Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Exoplanet field guide, the Artifact Hypothesis and going to Venus

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 -Robert’s Quartet is one of the finest examples of compact groups of galaxies. Because such groups contain four to eight galaxies in a very small region, they are excellent laboratories for the study of galaxy interactions and their effects, in particular on the formation of stars. See article.
g Abodes - Astronomers looking for Earth-like planets in other solar systems — exoplanets — now have a field guide, thanks to Washington University earth and planetary scientists. See article.
g Life - There is good evidence that life appeared on earth just 200 million to 400 million years after the crust had cooled (assuming conventional methods of measuring age). Two hundred million years seems a bit on the short side for the spontaneous generation of life, although no one really knows just how long this process should take (forever?). The apparent rapidity of the onset of terrestrial life has led to a reexamination of the old panspermia hypothesis, in which spores, bacteria, or even nonliving "templates" of life descended on the lifeless but fertile earth from interstellar space. See article.
g Intelligence - Knowledge of American Sign Language proves handy when studying structural geology. See article.
g Message - To subject the Fermi Paradox to needed experimental testing, a researcher has offered the Artifact Hypothesis: A technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization has undertaken a long-term program of' interstellar exploration via transmission of material artifacts.
g Cosmicus - Earth's twin planet has its first new permanent visitor in 15 years on the way after today's successful launch of Venus Express - a European probe that will orbit the second rock from the Sun to study its inhospitable and enigmatic atmosphere. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom lesson about the Apollo lunar rovers.
g Imagining - England's Astronomer Royal says he believes aliens could exist, possibly as balloon-like creatures floating in dense atmospheres. See article.
g Aftermath - The good news is that polls continue to show that between one and two-thirds of the public thinks that extraterrestrial life exists. The weird news is that a similar fraction thinks that some of it is visiting Earth. See article.

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