Friday, August 24, 2007

Viking soil samples may contain life, relating to an alien species and inducing out-of-body experiences

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 - Martian soil analyzed 30 years ago by NASA's Viking landers might contain life, according to a new controversial study. See article.
g Life - It’s a question as common as brown dogs: Will alien life be carbon-based? See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Intelligence - Using virtual-reality goggles, a camera and a stick, scientists have induced out-of-body experiences — the sensation of drifting outside of one’s own body — in ordinary, healthy people, according to studies being published today in the journal Science. See article.
g Message - Want to help SETI discover alien life? If you haven’t already done so, download the free SETI at Home software. Using Internet-connected computers, the program downloads and analyzes radio telescope data on your desktop when it is idle. The program has been so successful in plowing through data that other scientific researchers, especially in medicine, are adopting it to their fields.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the Day: “We have said a great deal about the advantages of migration into space, but not all can be said or even imagined.” - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: “The Rare Earth.” How special are the circumstances that have allowed complex life, like animals and plants, to develop on Earth? In this activity, students systematically investigate the time frame for complex life to develop on Earth. See article.
g Aftermath - Could humanity ever relate to an alien species? Consider the questioning context of these online speculations about why "Star Trek is human centered?" The latter is an interesting question, possibly creating a situation dealing with a prejudice on the behalf of the writers and producers. However, would a series completely dedicated to another species, such as the Romulans, be successful in a television market? Is it possible that the reasons it wouldn’t be might indicate humanity may care little about an alien species other than as a potential threat? See article.