Monday, January 15, 2007

Twenty new star systems in our neighborhood, the Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts and ‘The Plausibility of Interstellar Communication …’

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 - A recent study found 20 new star systems in the sun’s local neighborhood. Most of the new discoveries are red dwarfs, much smaller and dimmer than the sun. Yet scientists are growing more confident that these stars could host habitable planets. See
g Abodes - If indeed "a diamond is forever," the most primitive origins of Earth's so-called black diamonds were in deep, universal time, geologists have discovered. Black diamonds came from none other than interstellar space. See
g Message - The Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts, or SETA, is about delineating between the artificial and the real. In the case of radio detection from other stellar systems, the artificial is what is labeled the real signal that intelligent communications are on-air. See Note: This article is a couple of years old.
g Cosmicus - A very small NASA satellite has proven that scientists can quickly design and launch a new class of inexpensive spacecraft - and conduct significant science. See
g Learning - Here’s a neat set of lessons, designed for at-risk students: “The Plausibility of Interstellar Communication and Related Phenomena Depicted in Science Fiction Literature and the Movies.” The curriculum has four major objectives: first, to educate students to develop concepts about the proximity of our solar system in relation to other probable solar systems in the Milky Way Galaxy; second, to give students the opportunity to use these concepts to evaluate the plausibility of interstellar communication depicted in science fiction literature and movies; third, to create an opportunity for students not only to look out on the universe but to turn it inward to look at the world, their own society, and themselves as individuals; and fourth, an objective that will be integrated with all of the others is to give students to opportunity to learn and/or sharpen skills in: using the scientific method, research, reading, writing, collaboration, discussion and in critical thinking. See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Carol Car and Karen Haber’s short story "First Contact, Sort of" appearing in the anthology “The Ultimate Alien” (edited by Keith R. A. DeCandido, John Betancourt and Byron Preiss; published by Dell in 1995).
g Aftermath - Even if the public seems less than awestruck by the prospect that alien life is a bunch of microscopic bugs, astrobiologists say unequivocal discovery of microbial life beyond Earth will change human society in profound ways, some unfathomable today. See Note: This article is from 2001.