Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Asteroid sample probe, ancient ocean creature discovered and ‘Life in the Universe’

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 - In a mission called OSIRIS, NASA plans to take a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth. "It's a treasure trove of organic material, so it holds clues to how Earth formed and life got started," said Joseph Nuth of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
See http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.phpop=modload
g Life - Paleontologists have identified a new species from 11 complete fossils of a slug-like creature covered with prickly armor that likely scooted along the ocean floor with a muscular foot more than 500 million years ago. See http://www.livescience.com/animalworld/070301_hairy_bugs.html.
g Intelligence - Two lovers, a thousand miles apart and yearning to be back in each other’s arms, may find a ray of comfort as they gaze upon the same Moon, knowing that they are bathing together in celestial light from the same source. See http://space.com/searchforlife/seti_moon_070308.html.
g Message - Looking for life elsewhere is a tough task for human or robot. The good news is that the scientific skill and tools to search for, detect and inspect extraterrestrial life are advancing rapidly. See http://www.space.com/searchforlife/lifesigns_spots_020103.html.
g Learning - Here’s a neat astrobiology lesson plan for teachers about “Life in the Universe,” courtesy the United Kingdom: www.nssc.co.uk/education/supportmaterials/PreVisitDocs/KS4
. It includes activities.
g Imagining - In Ridley Scott's 1979 slimy monster masterpiece "Alien," the extraterrestrial life form discovered by Sigourney Weaver and crew goes through two startlingly different phases after it hatches. Is such a change during the life of an animal mere sci fi license? Not really. In fact, many earthlings go through similar drastic changes in form. See http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.phpop=modload
. Note: This article is from March 2001.