Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Water vapor on scorching exoplanet, visionary zeal to seek new worlds and new civilizations, building accurate science fiction 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 Stars - Nearly 12.5 million light-years away in the dwarf galaxy NGC 4449 a veritable stellar "fireworks" is on display - here shown in exquisite detail through the eyes of the Hubble Space Telescope. See article.
g Abodes - A scorching-hot gas planet beyond our solar system is steaming up with water vapor, according to new observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. See
g Message - How might we detect an extraterrestrial messenger probe already in the solar system? See Note: This article is from 1983.
g Cosmicus - A visionary zeal to seek new worlds and new civilizations is a factual enterprise for a new generation of galactic explorers. They are taking on spacetime and hoping to boldly go where no spacecraft has gone before — out to far-flung stars and the planets that circle them. There is no doubt there are worlds out there beyond our own cabal of planets, but even if you've got the heaviest of foot on the accelerator, plotting a speedy route to the stars is not easy. See
g Learning - What are university students learning about astrobiology? Check out "An Introduction to Astrobiology." Compiled by a team of experts, this textbook has been designed for elementary university courses in astrobiology. It begins with an examination of how life may have arisen on Earth and then reviews the evidence for possible life on Mars, Europa and Titan. The potential for life in exoplanetary systems and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence are also discussed. The text contains numerous useful learning features such as boxed summaries, student exercises with full solutions, and a glossary of terms. It is also supported by a Web site hosting further teaching materials. Written in an accessible style that avoids complex mathematics, this book is suitable for self-study and will appeal to amateur enthusiasts as well as undergraduate students. It contains numerous helpful learning features such as boxed summaries, student exercises with full solutions, and a glossary of terms. The book is also supported by a Website hosting further teaching materials. See http://www.sciencedaily./com/cgibin/apf4/amazon_products_feed.cgi
g Imagining - Many science fiction story lines involve alien life forms. From a literary prospective, aliens often serve as metaphors for something more familiar. From a practical prospective, they make stories more interesting and TV more eye-catching. But what of scientific accuracy? A professor offers his advice about “How to Build an Alien” at
g Aftermath - Quote of the Day: “… the universe vacant of life ... one asks why the proof is piled so high ... So intolerable is the despair that settles upon us that we instinctively protest against Mr. Wallace’s limitation... A planet may die, but a lifeless universe! — ‘that way madness lies.’” — a review of Alfred Russel Wallace’s book “Man’s Place in the Universe” (1903), which declared man was alone in the universe.”

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