Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Formation of planetesimals, ’Alien Tongue’ and fresh strategies in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence

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 - Tiny crystals in a meteorite are shedding light on the formation of planetesimals – small objects in space that can eventually become planets. The findings are teaching researchers about the history and evolution of the Earth and the early Solar System. See article.
g Life - A robot that slinks along the ground and winds through water like a salamander is helping scientists understand how animals walked from aquatic environments onto land millions of years ago. See article. Note: This article is from March 2007.
g Cosmicus -Quote of the Day: "Man must at all costs overcome the Earth's gravity and have, in reserve, the space at least of the Solar System." ­ - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity: “Alien Safari.” New from NASA PlanetQuest, Alien Safari can be used in your classrooms or informal education settings to help kids discover some of the most extreme organisms on our planet, and find out what they are telling astrobiologists about the search for life beyond Earth.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Stephen Leigh’s novel “Alien Tongue,” published by Bantam Spectra in 1991.
g Aftermath - The scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence is accelerating its pace and adopting fresh strategies. This increases the likelihood of successful detection in the near future. Humanity's first contact with alien intelligence will trigger extraordinary attention from the media, from government authorities, and from the general public. By improving our readiness for contact, especially for security during the first 30 days, we can avoid the most negative scenarios — and also enhance humanity's benefits from this first contact with an alien intelligence. Six potential problem areas include communicating with the media and the public, communicating with scientific colleagues, government control, an assassin or saboteur, well-meaning officials and lawsuits. See article.