Thursday, May 25, 2006

18 Scorpii’s habitability, what we think about life and ‘Looking for Life’

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - In September 2003, astrobiologist Maggie Turnbull from the University of Arizona in Tucson identified a shortlist of 30 stars that were screened from around 5,000 that have been estimated to be located 100 ly of Earth, as the best nearby candidates for hosting complex Earth-type life. One of them is 18 Scorpii:
g Abodes - Like pieces in a giant jigsaw puzzle, continents have split, drifted and merged again many times throughout Earth's history, but geologists haven't understood the mechanism behind the moves. A new study now offers evidence that continents sometimes break along preexisting lines of weakness created when small chunks of land attach to a larger continent. See
g Life - What we think and what we don't know strongly affect our method of studying life in the universe — perhaps more than what we know. See Note: This article is from 2002.
g Intelligence - How did ancient man make stone tools, such as a Clovis spear point? See
g Message - When talk turns to SETI, there’s one question that’s as common as catfish: "We’re not broadcasting to the aliens; so what makes you think they’ll be broadcasting to us?" See
g Cosmicus - Leading aerospace contractors are eagerly awaiting NASA’s multibillion-dollar decision on who’ll build the space agency’s follow-on to the space shuttle, now set for retirement in 2010. See
g Learning - Is life on Earth unique? Are humans the only intelligent beings in the universe? These are some of the deepest and most ancient of questions. Now, for the first time, we have the tools and technology to begin probing for the answers. Scientists believe these answers lie untouched in some of the most exotic and dramatic sites on our home planet. A TV special, "Looking for Life," takes viewers to these distant locations for the most current reports on this exciting scientific frontier. See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Arthur C. Clarke’s short story "Publicity Campaign," published in 1953.
g Aftermath - The scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence is accelerating its pace and adopting fresh strategies. This increases the likelihood of successful detection in the near future. Humanity's first contact with alien intelligence will trigger extraordinary attention from the media, from government authorities, and from the general public. By improving our readiness for contact, especially for security during the first 30 days, we can avoid the most negative scenarios — and also enhance humanity's benefits from this first contact with an alien intelligence. Six potential problem areas include communicating with the media and the public, communicating with scientific colleagues, government control, an assassin or saboteur, well-meaning officials and lawsuits. See