Monday, August 06, 2007

High levels of diversity within a species, putting yourself in the aliens’ situation, how proof of extraterrestrial intelligence would affect humanity

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 Life - A new study has shown that high levels of diversity within a species of organisms may allow for more rapid evolution. The findings have important implications for how we understand the evolution and diversification of life on Earth. See article.
g Message -Put yourself in the situation of the aliens, out there somewhere in the galaxy. They surmise that Earth looks promising for the emergence of intelligent life one day, but they have no idea when. There would be little point in beaming radio messages in this direction for eons in the vague hope that one day radio technology would be developed here and someone would decide to tune in, says one astrobiologist. See article. Note: this article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - NASA is exploring the possibility of sending astronauts to an asteroid, with hopes of making deep-space exploration more feasible. See article.
g Learning -Here’s a neat astrobiology lesson plan for teachers about “Life in the Universe,” courtesy the United Kingdom. It includes activities.
g Imagining -Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Murray Leinster’s short story "The Castaway,” published in the June 1953 edition of Universe magazine.
g Aftermath -How would proof of extraterrestrial intelligence affect humanity’s “world” view? Astronomer Steve Dick discusses the matter in this transcribed Smithsonian Institute lecture, from 1999.