Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Saltern crystallizers, virtual professors and frequent flyer miles for space

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 - There’s room in the universe for thousands of galaxies but that doesn’t stop them from running into each other. New observations support the idea that galaxies are in constant interaction with each other and that the biggest ones get bigger by engulfing smaller ones. See article.
g Abodes - Jets of fine, icy particles streaming from Saturn's moon Enceladus were captured in recent images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The images provide unambiguous visual evidence the moon is geologically active. See article. For related stories, see: “When moons align”; “Pandora on a string”; and “Seeing double on Saturn”.
g Life - Tourists in Spain often stop to ogle the country's many saltwater lagoons, used to produce salt since Roman times. Scientists, too, admire these saltern crystallizers - and even more so, the microbes that manage to survive in such briny environs. Now, reporting in the Nov.28-Dec. 2 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at The Institute for Genomic Research and collaborators reveal the genome of one bacterium at home in the salty Spanish ponds. See article.
g Intelligence - There's a simple reason why computers have not taken over teachers' jobs: They're boring, unpersuasive, unattractive and soulless. That may soon change if Amy Baylor can perfect the virtual professors she's working on. See article.
g Message - Scientists find it hard enough to pin down evidence of early life on our own planet. How on Earth do we plan to determine whether life exists elsewhere? See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - NASA's Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft has successfully fired its large bipropellant thruster for the first time since launch, completing the first of several critical deep space maneuvers that will help the spacecraft reach Mercury orbit. The burn puts the craft on course for a close flyby of Venus next year. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site for young kids, courtesy of NASA: Space Place. It offers games, animations, projects, and fun facts about Earth, space and technology.
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 - For some provocative reading, pick up “Sharing the Universe,” by Seth Shostak, at your local bookstore. SETI scientist Shostak almost single-handedly is outlining social and political issues that will arise once we make contact with extraterrestrials. See reviews.

Read this blogger’s books

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

No comments: