Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fostering planet formation, shoreline property on Titan and Orion’s cockpit

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 - A star must live in a relatively tranquil cosmic neighborhood to foster planet formation, say astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. See article.
g Abodes - Shorefront property, anyone? These Cassini radar images taken during a flyby a week ago show lakes on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. The clear shorelines are reminiscent of terrestrial lakes. With Titan's colder temperatures and hydrocarbon-rich atmosphere, however, the lakes likely contain a combination of methane and ethane, not water. See
g Life - Just as siblings may scuffle over who gets the front seat or access to the TV remote control, some bird siblings jostle for position in their nests. Those with winning moves can sit in the spot where mom is most likely to deliver food. See http://www.livescience.
g Cosmicus - The pieces are coming together for NASA’s next spaceship Orion as space agency engineers begin working with lead contractor Lockheed Martin to shape the vehicle’s cockpit. See
. For related story, see “Committee Warns NASA To Keep CEV on Track” at