Saturday, June 02, 2007

50 billion possible planetary systems, evolution of humans into Martians and ‘The New Science of Astrobiology’

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 - The discovery of 28 new planets and 7 brown dwarfs outside the Solar System was recently announced by the world's largest planet-hunting team. New and refined techniques are responsible for the large number of planets detected, and may soon help the team discover smaller, Earth-like planets around distant stars. See article.
g Cosmicus - At a recent Astrobiology Science Conference, scientists and science fiction writers faced off in front of a packed audience to debate the promise and pitfalls of terraforming Mars. In part 4 of this 7-part series, Greg Bear ponders the evolution of humans into Martians. See For related story, see “Birthplace of famous Mars meteorite pinpointed” at
g Learning - Book alert: Astrobiology is a very broad interdisciplinary field covering the origin, evolution, distribution, and destiny of life in the universe, as well as the design and implementation of missions for solar system exploration. The last section of the “The New Science of Astrobiology,” by J. Chela-Flores, consists of a supplement, including a glossary, notes and tables, which represent highly condensed `windows' into research ranging from basic sciences to earth and life sciences, as well as the humanities. These additions should make this book accessible to a wide readership: scientists, humanists, and the general reader will have an opportunity to participate in one of the most rewarding activities of contemporary culture. See