Saturday, April 29, 2006

Star-creating black holes, wet Mars and mastodons on the Mississippi River

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - Older supermassive black holes that were once thought to be quiet, actually generate high energy jets of particles powerful enough to put a brake on the formation of new stars, say a team of researchers. See
g Abodes - Mars started out relatively wet and temperate, underwent a major climate shift, and evolved into a cold, dry place strewn with acidic rock – less than ideal conditions for supporting life. See
. For related story, see “One for the Water Side?” at
g Life - What mastodon finds have occurred along the Mississippi River? See For related story, see “The First People in Wisconsin” at
g Intelligence - If you've experienced the highs and lows of creative thinking, you know that sometimes the creative well is dry, while at other times creativity is free flowing. It is during the latter times that people often experience so-called "Aha!" moments - those moments of clarity when the solution to a vexing problem falls into place with a sudden insight and you see connections that previously eluded you. See
g Message - Put yourself in the situation of the aliens, out there somewhere in the galaxy. They surmise that Earth looks promising for the emergence of intelligent life one day, but they have no idea when. There would be little point in beaming radio messages in this direction for eons in the vague hope that one day radio technology would be developed here and someone would decide to tune in, says one astrobiologist. See
. Note: this article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - A former astronaut says protecting humans from high-level radiation, as well as bone and muscle loss, pose the greatest challenges in getting to Mars. See
. For related story, see “Piecing Phoenix Together” at
g Learning - What is an astrobiologist, and can you become one? See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s “The Mote In God's Eye,” published by Simon & Shuster in 1974.
g Aftermath - In a cross-cultural study conducted several years ago, to scientists looked at the attitudes of college students towards the possibility that extraterrestrial life might exist, and if it does, what it might be like for people to learn that it exists. See Note: This article is from 2002.