Friday, January 19, 2007

Iconic space pillars may be gone, New Horizons closes on Jupiter’s moons and detectable technological manifestations of ET

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 - The three iconic space pillars photographed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 might have met their demise, according to new evidence from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. See
g Abodes - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is currently en route to Pluto, but when it passes by Jupiter this year, the craft will also perform observations of the solar system's largest planet as well Jupiter's four major moons. See
g Life - Scientists have unearthed the fossil of a young, two-headed marine reptile that lived when dinosaurs still walked the Earth. See
g Message - What technological manifestations would make an advanced extraterrestrial civilization detectable? See Note: This paper was written in 1992.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom resource courtesy of NASA: “Life on Earth … and Elsewhere?” This booklet contains 5 classroom activities for grades 5-10 spanning topics from "Defining Life," to "Determining the Chances of Extraterrestrial Life." See http://www.erg.pdf/.
g Imagining - There’s a neat Web site, Sector 001, that reviews the appearance of dozens of “Star Trek” aliens at It also includes some speculations about each one, particularly why so many are humanoid.
g Aftermath - Alien encounters and science fiction permeate pop culture, but what would it really mean if scientists found life beyond Earth? If even a single-celled organism on another planet was discovered, for many, this would be the last thread of evidence proving that life is simply chemistry. See Note: This article is from 2003.