Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stars born alone, how planets form around red dwarfs and why spaceplanes are impossible

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 - Most of the stars in the Milky Way are born alone and live out their lives without partners, a new analysis suggests. If true, the work overturns standard theories that stars are born in broods and also suggests planets – and potentially life – may be more common in the galaxy than thought. See article. Note: This article is from early 2006.
g Abodes - A recent study brings new insight into how planets form around red dwarfs, the most populous stars in the Milky Way galaxy. See article. Note: This article is from late 2006.
g Life - Quote of the Day: “It isn’t conceivable, really, that there would not be life.” — George Lucas
g Cosmicus - Everyone's seen pictures of rockets taking off - both real ones and imaginary ones. And everyone's seen pictures of spaceplanes taking off - but they're all imaginary - because they're impossible! (or at least, be prepared for a long wait). The basic problem for designers of reusable space vehicles is achieving the velocity needed to reach orbit without carrying so much fuel that the vehicle is either too heavy to get there or unable to carry anything other than fuel. So the answer is either to make the vehicle very light, or to find a way around having to carry all that fuel. See article.

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