Sunday, December 10, 2006

Galaxy evolution, genetic archaeology and try No. 2 for space shuttle

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 revealed that the evolution and formation of galaxies is strongly influenced by their surrounding environment. The new results will help scientists better understand the history of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. See http://www.
g Life - A bit of genetic archaeology is giving clues to one of the greatest gender bending mysteries in the world of fish: How did a family of fish come to embrace male pregnancy? See
g Intelligence - Ancient remains, once thought to be a key link in the evolution of mankind, have now been shown to be 400,000 years too young to be a part of man's family tree. See
g Message - Just how does SETI work? Here’s a good primer for those looking to get a basic overview:
g Cosmicus - Today is launch try No. 2 for space shuttle Discovery. Fueling is finally underway after activities fell behind schedule at the pad. Weather conditions at the 8:47 p.m. EST launch time continue to be a worry. See
g Aftermath - The scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence is accelerating its pace and adopting fresh strategies. This increases the likelihood of successful detection in the near future. Humanity's first contact with alien intelligence will trigger extraordinary attention from the media, from government authorities, and from the general public. By improving our readiness for contact, especially for security during the first 30 days, we can avoid the most negative scenarios — and also enhance humanity's benefits from this first contact with an alien intelligence. Six potential problem areas include communicating with the media and the public, communicating with scientific colleagues, government control, an assassin or saboteur, well-meaning officials and lawsuits. See