Monday, December 12, 2005

Methane rivers and ice continents, Mars’ twin rovers and Edspace

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - Fundamental to understanding the distribution of life in the cosmos is understanding the formation and diversity of planetary systems, which are the retinues of planets and satellites of different mass and composition orbiting stars of different luminosities. The conditions under which these systems form and evolve will determine the diversity of habitable environments in space and in time. See
g Abodes - The Huygens Probe of the Cassini Mission suggests Titan, Saturn's largest moon, has rivers of liquid methane sculpting channels in continents of ice. See For related stories, see “Craters, craters everywhere on Saturn's moon Rhea” at and “Cassini's Photo Album From A Season Of Icy Moons” at
g Life - What little we know about biology and other planets suggests life may not only be common but that it may well be a natural consequence of stellar and planetary formation. In casting this possibility into perspective, NASA's Origins and Astrobiology programs refer to life as being a "cosmic imperative.” See
g Intelligence - You can blame your parents for your hair that frizzes in high humidity and for your short stature. And now researchers at Saint Louis University say your genetic makeup partly dictates how physically and mentally healthy you feel. See
g Message - What would be a sign of alien intelligence? Forget mathematics — try a simple, pure-tone radio signal. See http://
g Cosmicus - NASA's durable twin Mars rovers have successfully explored the surface of the mysterious red planet for a full Martian year. "The rovers went through all of the Martian seasons and are back to late summer," says the deputy rover project manager. "We're preparing for the challenge of surviving another Martian winter." See
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site for kids, courtesy of NASA: Edspace. See
g Imagining - In science fiction, aliens often are humanoids. Just how different will extraterrestrial life likely be from the varieties found on Earth? See
g Aftermath - Here’s something I dug up from the Toronto Star: A 2002 article, headlined “Discovery Of Extraterrestrial Life Could Have Profound Impact On Religion,” by reporter on the religion beat. See (Sorry that it comes from one of those dreadful UFO Web sites, but this was the only spot I could find it archived for free and in its entirety.).