Monday, April 24, 2006

Galaxy globs, Xena’s size and China’s space program

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 - Try mixing caramel into vanilla ice cream - you will always end up with globs and swirls of caramel. Scientists are finding that galaxies may distribute themselves in similar ways throughout the universe and in places where there is lots of so-called dark matter. See article.
g Abodes - NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has resolved the "10th planet," nicknamed "Xena" for the first time, and has found that it is only just a little larger than Pluto. Previous ground-based observations suggested that Xena was about 30 percent greater in diameter than Pluto. See article.
g Life - Worms that live in deep-sea hypothermal vents have the highest temperature preference of any animal studied, scientists said. See article.
g Intelligence - It's true—you might die of loneliness, but not until you're older. See article.
g Message - The founder of the scientific search for extraterrestrial civilizations Frank Drake believed that a minimum of 200 highly developed civilizations were hiding somewhere in our galaxy. See article.
g Cosmicus - China is stepping up its space program, preparing to launch dozens upon dozens of Earth orbiting satellites over the next five to eight years. Also being readied are several space science missions, fielding a new heavy-lift booster, as well as strengthening its human spaceflight program to include an Earth-circling space lab and initiating a multi-step program of robotic lunar exploration. See article. For related story, see “U.S.-China Space Ties Weighed”.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of “Extraterrestrials.” In the activity, a digital radio message, intended to alert any intelligent life in space to the existence of intelligent life on Earth, has been electronically transmitted into space by the Arecibo radio dish in Puerto Rico. Students must ensure the message is effective by showing that the senders (humans from Earth) are capable of advanced thinking — but it must not depend on the ability of extraterrestrials to understand any Earth language. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Alan Dean Foster’s novel “Quozl,” published by Ace in 1989.
g Aftermath - Would dutiful American citizens trust the government to handle first contact with extraterrestrials and rush to get information to the public? See article. Note: This article is from 1999.

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