Saturday, January 28, 2006

Space tornado, extrasolar transit and Rocket Racing League relocates

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 - High-energy particles spewing out of a young star in a nearby stellar nursery are plowing through interstellar clouds and creating a giant spiral structure in space that looks like a glowing, rainbow-colored tornado, scientists say. See article.
g Abodes - The next transit of an Earth-sized planet likely will be observed in 2008 by the NASA Discovery Program’s Kepler Mission. This planet won’t be a member of our solar system – it will be an extrasolar planet. See article.
g Life - Our bodies contain proteins that are made of smaller molecules that can be either left- or right-handed, depending upon their structure. Regardless of which hand we use to write, however, all human beings are 'left-handed' at the molecular level. Life on Earth uses the left-handed variety and no one knows how this preference crept into living systems. In 2012, ESA's Rosetta lander will land on a comet to investigate, among other things, if the origin of this preference lies in the stars. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Intelligence - Nursing home residents felt much less lonely after spending time alone with a dog than they did when they visited with a dog and other people, according to new research. See article.
g Message - Because of the ability to study many areas on the sky at once, with more channels and for 24 hours a day, the Allen Telescope Array will permit an expansion from SETI’s last stellar reconnaissance of 1,000 stars to 100 thousand or even 1 million nearby stars. See article.
g Cosmicus - The Rocket Racing League will establish a world headquarters in Las Cruces, N.M. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site that explains the history of the universe to kids. They can click onto a piece of a puzzle that visually shows the major steps from the Big Bang to people. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Ray Bradbury’s "Here There Be Tygers,” which appeared in the April-May 1953 issue of Amazing magazine.
g Aftermath - Clearly, if we are not alone in the universe, there are some unavoidable theological and philosophical consequences. We should reflect on the consequences of a positive result of either finding extraterrestrial microorganisms, or receiving a radio message form an extraterrestrial source: When such discovery occurs, the implications are likely to have an impact on our culture requiring adjustments possibly more radical than those arising form the evidence that humans descend from microorganisms. See article.

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