Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Giant star factories, bleach-blonde planets and astrobiology budget cutbacks

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - Astronomers have produced the clearest map to date of giant star factories in our Milky Way. See article.
g Abodes - Some may be surprised to learn that bleach-blondes and the enabler of life elsewhere in our solar system have something in common. It is, in fact, hydrogen peroxide. See article.
g Life - Blowing bubbles is child's play, showing how easily soap molecules can assemble into a sheet and curl around to form a bubble. To David Deamer, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and acting chair of biomolecular engineering at UCSC, the formation of a soap bubble is no mere curiosity - it illustrates an essential property of the kinds of molecules that compose the membranes of all living cells. See article.
g Intelligence - Fighting with the one you love can leave you broken-hearted, a feeling that now appears to be more than just figurative. Marital spats and dominating behavior are related to hardening of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. Clogged arteries raise the risk of a heart attack. See article.
g Message - Recent discussions within the SETI community have thoroughly explored the issue of whether people with access to radio telescopes should send powerful signals to alien civilizations without some process of prior international consultation. In particular, those exchanges have focused on the question of "Active SETI." See article.
g Cosmicus - Sunrise may never come for some of NASA's most important space missions. Budget cutbacks are shelving some major projects and programs. See article.
g Learning - Stargazing is an exciting hobby. If you have the right aptitude, you could even make it your career. The universe would then be your playground. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Clifford D. Simak’s novel “Way Station,” published by Doubleday in 1963.
g Aftermath - Here’s a fascinating idea: A group of serious scientists, writers, military leaders and others discussing how to establish a constructive dialogue between humanity and ETI, once contact is made. See article.

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