Sunday, July 15, 2007

Infrared universe, Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence and NASA exploration systems administrator stepping down

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 -One year after the beginning of its scientific operations, the high-capability infrared satellite AKARI continues to produce stunning views of the infrared Universe. See
g Message -Researchers in the former USSR were long interested in the detection of radio signals originating from extraterrestrial intelligence. The Soviets named their program CETI, or Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The acronym SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) was adopted by the Workshop and by the Ames Research Center to differentiate our own efforts from those of the Soviet Union and to emphasize the search aspects of the proposed program. The Soviet plans for their CETI efforts have been summarized in "The CETI Program," Sov. Astron., vol. 18, no. 5, March-April 1975, which is available in total at
g Cosmicus - Scott "Doc" Horowitz, NASA's associate administrator for exploration systems since late 2005, plans to step down this fall. See
g Learning - There may be numerous intelligent civilizations on planets throughout our galaxy. That's the hypothesis driving SETI research. We seek evidence of extraterrestrial technology using optical and radio telescopes to search for signals that emanate from other civilized worlds. These places are far, far away. But, when discussing the search with school children, they often simply ask, "Why don't we just go there?" This can be a teachable moment. See Note: This article is from Dec. 2003.
g Imagining -Why weren’t there classes like this when I was in school? Recently, Prof. Joan Slonczewski taught “Biology 103: Biology in Science Fiction” at Kenyon College. Here’s her book reading list: It’s all great reading, whether you’re in the class or not. Of course, if Slonczewski taught in Dover, Pa., her class would first have to be read the statement, “The theory that human authors wrote this book is not a fact and continues to be tested. Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of these books that differs from publishers’ views."
g Aftermath - Quote of the Day: “There are two possibilities: Maybe we're alone. Maybe we're not. Both are equally frightening" — Isaac Asimov