Sunday, April 02, 2006

Neighboring brown dwarf, testing for extraterrestrial life and cultured apes

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 discovered a unique "brown dwarf" right in our solar neighborhood. See article.
g Abodes - Book alert:” Looking for Life, Searching the Solar System,” by Paul Clancy, André Brack and Gerda Horneck examines how astrobiology is being done right here in our own galactic backyard. See article.
g Life - Researchers have identified a new test case that could be used for evaluating extraterrestrial samples for evidence of life. The new test could ultimately allow the use of simpler analytical instrumentation on future space missions. See article.
g Intelligence - They may not take in the opera or sip fine wines, but the verdict is in: Apes are cultured. See article.
g Message - Book alert: During a lunchtime conversation at Los Alamos more than 50 years ago, four world-class scientists agreed, given the size and age of the Universe, that advanced extraterrestrial civilizations had to exist. The sheer numbers demanded it. But one of the four, the renowned physicist and back-of-the-envelope calculator Enrico Fermi, asked the telling questions: If the extraterrestrial life proposition is true, he wondered, "Where is everybody?" In "Where Is Everybody?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life," Stephen Webb presents a detailed discussion of the 50 most cogent and intriguing answers to Fermi's famous question. See article.
g Cosmicus - Yet another experimental spaceplane may soon fly the skies over the Mojave, Calif., inland spaceport. See article.
g Learning - What textbooks are college students reading in “Astrobiology 101” courses around the nation? See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Carl Sagan’s novel “Contact,” published by in 1985.
g Aftermath - Scientists should pay greater attention to discussing the social implications of discovering extraterrestrial life — even though many researchers shy away from the subject because they don't consider it "hard" science. See article.

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