Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sun’s binary partner, mingling oceans and more proof for evolution

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 Binary Research Institute has found that orbital characteristics of the recently discovered planetoid, "Sedna", demonstrate the possibility that our sun might be part of a binary star system. A binary star system consists of two stars gravitationally bound orbiting a common center of mass. Once thought to be highly unusual, such systems are now considered to be common in the Milky Way galaxy. See article.
g Abodes - The Pacific and Atlantic oceans were separated by a giant landmass once, but then a chink formed in this supercontinent and their waters intermingled. New fossil dating reveals that this event occurred about 41 million years ago, millions of years earlier than some scientists had estimated. See article.
g Life - In a new study, scientists tested Darwin's theory that many current traits can be explained by the ancestral lineage of a species (For instance, predators that have evolved a taste for a certain prey, can go on to develop a taste for the prey's eggs.). See article.
g Intelligence - Microscopic specs of lead are offering clues about the enormous cultural changes that swept across northern Africa a thousand years ago. See article.
g Message - In the search for life on other worlds, scientists can listen for radio transmissions from stellar neighborhoods where intelligent civilizations might lurk or they can try to actually spot planets like our own in habitable zones around nearby stars. Either approach is tricky and relies on choosing the right targets for scrutiny out of the many thousands of nearby stars in our galactic neighborhood. See article.
g Cosmicus - Japan plans to send robots to explore and set up a base on the moon, possibly within the next 10 years, officials said. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: Who Can Live Here? Students explore the limits of life on Earth to extend their beliefs about life to include its possibility on other worlds. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Stephen Leigh’s novel “Dark Water's Embrace,” published by Avon Eos in 1998.
g Aftermath - How would proof of extraterrestrial intelligence affect humanity’s “world” view? Astronomer Steve Dick discusses the matter in this transcribed Smithsonian Institute lecture, from 1999, at article.

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