Monday, January 23, 2006

Mysterious super star clusters, sequencing wooly mammoth genome and ET detection protocols

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 - An international team of astronomers reported evidence for the formation of mysterious "super star clusters" in a dozen nearby galaxies. These star clusters are the likely precursors to the familiar globular clusters of the Milky Way; however in our galaxy, globular clusters are believed to all be older than 10 billion years - close to the age of the universe itself, and none are forming. See article.
g Abodes - Astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting a very young star nearly 100 light years away using a relatively small, publicly accessible telescope turbocharged with a new planet-finding instrument. See article.
g Life - A team of experts in ancient DNA from McMaster University (Canada) and genome researchers from Penn State University have obtained the first genomic sequences from a woolly mammoth, a mammal that roamed grassy plains of the Northern Hemisphere until it became extinct about 10,000 years ago. The project also involved paleontologists from the American Museum of Natural History and researchers from Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. See article.
g Intelligence - Two Neanderthal fossils excavated from Vindija Cave in Croatia in 1998, believed to be the last surviving Neanderthals, may be 3,000-4,000 years older than originally thought. See article.
g Message - A new study suggests it is more energy efficient to communicate across interstellar space by sending physical material — a sort of message in a bottle — than beams of electromagnetic radiation. Solid matter can hold more information and journey farther than radio waves, which disperse as they travel. See
g Cosmicus - There is a new breed of weaponry fast approaching—and at the speed of light no less. They are labeled "directed-energy weapons" and may well signal a revolution in military hardware—perhaps more so than the atomic bomb. See article.
g Learning - Want to see what things look like under the microscope? Then log onto the Internet and go to article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Jeff Berkwits’ story "First Contact," which appeared in the August 1996 issue of “Keen!”
g Aftermath - Scientists such as the SETI Institute’s John Billingham and Jill Tarter have taken the lead in planning for the day we might receive a signal from life beyond Earth. Working with diplomats and space lawyers, they have helped develop protocols that guide the activities of SETI scientists who think they may have detected extraterrestrial intelligence. See article. Note: This story is a couple of years old.

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