Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dots harboring life, search for extraterrestrial probes and space elevators

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 - The Voyager 1 spacecraft, after traveling about 4 billion miles into space, turned around and looked back home. From such a distance, the Earth appeared as a pale blue dot, a single point of light suspended in the vast blackness of space. If aliens from much more distant worlds were to look at our solar system, the Earth, if it could be seen at all, would seem even more tiny and faint. How could they know that dot of light represents a world teeming with life? See article.
g Message - Interstellar spacecraft are superior to electromagnetic wave propagation for extrasolar exploration and communication. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence should include a search for extraterrestrial probes. See article. Note: This article is from 1983.
g Cosmicus - How would a space elevator work? See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Learning - "Teacher, why do I need to learn this?" "What’s it good for?" Students ask these questions when faced with content that seems unrelated to their lives. Motivating students is fundamental to promoting achievement in any classroom, even in science, which encompasses the entire natural world, the whole universe. Good questions and quality experiences support science learning for all students, not just those who are already science-friendly. The relatively new discipline of astrobiology asks great questions that intrigue students. See article.
g Aftermath - The scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence is accelerating its pace and adopting fresh strategies. This increases the likelihood of successful detection in the near future. Humanity's first contact with alien intelligence will trigger extraordinary attention from the media, from government authorities, and from the general public. By improving our readiness for contact, especially for security during the first 30 days, we can avoid the most negative scenarios — and also enhance humanity's benefits from this first contact with an alien intelligence. Six potential problem areas include communicating with the media and the public, communicating with scientific colleagues, government control, an assassin or saboteur, well-meaning officials and lawsuits. See article.

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