Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Titan’s lakes, alien spectrometry and laser-guided asteroids

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 - A new radar image, obtained by Cassini's radar instrument during a near-polar flyby on Feb. 22, 2007, shows a big island smack in the middle of one of the larger lakes imaged on Saturn's moon Titan. The image offers further evidence that the largest lakes are at the highest latitudes. See
g Message - The spectral approach is a universal tool of both astronomical observations and SETI. Furthermore, it has a clear physical meaning – a spectrometer finds the energy distribution of photons, in human sensing it is color and pitch. Under the hypothesis on identity of physical laws in our part of universe, it may be proposed that spectrometry also are using by those aliens, who know radio and lead theirs own SETI, too. See
g Cosmicus - A team of researchers is developing unique methods for characterizing and deflecting asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth. See
g Learning - Here’s a neat new set of afterschool activities for elementary school students: “Astrobiology.” This new resource guide from the American Museum of Natural History brings astrobiology activities to the afterschool arena. As part of an 18-month project, AMNH collected NASA materials originally developed for the formal education setting, and adapted them for use in afterschool programs for participants aged 5-12. Members of NAI's NASA Ames Research Center Lead Team served as science advisors to the guide. See http://www.amnhafterschool.pdf/.g Imagining - The first step in imagining what a real alien might look like is to forget you ever watched the "The X-Files." They won't be the sinister grays Fox Mulder pursues, little green men or even jolly old E.T. And most assuredly they won't look like us. See Note: This article is from 1999.