Thursday, September 28, 2006

Star spinning near break-up velocity, journey into space and constructive dialogue with ET

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 - If your idea of fun is whirling around on a dizzying carnival ride, astronomers have found a stellar adventure that would stop you in your tracks. A sizzling-hot star is spinning around at near break-up velocity, according to a new study. See
g Abodes - NASA's Mars robotic missions are performing so well, they are being prepared for additional overtime work. See
g Life - Scientists have studied the life history of animals, part of a field called development, for many decades. Other scientists have studied how life arose and evolved on Earth. For the first time since the early part of this century, the two fields are coming together, in a new discipline called "Evo Devo. See
. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Intelligence - Johnny Depp may be easy on the eyes, but in reality he is just easy on the mind, a new study suggests. While eyes are the vehicles for receiving visual images, the brain decides how attractive those images are. Attractiveness appears to be related to how easy you can wrap your brain around a face. See http://www.livesci
g Message - Visiting another civilization on a distant world would be fascinating, but at present such a trip is beyond our capabilities. However, it is perfectly within our capabilities to develop a communications system using a powerful transmitter and a sensitive receiver, and using it to search the sky for alien worlds whose citizens have a similar inclination. See
g Cosmicus - A new survey is trying to get to the bottom of what public travelers long for and fancy from a journey into space. See
g Learning - Here’s a neat set of classroom activities: Life On Other Planets in the Solar System. It examines the possibility of life on other planets in our own solar system and what form that life might take. Designed as a curriculum resource for middle and high school students. See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read C.M. Kornbluth’s short story "The Silly Season," originally published in F&SF (Fall 1950).
g Aftermath - Here’s a fascinating idea: A group of serious scientists, writers, military leaders and others discussing how to establish a constructive dialogue between humanity and ETI, once contact is made: