Friday, February 23, 2007

Sun’s energetic outbursts, Mars’ subterranean natural plumbing system and decoding ET’s messages.

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 - Although very close to the minimum of its 11-year sunspot cycle, the Sun showed that it is still capable of producing a series of remarkably energetic outbursts, the joint ESA/NASA Ulysses mission revealed. See
g Abodes - A Mars-orbiting spacecraft has spotted a subterranean natural plumbing system that might have ferried water beneath the surface of the red planet in the distant past. See
g Intelligence - The lineages of humans and chimpanzees, our closest relatives, diverged from one another about 4.1 million years ago, according to a new estimate that is said to be far more precise than previous ranges for this critical evolutionary moment. See
g Learning - There’s a neat set of online activities, primarily for older teens or young adults, about communicating with extraterrestrial intelligence at It helps students learn about SETI while they send one another messages then decode them, as if they were alien civilizations on distant worlds.