Tuesday, February 27, 2007

‘Breathing’ alien air, inner workings of the brain and students explore limits of life on Earth

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 Spitzer Space Telescope has captured for the first time enough light from planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to identify signatures of molecules in their atmospheres. The landmark achievement is a significant step toward being able to detect life on rocky exoplanets and comes years before astronomers had anticipated. See http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0702/21exoplanets/.
g Intelligence - The inner workings of the brain aren’t as organized as once thought. According to a new study, it’s mayhem up there. See http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/070227_brain_chaos.html.
g Learning - Here’s an interesting classroom activity: “Who Can Live Here?” Students explore the limits of life on Earth to extend their beliefs about life to include its possibility on other worlds. See http://btc.montana.edu/ceres/astrobiology/LabActivities/