Friday, July 20, 2007

Indecipherable messages from ETI, first contact in real time and Charon as ice machine

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 - The orbiting X-ray telescopes XXM-Newton and Chandra have caught a pair of galaxy clusters merging into a giant cluster. The discovery adds to existing evidence that galaxy clusters can collide faster than previously thought. See
g Abodes - Frigid geysers spewing material up through cracks in the crust of Pluto's companion Charon and recoating parts of its surface in ice crystals could be making this distant world into the equivalent of an outer solar system ice machine. See
g Message -The chances are there's life out there, but any messages could be thousands of years old and indecipherable. See Note: This article is from May 2005.
g Cosmicus -Quote of the Day: "Men are weak now, and yet they transform the Earth's surface. In millions of years their might will increase to the extent that they will change the surface of the Earth, its oceans, the atmosphere and themselves. They will control the climate and the Solar System just as they control the Earth. They will travel beyond the limits of our planetary system; they will reach other suns, and use their fresh energy instead of the energy of their dying luminary." — Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
g Learning -Here’s a great educational tool for teaching astrobiology and various principles of science: COTI. COTI is an educational experiment in creation — students design an integrated world, alien life form and culture, and simulate contact with a future human society. One team constructs a solar system, a world and its ecology, an alien life form and its culture, basing each step on the previous one and utilizing the principles of science as a guide to imagination. The other team designs a future human colony, planetary or spacefaring, "creating and evolving" its culture as an exercise in cultural structure, dynamics and adaptation. Through a structured system of progressive revelation, the teams then simulate — and experience — contact between the two cultures in real time, exploring the problems and possibilities involved in inter-cultural encounters. See
g Imagining -Like stories about alien anthropology and cultures? Then be sure to read Robert Silverberg’s “Downward to the Earth” (1970), in which a colonial administrator tries to do justice to alien culture. See
g Aftermath -Two-thirds of adults think there are other forms of intelligent life in the universe, according to a recent Roper poll. This belief tends to be more prevalent among males, adults ages 64 or younger, and residents of the Northeast as opposed to North Central and South. See