Friday, June 15, 2007

Life-bearing M dwarfs, ‘greenery’ on other planets and surviving the trip to orbit

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 Stars -The commonest stars in the universe aren't very Sun-like, but they could still have life-bearing planets, say Jill Tarter and Peter Backus (SETI Institute) and 30 other researchers. See Note: This article is from late 2006.
g Abodes -Quote of the Day: To reject the idea of plurality of worlds would be “to narrow our conceptions of God’s character.” —1825 textbook for use in American girls’ schools
g Life - The greenery on other planets may not be green. Astrobiologists say plants on Earth-sized planets orbiting stars somewhat brighter than the Sun may look yellow or orange, while those on planets orbiting stars much fainter than the Sun might look black. See
g Cosmicus - A lot of people think you need to be a superman to survive the trip to orbit, or to live there. But it's not true. This is just a myth - largely based on fictional stories and movies from before the first space flight was made. (Remember Tintin and friends blacking out? Or the strained expressions on people's faces in old space movies?) The fact is that acceleration of even several Gs is no problem at all so long as you're lying on your back. It doesn't hurt. It's not even hard to breathe. It's like having a baby lying on your chest. But it's not uncomfortable so long as you're lying on something soft. And there's no need for an individually contoured couch! See