Friday, March 23, 2007

Beneath the Martian soil, interplanetary supply chain and free Astrobiology Education Poster

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 - There's a lot of ice beneath the surface of Mars, and some believe there could be liquid water as well. NASA and European Space Agency spacecraft are now using ground-penetrating radar to peek under the Martian soil. In this interview, Jeff Plaut discusses the latest findings of ESA’s MARSIS radar. See
g Message - During the early 1980s, David Brin offered an explanation for Fermi’s Paradox, which asked why if extraterrestrial life existed it wasn’t on Earth. Brin’s answer: The Zoo Hypothesis. Here’s a copy of that groundbreaking paper, “The 'Great Silence': The Controversy Concerning Extraterrestrial Life “ at
g Cosmicus - If you think shipping freight from Cincinnati to El Paso is challenging, imagine trying to deliver an oxygen generation unit from the Earth to a remote location on the moon. By 2020, NASA plans to establish a long-term human presence on the moon, potentially centered on an outpost to be built at the rim of the Shackleton crater near the lunar South Pole. See
g Learning - NASA’s free Astrobiology Education Poster illustrates in words and pictures the fundamental questions addressed by astrobiology: What is life? Where is it? How do you find it? Three activities have been developed to explore these themes. It’s great for teachers — or parents looking to spend some quality time with their children. See
g Aftermath - How might we characterize the political significance of any announcement of discovering extraterrestrial intelligence? How about using the Torino Scale, which characterizes asteroid impacts, as a model to assist the discussion and interpretation of any claimed discovery of ETI? See"Interpret