Sunday, June 11, 2006

Planet’s planetary systems, Carl Sagan gazes at Mars and ‘Radio Astrobiology’

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - Forget our traditional ideas of where a planetary system forms - new research led by a University of Toronto astronomer reveals that planetary nurseries can exist not only around stars but also around objects that are themselves not much heftier than Jupiter. It suggests that miniature versions of the solar system may circle objects that are some 100 times less massive than our sun. See
g Abodes - A new discovery suggests that ancient Earth was much colder than previously thought — a discovery that has broad implications for those studying the earth's climate. See Note: This article is from 2005.
g Life - Since their discovery in the late 1970s, microorganisms known as archaea have fascinated scientists with their ability to thrive where no other life can - in conditions that are extremely hot, acidic or salty. Researchers from the University of Georgia and Harvard University have found evidence that low-temperature archaea might have evolved from a moderate-temperature environment rather than from their high-temperature counterparts - as most scientists had believed. See
g Intelligence - The evolutionary precursors of modern apes and people diverged from ancient monkeys between 29 million and 34.5 million years ago, a new genetic analysis concludes. This evolutionary parting of the ways had previously been placed at between 23 million and 25 million years ago. See Note: This article is from 2005.
g Message - Is anyone out there? The chance of spotting signals from extraterrestrials is about to soar, say SETI Institute scientists, who, together with radio astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley have begun building the first telescope to look around the clock for life on other planets. See
g Cosmicus - The year is 1947. Twelve-year-old Carl Sagan is standing outside a small house in the Eastern city of Brooklyn, New York. It is dark. He is looking up at the sky. After a few minutes, he finds the spot for which he has been searching. It is a light red color in the night sky. Carl is looking at the planet Mars. See
g Learning - Here’s a neat new podcast program, “Radio Astrobiology.” In the first show, host Simon Mitton unveils the science behind astrobiology in Part I of an in-depth interview with David Southwood, Director of Science for the European Space Agency. In this segment of the interview, Southwood reveals Europe's plans for exploring the universe and expanding our knowledge of astrobiology. (Clicking on this link will launch you directly into the podcast program [9 MB, mp3]). See
for more.
g Imagining - Will Star Trek’s carbon-based life forms be the norm for alien chemistry? See Note: This article is from 2004.
g Aftermath - Scientists such as the SETI Institute’s John Billingham and Jill Tarter have taken the lead in planning for the day we might receive a signal from life beyond Earth. Working with diplomats and space lawyers, they have helped develop protocols that guide the activities of SETI scientists who think they may have detected extraterrestrial intelligence. See Note: This story is a couple of years old.