Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Black holes like piranhas, first contact between 2054 and 2104 and practical benefits to space exploration

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 -Like gluttonous piranhas, supermassive black holes in young galaxy clusters gorge on bountiful gas until little fuel is left, and then they fade away, a new study suggests. See
g Message -Dan Werthimer, director of the SERENDIP SETI program and chief scientist of SETI@home at the University of California Berkeley, predicts we’ll make first contact with an alien civilization in 50-100 years. See Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus -There are many practical benefits to space exploration. Advances in space technology have a dramatic effect on Earth technology. Benefits range from new ergonomic solutions for people who do repetitive work to industrial medical X-ray machines. Listed below are several of these benefits. See Note: This article is from 2002.
g Learning -Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of “Extraterrestrials.” In the activity, a digital radio message, intended to alert any intelligent life in space to the existence of intelligent life on Earth, has been electronically transmitted into space by the Arecibo radio dish in Puerto Rico. Students must ensure the message is effective by showing that the senders (humans from Earth) are capable of advanced thinking — but it must not depend on the ability of extraterrestrials to understand any Earth language. See
g Imagining - Those who think aliens with wrinkled noses are an infuriatingly lazy approach to depicting the potential diversity of life in the universe will find a welcome home at Biology in Science Fiction. See
g Aftermath -How will the press handle the announcement that we’ve made contact with an etraterrestrial intelligence? See