Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Planetary habitability, zapping Martian rocks and extinct alien races

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 - Planetary habitability is the measure of an astronomical body's (planets and natural satellites of planets) potential to develop and sustain life. The only absolute requirement for life is an energy source, but the notion of planetary habitability implies that many other geophysical, geochemical, and astrophysical criteria must be met before an astronomical body can support life. See article.
g Life - Quote of the Day: “One piece of evidence that suggests the probability of primitive forms of life appearing may be reasonably high, is that life seems to have appeared on Earth shortly after the Earth cooled sufficiently for life to be possible. If life was very improbable, one might have expected life not to have appeared until late in the 10 billion or so years that the Earth has to live.” — Stephen W. Hawking
g Cosmicus - Mars mission Job One: Get there. Job Two: Find rocks and zap them with your laser tool. Now learn the nature of the debris by spectrographically analyzing the ensuing dust and fragments. It's every kid's dream, vaporizing pebbles on other planets, and thanks to a team at Los Alamos National Laboratory, it's going to happen. See
g Learning - Here’s the ultimate Web site for an introduction to astrobiology. “Astrobiology: The Living Universe” is a comprehensive and educational guide to life on Earth and beyond. This site features sections on the chemical origin of life, evolution, planetary biology, the search for extraterrestrial life, supporting humans in space and exobiology. See
g Imagining -What about the invading aliens from the X-Files: Are they plausible? A book released a few years ago that addresses the topic is “The Science of the X-Files,” by Jeanne Cavelos. There’s a review of the book (look near the end for a discussion on the extraterrestrial biology) at
g Aftermath - How might explorers determine what happened to an extinct alien race based on the clues they left behind on their home planet? See

Get your SF book manuscript edited

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future