Thursday, December 21, 2006

Machine vs. biological intelligence among aliens, aliens living on the Sun and guidelines for discovery of non-intelligent 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 Message - SETI scientists speculate on whether or not the first extraterrestrial intelligence they contact will be machine intelligence or biological intelligence. See article. Note: This article is from 2000.
g Learning - There’s a neat set of online activities, primarily for older teens or young adults, about communicating with extraterrestrial intelligence at It helps students learn about SETI while they send one another messages then decode them, as if they were alien civilizations on distant worlds.
g Imagining - Could fictional aliens ever live on the Sun? See
g Aftermath - While formal principles have been adopted for the eventuality of detecting intelligent life in our galaxy, no such guidelines exist for the discovery of non-intelligent extraterrestrial life within the solar system. Current scientifically based planetary protection policies for solar system exploration address how to undertake exploration, but do not provide clear guidance on what to do if and when life is detected. Considering that Martian life could be detected under several different robotic and human exploration scenarios in the coming decades, it is appropriate to anticipate how detection of non-intelligent, microbial life could impact future exploration missions and activities, especially on Mars. See{B0D4BC0E-D59B-4CD0-9E79-113953A58644}/m_race_guidelines.pdf.