Saturday, December 02, 2006

First negatively charged molecule, Mars photos on Web and ‘Contact: Culture of the Imagination’

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 - Astronomers have discovered the first negatively charged molecule in space, identifying it from radio signals that were a mystery until now. "We've spotted a rare and exotic species, like the white tiger of space," says an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. See article.
g Cosmicus - Incredibly detailed images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment are available on the web. The pictures show surface features including gullies, sand avalanches and a fossil delta inside a crater that once held a lake. See
g Aftermath - An intriguing conference begins today at NASA Ames: “Contact: Culture of the Imagination.” Contact is a unique interdisciplinary conference that brings together some of the foremost international social and space scientists, science fiction writers and artists to exchange ideas, stimulate new perspectives and encourage serious, creative speculation about humanity's future ... onworld and offworld. See article.