Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wave/particle duality, brightening space station and life on other planets in the solar system

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 - Wave/particle duality is a quantum phenomenon usually confined to photons, electrons, protons, and other ultra-tiny objects. Quantum mechanics shows that such objects sometimes behave like particles, sometimes behave like waves, and sometimes like a little of both. See
g Abodes - A team of British and US scientists have discovered that the gap in the Van Allen radiation belts is formed by natural wave turbulence in space, not by lightning. The discovery settles years of controversy among space scientists about the mechanisms responsible for causing the gap and has important implications for space weather forecasting. See
g Life - In the fish world, traditional roles are typically reversed with the male building the nest, completing nest-keeping tasks, and protecting and caring for the young. Since female fish lay their eggs in an already-built nest before swimming away, the hard work ensures a male fish will pass along his genes. But not all fish obey this rule. See
g Cosmicus - The biggest and brightest manmade object orbiting Earth just got bigger and brighter. 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