Saturday, April 01, 2006

Quasar ignition switch, bottom of the ocean habitats and balanced NASA space exploration

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 spotted what they think is evidence for the ignition switch that turns on super-bright galaxies called quasars. See
g Abodes - Most plants do their growing during the rainy season and stall out when it's dry. But in much of the Amazon rainforest, dry spells bring on growth spurts. See
g Life - The largest habitats on Earth are located in the vast, dark plains at the bottom of the ocean. Yet because of their remoteness, many aspects of this mostly unexplored world remain mysterious. See
g Intelligence - Psychologists have recently handed the keys to happiness to the public, but many people cling to gloomy ways out of habit, experts say. See
g Message - In late 1997, after almost 40 years of operation, the Ohio State University Radio Observatory and its "Big Ear" radio telescope — which picked up the famous “Wow!” signal — ceased operation. The land on which the observatory was sitting (owned by the Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio) was sold in 1983 to land developers who later claimed their rights to develop the property. The telescope was destroyed in early 1998. For a Web page memorial to Big Ear, see
g Cosmicus - NASA and Congress need to develop a balanced program of space exploration that has adequate funding to achieve the Vision of Space Exploration. When the Apollo Missions went to the Moon, we were amazed. Today, if we are to achieve more than simply getting to the Moon before the Chinese, NASA's science programs need to be as valued as human space exploration. See
g Learning - Once relegated to the quacks and hacks of astronomy, the search for alien life has become a legitimate area of study. See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Mary Doria Russell’s novel, “The Sparrow,” published by Villard in 1996.
g Aftermath - Reactions to the announcement that scientists had found evidence for primitive life in a meteorite from Mars have been intense. Some concerned the scientific evidence, some the implications of extraterrestrial life, especially if intelligent. Underlying these reactions are assumptions, or beliefs, which often have a religious grounding. The two divergent beliefs, for and against the plurality of life in the universe, are examined historically and through religious traditions, particularly the Judeo-Christian. This examination guides the formulation of the right relation between science and religion as one that respects the autonomy of each discipline, yet allows for each to be open to the discoveries of the other. Based on this relationship, perspectives from scientific exploration are developed that can help individuals to respect and cope with the new phenomena that science brings, whether these imply that we might be alone in the universe or co-creatures of God with the ancient Martians. See

No comments: