Friday, January 12, 2007

Gas giant formation, modifying the Drake Equation and the keys to ensure beneficial and rewarding encounter

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 - Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn either form within the first 10 million years of a sun-like star's life, or not at all. Learning about gas giant formation is important for understanding solar system evolution and the potential for life. See
g Message - Should we modify the Drake Equation to account for civilizations which actually engage in deliberate interstellar transmission? See
g Learning - Here’s a good primer to astrobiology that discusses what is astrobiology, lists the types of questions astrobiology seeks to answer, describes how one can become an astrobiologist, and recommends some books in the field. See
g Imagining - Like stories about alien anthropology/cultures? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for C.J. Cherryh’s series “The Foreigner Universe,” which includes “Foreigner” (1994), “Invader” (1995) and “Inheritor” (1996). The series traces our dealings with the proud Atevi from first contact, as the single ambassador they will allow on planet tries to prevent war.
g Aftermath - A detection of extraterrestrial intelligence will profoundly effect all inhabitants of our planet. The scientific community has realized that the keys to ensure a beneficial and rewarding encounter is education and preparation, and these two characteristics apply to many facets of a detection. See