - Scientists have deciphered the DNA of the chimpanzee, the closest living relative of humankind, and made comprehensive comparisons with the human genetic blueprint. It's a step toward finding a biological answer to a key question: What makes us human? See article.
g Message - Who is SETI advocate Edna Devore? See article.
g Cosmicus - What is NASA’s roadmap regarding astrobiology? See an outline of its principles, goals and objectives, finalized in September 2003.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: “Planets in a Bottle.” The lesson plan involves yeast experiments intended for 2nd through 4th grade students. See lesson.
g Imagining - Book alert: Here’s a neat book, for children 9 and up, which examines “What will they look like?” “Extraterrestrials: A Field Guide for Earthlings,” by Terence Dickinson and Adolf Schaller, is a wonderfully illustrated book for "earthlings" who want to explore beyond the cardboard aliens of television science fiction to find out what science says about our cosmic cousins from other planet — if they exist. See article.
g Aftermath - How would humans react the day after ET landed? A nationwide survey by the Roper Organization in 1999 found that the following: “ out of four Americans think most people would “totally freak out and panic” if such evidence were confirmed. See article.

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