Monday, December 11, 2006

Water’s role in life, spectrometry in alien SETI and aftereffects of contact between two intelligent cultures

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 Abodes - At the Astrobiology Science Conference last March, Astrobiology Magazine organized a debate about alien life. Using Peter Ward’s book, “Life As We Do Not Know It” as a launching pad, the participants debated everything from how to define “life” to what kind of strange aliens we can expect to find in our explorations. In part two of this seven-part series, Steve Benner plays with the belief that water is necessary for life. See
g Message - The spectral approach is a universal tool of both astronomical observations and SETI. Furthermore, it has a clear physical meaning – a spectrometer finds the energy distribution of photons, in human sensing it is color and pitch. Under the hypothesis on identity of physical laws in our part of universe, it may be proposed that spectrometry also are using by those aliens, who know radio and lead theirs own SETI, too. See
g Learning - How are key concepts of astrobiology treated in science fiction? See Note: This article is from 2001 and intended to be used as part of a classroom lesson.
g Imagining - Ever wondered how all those traditional space-opera and epic-fantasy races - the pig-faced warriors, the smug bumheads, and all the rest - came up with their wonderfully clichéd alien vocabularies? It's not difficult; once you've mastered these basic rules, you'll be able to produce names and phrases just as stereotypical as theirs. See
g Aftermath - Among scientists involved in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, it’s quite common to be focused on the future, ever mindful that it could take years, or even decades, to find a signal from otherworldly intelligence. But if historian Steve Dick has his way, astronomers will also turn their attention toward the past as they search for life beyond Earth — to discover the aftereffects of contact between two intelligent cultures. See
. Note: This article is from 2003.