Thursday, April 20, 2006

Merging black holes, space weather and new moonship

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 - The types of black hole mergers predicted by Einstein's general relativity have been accurately simulated in a computer model for the first time. See article.
g Abodes - Five spacecraft from two European Space Agency missions unexpectedly found themselves engulfed by waves of electrical and magnetic energy as they traveled through Earth's nighttime shadow, a new report says. The data collected by the spacecraft are giving scientists an important clue to the effects of 'space weather' on Earth's magnetic field. See article.
g Life - Competition and conflict between males and females start inside the egg in some species, say scientists. See article.
g Intelligence - Sleeping helps to reinforce what we've learned. And brain scans have revealed that cerebral activity associated with learning new information is replayed during sleep. But, in a study published in the open access journal PLoS Biology, a team at the University of Liege demonstrate for the first time that the brain doesn't wait until night to structure information. Day and night, the brain doesn't stop (re)working what we learn. See article.
g Message - A new radio telescope array has been developed by the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute and the University of California at Berkeley that will shed some cosmic noise, and give scientists a better view of one million stars scattered throughout the universe. See article. Note: This article is from 2005.
g Cosmicus - As NASA marks 25 years of shuttle flight, the space agency is looking ahead to its next spaceship to reach for the orbit and the Moon. See article. For related stories, see “STS-121 Shuttle Commander Confident in July Launch Target” and “Spacewalk strategy revised for next shuttle flight”.
g Learning - There are some great teacher resources on space biology. The modules cover such topics as “Life in the Universe,” “Radiation Biology” and “Life in Space Environments.” Each module includes an introduction, readings and references, teaching resources and research and applications.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Greg Bear’s novel, “The Forge of God,” published by Tor in 1987.
g Aftermath - Clearly, if we are not alone in the universe, there are some unavoidable theological and philosophical consequences. We should reflect on the consequences of a positive result of either finding extraterrestrial microorganisms, or receiving a radio message form an extraterrestrial source: When such discovery occurs, the implications are likely to have an impact on our culture requiring adjustments possibly more radical than those arising form the evidence that humans descend from microorganisms. See article.

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