Monday, May 22, 2006

Dwarf galaxies, ‘The Rock from Mars’ and the only geologist to have walked on the Moon

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - When the universe was young, countless dwarf galaxies formed, heating the universe and preventing the formation of more small galaxies, a new study suggests. See
g Abodes - Book alert: When it comes to telling stories, science writers and scientists are at a disadvantage in that unlike novelists (who are free to create their own reality) they must reconstruct events accurately. But once in a great while, science offers up a tale as compelling as any found in fiction and someone comes along who is equipped to tell it well. In “The Rock from Mars,” journalist Kathy Sawyer realizes the full potential of a great science story in all its multidimensional complexity and richness. See http://www.americanscien;jsession
g Life - A new University of Colorado at Boulder study indicates Earth in its infancy probably had substantial quantities of hydrogen in its atmosphere, a surprising finding that may alter the way many scientists think about how life began on the planet. See http://www.
g Intelligence - Did evolution shape your taste in a mate? Take this poll. See
g Message - The spectral approach is a universal tool of both astronomical observations and SETI. Furthermore, it has a clear physical meaning – a spectrometer finds the energy distribution of photons, in human sensing it is color and pitch. Under the hypothesis on identity of physical laws in our part of universe, it may be proposed that spectrometry also are using by those aliens, who know radio and lead theirs own SETI, too. See
g Cosmicus - Harrison Schmitt, the only geologist to have walked on the Moon, discusses the past, present and future of space exploration in this interview. See
g Learning - Here’s a good Web site that gives an general overview of astrobiology for kids: “Astrocentral.” See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Murray Leinster’s short story "Proxima Centauri," published in the March 1935 issue of Astounding Stories.
g Aftermath - Could religions survive contact with extraterrestrials? The Medieval Church didn't think so, as the discovery would challenge mankind's central role in the cosmos. Today such ideas are considered old fashioned, and many theologians welcome the discovery of life — even intelligent life — among the stars. But if scientists were to find microscopic Martians or a signal from another world, would established religions really take it in stride? For a discussion, check out this past program of SETI’s "Are We Alone?" at Note: An mp3 player is required to play the audio files; you can download one at the site for free.