Thursday, October 06, 2005

Europa on short list, Mega-Channel Extraterrestrial Assay and space tourism

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 - Jessica Sunshine is the Deep Impact mission scientist responsible for the onboard infrared spectrometer. In a two-part interview, she discusses what the comet's nucleus looked like before and after impact, and explains why it's so difficult to piece together the spectroscopic data. For Part I, click here.
g Abodes - The discovery that Jupiter's moon Europa most likely has a cold, salty ocean beneath its frozen icy crust has put Europa on the short list of objects in our solar system that astrobiologists would like to study further. See article.
g Life - Book alert: Be sure to scour your used book store shelves for “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle.” This wide-ranging and detailed book explores the many ramifications of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, covering the whole spectrum of human inquiry from Aristotle to Z bosons. Bringing a unique combination of skills and knowledge to the subject, John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler — two of the world's leading cosmologists — cover the definition and nature of life, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and the interpretation of the quantum theory in relation to the existence of observers. The book will be of vital interest to philosophers, theologians, mathematicians, scientists, and historians, as well as to anyone concerned with the connection between the vastness of the universe of stars and galaxies and the existence of life within it on a small planet out in the suburbs of the Milky Way. See reviews.
g Intelligence - A USC study found the first evidence of brain abnormalities - specifically in the prefrontal cortex - in pathological liars. While more research is needed, the findings indicate a neurobiological basis for habitual lying. See article.
g Message - SETI research isn’t limited to a single facility listening to radio signals. Another dimension of the program is The Mega-Channel Extraterrestrial Assay, which searched the Southern Hemisphere's skies briefly during the 1990s. To learn more about it, see article.
g Cosmicus - An array of spaceship concepts will be spotlighted during a Spaceflight Exposition, to be held here October 9 at the International Airport-Las Cruces, N.M., along with entrepreneurs, engineers, and pilots involved in the projects. See article.
g Learning - You can see Earthshine whenever there's a crescent Moon on the horizon at sunset. Tonight is a good evening to spot it: Look between the horns of the crescent for a ghostly image of the full Moon. That's Earthshine. See article.
g Imagining - Here’s a neat site that draws upon the history of science fiction for examples: “Let’s Build an Extraterrestrial”.
g Aftermath - Contrary to common expectations, evidence of extraterrestrials is likely bad (though valuable) news, one thinker on astrobiology says. In fact, the easier it was for life to evolve to our stage, the bleaker our future chances probably are. See article. Note: This article is from 1998.

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