Monday, February 05, 2007

Hidden shapes of alternative universes, Titan’s giant cloud and Coalition for Space Exploration

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 - Peering backward in time to an instant after the big bang, physicists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have devised an approach that may help unlock the hidden shapes of alternate dimensions of the universe. See
g Abodes - A giant cloud half the size of the United States has been imaged on Saturn's moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft. The cloud may be responsible for the material that fills the lakes discovered last year by Cassini's radar instrument. See
g Message - Since SETI first became a subject for serious scientific research, scientists have come up with many possible ways to detect the presence of other civilizations by searching our part of the galaxy for signs of artificially created signals. Using many different kinds of detection equipment and novel concepts, investigators labored away in their electronics laboratories and observatories dreaming, that one day, the signs they had been searching for would be found. See
g Cosmicus - The Coalition for Space Exploration was formed early in 2004 to show industry support for the Vision for Space Exploration. The coalition is a diverse group of companies, nonprofit organizations, trade associations and unions. See
g Learning - The research scientists aren’t the only ones getting excited about astrobiology. This new discipline has tremendous potential for revolutionizing science education. It is rich with exciting content to engage those who generally don’t consider themselves scientifically oriented, and also for opening the ears and minds of adults who may want a new reason to visit their local science center. See Note: This article is from 2000.
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 - Award-winning author Paul Davies, an eminent scientist who writes like a science fiction novelist, explores the ramifications of successful contact with alien life in his fascinating book, "Are We Alone? Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life." "The discovery of a single extraterrestrial microbe," he writes, "would drastically alter our world view and change our society as profoundly as the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions. It could truly be described as the greatest scientific discovery of all time." Though a decade old, the book still is a great read. See