Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Martian caves, SETI alternatives and alien disinformation

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 - Techniques used to scope out caves on Earth have been used to identify potential entrances to caves on Mars. If caves do exist on Mars, they might serve as a habitat for life by helping to protect organisms from harsh surface radiation and other factors. See
g Life - Biologists at New York University have identified how different species use common genes to control their early development and alter how these genes are used to accommodate their own features. The findings offer new insight into the workings of developmental pathways across species. See
g Message - On an episode of “The Space Show” in 2005, Scot Stride, a senior engineer at NASA JPL in Pasadena, Calif., was the guest for this Space Show program. Stride discussed SETI programs with us and highlighted his discussion with the SETI alternatives, SETV (Search for ET Visitation) and S3ETI (Solar System SETI). Stride provided listeners with a superb background and history on SETI, how it started and how it became what it is today. He also discussed the Allen Telescope Array and what it will mean for future SETI efforts. To hear a copy of the show, see
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site that links to sites offering K-12 instructional materials on space exploration astrobiology:
g Imagining - Could the legendary dragons of Pern from Anne McCaffrey’s famous science fiction novels actually exist? Welcome to the theoretical science of dracogenetics. See
g Aftermath - Could a signal from the stars broadcast by an alien intelligence also carry harmful information, in the spirit of a computer virus? Could star folk launch a "disinformation" campaign — one that covers up aspects of their culture? Perhaps they might even mask the "real" intent of dispatching a message to other civilizations scattered throughout the cosmos. See