Thursday, June 21, 2007

Our solar system’s violent origin, 50 billion possible planetary systems and the joy of zero G

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 - We know that our solar system has at least one planet with life – Earth. Perhaps solar systems that formed in ways similar to our own also will have the potential for life. But how normal was the formation of our solar system? In Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition, Thierry Montmerle suggests our solar system had an unusually violent origin. See article.
g Abodes - More than 100 planets have been found outside the solar system. Some astronomers think there may be planets around up to half the stars in our galaxy alone — that's 50 billion possible planetary systems. For a series of BBC reports on planet hunting, see,
g Message -Quote of the Day: “Finding life beyond Earth — it really is just going to be a matter of persistence.” — Jack Horner
g Cosmicus - The joy of zero G? I don't really need to discuss details that people can imagine for themselves, but basically, floating has got to be fun! Anything that makes you giggle in such a situation surely has to be a good thing! Among other effects, being weightless will mean that you and your partner can maneuver round each other without danger of either of you - or any parts of you - getting squashed! No more arms or legs going numb! See

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