Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Scientists release report on astrobiologists should look, responses to the Fermi Paradox and altruistic aliens

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 - Like a hawk's eyes, the high resolution cameras on NASA's Cassini spacecraft have spotted yet another small, previously unknown moon circling giant Saturn and one which may indicate the existence of other small bodies in the same region. See article.
g Life - Life as we know it on Earth is not the only kind possible in the universe, scientists reminded NASA in a report released earlier this month. See article.
g Message -There’s a nice summary of various astrobiological authors on the Fermi Paradox, or the question of why, if there supposedly are so many aliens, we haven’t met any of them yet, at this site.
g Cosmicus - NASA is looking for a way to accelerate its long-planned Mars sample return mission, possibly by fitting upcoming landers like the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory with sample caches that could be retrieved and delivered back to Earth later. See article.
g Learning - Water. It's essential for life as best we know it. Almost three-fourths of the Earth is covered with water. We live on the pale blue dot, and our lives depend fundamentally on water. Yet, just after Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago, the surface was mostly dry. "So, where did the water come from?" asked a high school teacher this morning at the Astrobiology Summer Science Institute for Teachers here at San Francisco State University. It's a good question that his students are very likely to ask as they study the evolution of our planetary system. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Timothy Zahn’s novel “Conqueror's Pride,” published by Bantam Spectra in 1994.
g Aftermath -Should we really expect extraterrestrials to be sympathetic to our pleas to be altruistic because of the symbolic kinship we might share with them? See http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_vakoch_030321.html. Note: This article is from March 2003.