Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hubble studies exoplanet’s atmosphere, Phoenix lander and communicating nanotechnology

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 - NASA's powerful Hubble Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to study for the first time the layer-cake structure of a planet orbiting another star. SEE
g Message - We’ve all heard of SETI, bit what about METI — “Messaging to Extraterrestrial Intelligence,” or sending both scientific and artistic messages to the stars? See
g Cosmicus - NASA’s next mission to Mars—the Phoenix lander—is undergoing readiness testing in preparation for an early August launch window.
g Learning - With consumer applications in everything from clothing, personal-care products and sporting goods to air purification systems, computers and home appliances, nanotechnology rapidly is becoming an integral part of everyday life. Yet survey results show that public audiences largely lack awareness and understanding of nanotechnology concepts, says Olivia Castellini, a former postdoctoral researcher with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Interdisciplinary Education Group. See
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Murray Leinster’s short story "The Castaway,” published in the June 1953 edition of Universe magazine.
g Aftermath - How to predict reactions to receipt of evidence for an otherworldly intelligence? Some scientists argue that any unpredictable outcomes can only be judged against our own history. See