Monday, February 13, 2006

X-ray movie of Milky Way Galaxy, 10th planet and sensitivity to rose odor

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 - A new X-ray movie of the Milky Way Galaxy shows stars erupting and black holes pulsating over a full decade of time. See article.
g Abodes - Claims that the Solar System has a tenth planet are bolstered by the finding by a group led by Bonn astrophysicists that this alleged planet, announced last summer and tentatively named 2003 UB313, is bigger than Pluto. By measuring its thermal emission, the scientists were able to determine a diameter of about 3000 km, which makes it 700 km larger than Pluto and thereby marks it as the largest solar system object found since the discovery of Neptune in 1846. See article. For a related story, see “EL61, A Space Oddity”.
g Life - The massive, hollow crests that protrude like bananas from atop the heads of duck-billed dinosaurs did not help their sense of smell, as previously believed. See article.
g Intelligence - Before giving flowers or scattering rose petals on Valentine's Day, make sure your significant other has already gotten out of bed. In a study published recently in the journal Chemical Senses, researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University discovered that sensitivity to rose odor is greater in subjects who are sitting than in those lying down. See article.
g Message - Here’s something neat albeit technical: A slide show presentation of "Spectrum Environment of the Allen Telescope Array".
g Cosmicus - Britain's Department of Aerospace Engineering and the University of Bristol have taken a step toward a self-healing spacecraft. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat set of classroom activities for high school students: “Voyages Through Time.” It’s an integrated science curriculum for ninth or tenth grade based on the theme of evolution and delivered on CD-ROM. Its six modules span the breadth of astrobiology research, from cosmic evolution through the evolution of life, and beyond. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Julie E. Czerneda’s short story "First Contact, Inc.," anthologized in “First Contact” (edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Larry Segriff, published by DAW in 1997).
g Aftermath - It is hard to imagine what an extraterrestrial life form might think if confronted with the words "you're human / they are human / we are human / let's try to be human / dance!" See article. Note: This article is from 2005.

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