Sunday, September 16, 2007

Creating artificial life, Mega-Channel Extraterrestrial Assay and understanding alien signals

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 - Using observations and theoretical studies, scientists are building a portrait of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ESA's Rossetta spacecraft will rendezvous with the comet in 2014 in order to study the comet's composition in detail. See article.
g Life - At the Los Alamos National Laboratory, scientists are trying to create artificial life. In this interview, Hans Ziock discusses the progress made so far, and the steps that still need to be taken for life to arise in the lab. See article.
g Message - SETI research isn’t limited to a single facility listening to radio signals. Another dimension of the program is The Mega-Channel Extraterrestrial Assay, which searched the Southern Hemisphere's skies briefly during the 1990s. See article.
g Cosmicus - Space science in India has been growing in leaps and bounds with Indian Space Research Organisation focusing on moon research and India launching the AstroSat, a multi-wavelength astronomy satellite, next year. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of “Extraterrestrials.” In the activity, a digital radio message, intended to alert any intelligent life in space to the existence of intelligent life on Earth, has been electronically transmitted into space by the Arecibo radio dish in Puerto Rico. Students must ensure the message is effective by showing that the senders (humans from Earth) are capable of advanced thinking — but it must not depend on the ability of extraterrestrials to understand any Earth language. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Cherry Wilder’s "The Ark of James Carlyle," published in “New Writers in SF 24” (1974).
g Aftermath - How would humans react the day after ET landed? A nationwide survey by the Roper Organization in 1999 found that the following: “ out of four Americans think most people would “totally freak out and panic” if such evidence were confirmed. See article.