Monday, October 30, 2006

Mars rover tested in Norwegian high Arctic, “Life in the Universe” and “Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life”

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 Cosmicus - With funding from a NASA ASTEP grant, a team of scientists and engineers last month traveled to the Svalbard archipelago, in the Norwegian high Arctic, to test a suite of instruments that will be part of the payload of NASA’s next Mars rover, Mars Science Laboratory. See
g Learning - Here’s a neat set of lessons about “Life in the Universe” that teaches kids some basic astronomical facts and mathematical skills along the way:
g Aftermath - Book alert: The authentic discovery of extraterrestrial life would usher in a scientific revolution on par with Copernicus or Darwin, says Paul Davies in “Are We Alone?: Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life.” Just as these ideas sparked religious and philosophical controversy when they were first offered, so would proof of life arising away from Earth. With this brief book (160 pages, including two appendices and an index), Davies tries to get ahead of the curve and begin to sort out the metaphysical mess before it happens. Many science fiction writers have preceded him, of course, but here the matter is plainly put. This is a very good introduction to a compelling subject.