Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Reproducing GEMS, maturing minds and extraterrestrial encoding scene

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - For the first time, a team of French scientists were able to reproduce the structure of the exotic GEMS in the laboratory. The results of their experiments will soon be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics. GEMS (glass with embedded metal and sulphides) is a major component of primitive interplanetary dust. To understand its origin is one of the primary objectives of planetary science, and especially of the recently successful Stardust mission. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/
. For related story, see “PETing Stardust” at http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.phpop=modload&name
g Abodes - Forces brewing deep beneath Yellowstone National Park could be making one of the largest volcanoes on Earth even bigger, a new study reveals. See http://www.livescience.com/forcesofnature/060301
g Life - Deeply buried ocean sediments may house populations of tiny organisms that have extremely low maintenance energy needs and population turnover rates of anywhere from 200 to 2,000 years, according to an international team of researchers. See http://www.astrobio.net
g Intelligence - At an age when Americans are first considered adults, their brains are still maturing, a new study suggests. See http://www.live
g Message - Is it more likely for an advanced civilization to resort to some sophisticated encoding scheme than we would? See http://www.seti
g Cosmicus - Scientists who study the sun, moon, planets and stars protested on Thursday the Bush administration’s plan to send humans back to the moon and on to Mars. See http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/
g Learning - Cozying up to sharks and eels is much more attractive in "Deep Sea 3D," where you can watch them from the comfort of a theater without worrying about winding up as dinner. The undersea documentary (40 minutes, Not Rated) opens in IMAX theaters nationwide over the weekend. It gives even the most landlocked viewer an up-close look—enhanced by three-dimensional glasses—at diverse ocean wildlife with the added benefit of staying dry. See http://www.livescience.com/animalworld/060303_
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read James P. Hogan’s novel “Inherit the Stars,” published by Del Rey in 1977.
g Aftermath - Even if the public seems less than awestruck by the prospect that alien life is a bunch of microscopic bugs, astrobiologists say unequivocal discovery of microbial life beyond Earth will change human society in profound ways, some unfathomable today. See http://nai.arc.nasa.gov/news