Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Eta Carinae in ultraviolet, intro to planetary studies and two new primate ancestors

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 using NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer satellite made the first direct detection of a companion star of Eta Carinae. Eta Carinae is one of the most massive and unusual stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The high temperature of the companion star and the unique sensitivity of the satellite at the shortest ultraviolet wavelengths made the detection possible. See article.
g Abodes - For an interesting introduction to the richness and diversity of planetary studies, check out this Web site.
g Life - During the next few years, space probes will be visiting alien worlds looking for life. Our first contact with extraterrestrials could be just around the corner. Here are a series of BBC reports about life potentially existing in our own solar system. See article.
g Intelligence - Paleontologists from Britain, the United States and Egypt are a step closer to understanding the origins of our primate ancestors following the discovery of the fossilized remains of two previously unknown species in Egypt. See article.
g Message - The drive to place humanity at the center of the universe has led to a stream of assumptions that, as facts have been collected, are shown to be ill founded. The Ptolemaic Earth centered view was replaced by Copernican Sun centered view, which in its time was also replaced. The assumption that we are alone in the universe is also under threat of replacement. One of the more interesting aspects of our apparent aloneness was pointed out by Enrico Fermi and is know as Fermi's Paradox. See article.
g Cosmicus - Manned spaceflight must not be stopped by the Columbia tragedy. It is good for science, business, culture and international politics. See article.
g Learning - As a society, we're increasingly ignorant about science, and if that continues, it's going to cost us. See article.
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies/environments? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for Piers Anthony’s "Omnivore" (1968), which examines fungal life forms.
g Aftermath - If and when life is discovered beyond Earth, non-scientific dimensions may strongly influence decisions about the nature and scope of future missions and activities. It is appropriate to encourage international discussion and consideration of the issues prior to an event of such historical significance. See article.

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