Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A flight to the Dry Valleys, first contanct in 50-100 years and hitch a ride on the space shuttle,

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 - Ohio State University scientists have thought of a new way to solve an astronomical mystery, and their plan relies on a well-connected network of amateur stargazers and one very elusive subatomic particle. See article.
g Abodes - New scientific findings are strengthening the case that the oceans and climate are linked in an intricate dance, and that rapid climate change may be related to how vigorously ocean currents move heat between low and high latitudes. See article. for related story, see “Satellites Capture First-ever Gravity Map Of Tides Under Antarctic Ice"
g Life - The first thing you notice when you fly into the Lake Hoare field camp in the Dry Valleys is the Canada Glacier. It’s like a living, breathing presence, a wall of steep white ice atop a lake the color of a blue tourmaline gemstone. When we hop out of the helicopter after a twenty-minute ride from McMurdo Station, I’d like to gawk at the glacier and the incredible landscape of the Dry Valleys, but there’s work to be done first. See article.
g Intelligence - New research on living neurons has clarified how the brain refreshes the supply of molecules it needs to make new memories. Focusing on live neurons cultured from rats, researchers have discovered clear evidence to dispel the prevailing view that stores inside the cell are constantly replacing receptors at the synapse. Rather, the scientists found that the synaptic receptors are relatively stable, lasting about 16 hours before they are replaced. See article. For related story, see “Chemical Signaling Helps Regulate Sensory Map Formation In The Brain”.
g Message - Dan Werthimer, director of the SERENDIP SETI program and chief scientist of SETI@home at the University of California Berkeley, predicts we’ll make first contact with an alien civilization in 50-100 years. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - Students at a Welsh university are to begin preparing for a world shared with intelligent robots. A new degree in robotics will teach students how to apply science fiction in science. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Learning - What would it be like to ride the shuttle into space? Hitch a virtual ride by watching this movie from the video camera mounted on Discovery's external fuel tank looking down at Earth. The footage runs from liftoff through the tank's separation from the orbiter, including the piece of PAL foam ramp flying off. See article.
g Imagining - Traditional science fiction has aliens who speak some form of English or resemble humans. The problem is, chances are slim that non-terrestrial life will have such earthling-like traits. Chemists at the University of Florida hope to overcome that obstacle by figuring out what alien life might look like. See article. Note: This article is from 1998.
g Aftermath - Within the scientific community, the question is no longer whether extraterrestrial life exists, but if ET is smart enough to do long division — and the United States and other world governments already have detailed secret plans for first contact. My apologies in advanced for Popular Mechanic’s lurid title, but the reporting is sound; see article. Note: This article is from 2004.

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