Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lalande 21185, measuring planet rotation and astrobiology smörgåsbord

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - Lalande 21185 is the fourth system closest to Sol after Alpha Centauri 3, Barnard's Star and Wolf 359. Might it support habitable planets? See
g Abodes - Measuring the rotation period of a rocky planet like the Earth is easy, but similar measurements for planets made of gas, such as Saturn, pose problems. Researchers present new results in this week's Nature that may solve the mystery. See
g Life - In early May, astrobiologists gathered in Sweden to sample smörgåsbord and to discuss planetary, space and life sciences. While there is already an astrobiology network for Europeans – the European Astrobiology Network Association – the shared culture and geography of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark, and also the Baltic States and Russia, make a Nordic astrobiology community necessary as well. See
g Intelligence - A new study of 8,000 people age 2 to 90 found females handle timed tasks more quickly than males. See
g Message - Here’s a famous 1960 article from Freeman John Dyson: “Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation.” See
g Cosmicus - NASA has teamed up with two universities to study ways to reduce the adverse effects of space travel has on astronauts' physical heath. See
g Learning - Americans love science in their movies and TV shows, yet recent reports indicate we are losing our scientific dominance to the rest of the world. Can science-themed entertainment get Americans off the couch and into the lab? See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Isaac Asimov’s short story "Victory Unintentional," published in the Aug. 1942 edition of Super Science Stories.
g Aftermath - If we hear from ET, not only can we expect his civilization to be an old one with a great time lag in correspondence, a SETI astronomer says. Could this limit the impact of extraterrestrial contact upon humanity? See
. Note: This article is from December 2001.