Tuesday, August 21, 2007

X-Rays help understand giant bugs, distinguishing alien messages from background noise and Star Trek’s Organians

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 - Researchers are using X-Ray images to understand why giant insects that lived on the Earth millions of years ago disappeared. The study is providing insight into how life on Earth and the planet’s climate interact. See article.
g Message - If we are not alone in the universe, why have we never picked up signals from an extraterrestrial civilization? Known as the Fermi paradox after physicist Enrico Fermi, who first posed the question, this long-standing puzzle remains one of the strongest arguments against the existence of intelligent aliens. But two physicists say they have come up with a solution. They suggest a way in which aliens could send messages to each other across space that not only disguises their locations but also makes it impossible for a casual observer to even distinguish the messages from background noise. See article. Note: This article is from May 2003.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the Day: "The blue distance, the mysterious Heavens, the example of birds and insects flying everywhere, - are always beckoning Humanity to rise into the air." – Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity that examines if yeast, a common yet tenacious microbe, can survive boiling water, salt, UV radiation and citric acid? Students find out for themselves by creating "Planets in a Bottle" which illustrate extreme conditions on other worlds. See article.
g Imagining - Can life ever be noncorporeal, as are Star Trek’s Organians? See article.
g Aftermath - The next big discovery in science will be the proof that alien life exists — and it could come any day now. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.