Sunday, October 22, 2006

Brown dwarf’s planet, early evolution of fungi and bedtime for astronauts

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 Abodes - Astronomers have detected a new faint companion to the star HD 3651, already known to host a planet. This companion, a brown dwarf, is the faintest known companion of an exoplanet host star imaged directly and one of the faintest T dwarfs detected in the Solar neighborhood so far. The detection yields important information on the conditions under which planets form. See article.
g Life - In the latest installment of a major international effort to probe the origins of species, a team of scientists has reconstructed the early evolution of fungi, the biological kingdom now believed to be animals' closest relatives. See
g Cosmicus - In the future, bedtime for astronauts may be more than a few evening hours of regular shuteye. It may help them reach other planets, though admittedly they would have to sleep for quite a long time. See