Friday, September 23, 2005

Life on Titan, astroecology and ‘Magnificent Desolation’

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 - Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have identified the source of a mysterious blue light surrounding a supermassive black hole in our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy. Though the light has puzzled astronomers for more than a decade, the new discovery makes the story even more mysterious. See article.
g Abodes - Recent findings from NASA's Cassini spacecraft and new discoveries about organisms here on Earth that thrive in extreme conditions are causing scientists to rethink the possibility that there may be life on Saturn's cloudy moon Titan. See article.
g Life - One subfield of astrobiology is astroecology, studies of interactions of microorganisms and plants with planetary materials in meteorites. The results are important in relation to the origins of life, terraforming and the cosmological future of life in space. See primer.
g Intelligence - The short-term memory problems that accompany normal aging are associated with an inability to filter out surrounding distractions, not problems with focusing attention, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. See article.
g Message - Modern Exobiology and Astrobiology studies now being sponsored by NASA, with participation by other nations and academia, are doing more than just ponder the probabilities of extraterrestrial life. Technological and human resources are being invested in remote-sensing efforts like the Terrestrial Planet Finder and robotic probe missions to search, in-situ, for clear signs of ET life on Mars, Europa and other promising solar system bodies. To further enhance and broaden the search for ETI, it’s now time to invest in methods, such as SETV, which search for clear evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence locally to aid in proving we are not alone in the universe. See article.
g Cosmicus - According to the Vision for Space Exploration, NASA plans to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2020 and, eventually, to set up an outpost. For people to live and work on the Moon safely, the radiation problem must be solved. See article.
g Learning - “Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon in 3D” is a stunning look at what it must have been like for the 12 NASA astronauts who traversed across the lunar surface during the six Apollo landings. Borrowing its title from words spoken by astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin – the second person to walk on the Moon – the IMAX film follows the landings, Moonwalks and thoughts of those few explorers that made the trip. See article.
g Imagining - Could the Pak of Larry Niven's Ringworld universe possibly evolve? They've got a homepage to discuss that and other questions about the intriguing fiction alien race. See article.
g Aftermath - The next big discovery in science will be the proof that alien life exists — and it could come any day now. See article.

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