Sunday, June 17, 2007

M dwarfs good targets in search for life, Eris larger than Pluto and hotels in 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 - More than half the stars in our galaxy are small, dim M dwarfs. Until recently, scientists believed these stars put out too little light to support life on any planets that orbited them. But at a recent workshop held at the SETI Institute, a multidisciplinary group of researchers concluded not only that M dwarfs might host habitable planets, but that they might also be good targets in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. See article.
g Abodes - Astronomers have discovered that the dwarf planet Eris is more massive than Pluto, and is likely composed of rock and ice. Objects in this little-known region of space, known as the Kuiper Belt, are important relics of the early Solar System and can teach us about a period of time when the Earth was first forming. See
g Life - Quote of the Day: "Wherever liquid water and chemical energy are found, there is life. There is no exception." — Wesley Huntress, Jr.
g Cosmicus - The design of hotels in orbit is a feast for the imagination of architects and interior designers. The basic ideas have been well understood since people lived safely in the US space station "Skylab" in 1973-74. But the cost of getting to and from orbit has remained so high that tourism hasn't got started yet, and so there's been little incentive for anyone to make the effort required to design true orbital hotels. However, remembering that the hotel industry (or "hospitality industry") is a huge, highly competitive, global industry, we can foresee that once accommodation in orbit gets started as a business, it will grow and grow as companies compete to provide more interesting services for their guests. See

Get your SF book manuscript edited