Thursday, December 29, 2005

Methane’s rise, Harvard SETI and 50-year plan for the human exploration of the solar system

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 - The Perseus spiral arm - the nearest spiral arm in the Milky Way outside the Sun's orbit - lies only half as far from Earth as some previous studies had suggested, according to an international team of astronomers. See article.
g Abodes - Considered suggestive of life, an atmosphere of methane on another planet is considered one of the four best candidates for detecting habitable conditions using remote sensing and telescope spectrographs. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Life - Book alert: How did life originate in the universe? How did it all start after the creation of matter and the formation of elements in the stars? What are the pathways from the first organic molecules in space to the evolution of complex life forms on Earth and perhaps elsewhere? And how will it all end? The universe itself sets the stage for the very interdisciplinary field of astrobiology that attempts to answer such questions, the central one being: What is the (cosmic) recipe for life? Currently there are only very few known elements in this vast mosaic. “Astrobiology : The Quest for the Conditions of Life,” by Gerda Horneck (editor), Christa Baumstark-Khan (editor), bridges a gap in the literature by bringing together leading specialists from different backgrounds who lecture on their fields, with close relevance to astrobiology, providing tutorial accounts that lead all the way to the forefront of research. The book will thus be useful for students, lecturers and researchers alike. See article.
g Intelligence - Happiness in old age may have more to do with attitude than actual health, a new study suggests. See article.
g Message - The Harvard SETI Group have conducted several searches for extraterrestrial life since 1978. For a history of those searches, see
g Cosmicus - Shortly after the loss of shuttle Columbia, Florida Today dispatched its space reporters on a mission not only to cover the accident, but also to examine the future of human spaceflight. Their research demonstrates that grander space goals are achievable at a price that does not require taking resources from other important national and world concerns. In a bold and forward-thinking move, the newspaper proposed a 50-year plan for the human exploration of the solar system. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity: “The Rare Earth.” In this activity students systematically investigate the time frame for complex life to develop on Earth. 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 - An Outside Context Problem or an OCP is any problem outside given organization or society experience, with an immediate, ubiquitous and lasting impact upon an entire culture or civilization — such as first contact with extraterrestrials. See article.

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