Monday, June 26, 2006

Huge cosmic paradox, Mars Science Laboratory and Big Questions of the Universe

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. You may notice that this and future entries are shorter than usual; Career, family and book deal commitments have forced me to cut back some of my projects. Now, here’s today’s news:
g Stars - Scientists have cracked a huge cosmic paradox — how black holes can be the darkest objects known but also responsible for a quarter of all light and other radiation produced in the universe since the Big Bang. See
g Abodes - NASA's next Mars rover will be the Mars Science Laboratory, due for launch in 2009. In hopes of hitting pay dirt once again, NASA has scientists scouting for landing sites that might extend the Martian water story beyond Opportunity's glimpse at Meridiani. See
g Life - The first field surveys of the Rubeho Mountains in Tanzania revealed over 160 animal species -including a new species of frog and 11 endemic species--according to an article published in the African Journal of Ecology this month. The findings elevate the importance of protecting this biologically rich wilderness area and the broader Eastern Arc Mountain range from destructive activities underway such as clear-cutting for agriculture, logging and poaching. See
g Intelligence - Researchers report that ADHD drugs primarily target the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that is associated with attention, decision-making and an individual's expression of personality. See
g Message - The question of whether we are alone in the universe is one of the biggest of the Big Questions of Existence. One way to settle the matter is to find some cosmic company. A direct approach to this problem is to scan the skies with radio telescopes in the hope of stumbling across a message from an alien civilization. See Note: This article is from 2005.
g Cosmicus - Astronomers at the University of New Mexico are developing an exciting new telescope with capabilities that are unrivaled in astronomy circles. The CCD/Transit Instrument with Innovative Instrumentation, or CTI-II, is a special-purpose telescope where accuracy and precision are the key components allowing for unprecedented research opportunities. See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Jeff Berkwits’ story "First Contact," which appeared in the August 1996 issue of “Keen!”