Friday, September 07, 2007

Analogue for Martian springs, Frank Drake interview and why we need astrobiology

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 - Is the biogeochemistry of hypersaline springs supporting a mid-continent marine ecosystem an analogue for Martian springs? See article.
g Life - Astrobiology Magazine recently interviewed Dr. Baruch Blumberg about hepatitis B, his current research, and the role of viruses in the evolution of life on Earth. See article.
g Message - Here’s a neat piece: an interview with Frank Drake, the astronomer and pioneer who flipped the "on" switch for Project Ozma, the first modern “SETI” project. See article. Note: The interview is from April 2000.
g Cosmicus - Why do the United States and NASA need astrobiology? An astrobiologist answers. Note: This article is from 2006.
g Learning - If science communications in astrobiology is about researchers sharing their results, the audience for new findings may well turn out to be a surprising finding in itself. John Horack, one of the principal Internet architects for how a Webby-award winning NASA site found its audience, explains new ways to view the problem of sharing science. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies/environments? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for Harlan Ellison’s (ed.) “Medea: Harlan's World” (1985), a symposium on alien creation.
g Aftermath - Some of the best discussion of the consequences of alien contact occurs in science fiction. Here’s a novel that ranks among the most important in that dialogue: Arthur C. Clark’s “Songs of a Distant Earth.” Look for it at your library or local used book store.