Monday, June 05, 2006

Epsilon Eridani, looking for more than water and when humans starting wearing clothes

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - Within 20 ly of Sol, astronomers may have detected planets only in the Solar System and around three stars. One of them is Epsilon Eridani. See
g Abodes - The great search for extraterrestrial life has focused on water at the expense of a crucial element, say geobiologists at the University of Southern California. See
g Life - How does the Drake Equation fare across our solar system? An analysis shows that one of the main thrusts of solar system should be focused on the biomarkers of the eukaryotic stage of development for life. See
g Intelligence - If you're looking for insight into the 5 million years of human evolution, consider the lowly body louse, the species of lice that targets clothing. Presumably, the body louse didn't evolve before humans began to wear more than a fig leaf. How long ago was that? The louse's DNA might hold the answer. See,70920-0.html?tw=wn_index_5.
g Message - Humankind has been unintentionally transmitting signals into space - primarily high-frequency radio, television, and radar - for more than fifty years. Our earliest TV broadcasts have reached several thousand nearby stars, although any alien viewers would have to build a very large antenna (thousands of acres in size) to detect them. See
g Cosmicus - Martin Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge and Britain’s Astronomer Royal. He is the author of numerous popular science books, including the best selling "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe." Astrobiology Magazine caught up with Rees as he ponders the effect of interplanetary travel on human evolution. See http://
g Learning - Ken Bain knows a lot about teaching. He learned some of it from 41 years in the classroom, some from the research of fellow scholars - and some from an 18-month-old grandson who was savvy about cell phones. See
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies and environments? Scour your bookstore for Andre Norton’s "The Last Planet" (1953), famous for the birdman or "The Beast Master" (1959), famous for the lizard men.
g Aftermath - If and when life is discovered beyond Earth, non-scientific dimensions may strongly influence decisions about the nature and scope of future missions and activities. It is appropriate to encourage international discussion and consideration of the issues prior to an event of such historical significance. See{B0D4BC0E-D59B-4CD0-9E79-113953A58644}/m_race_guidelines.pdf.

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