Thursday, September 06, 2007

NASA’s latest mission to Mars, three SETI fallacies and Astronomy Online

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 - Phoenix, NASA’s latest mission to Mars, will land in the planet’s northern polar region. It will dig down into the permafrost, which lies just below the surface, and look for signs of past habitability. See article.
g Life - Dinosaurs had sex well before they reached full physical maturity, just as crocodiles and people can, research now reveals. See article.
g Message - Many common ideas about SETI just aren’t true, but that doesn't prevent them from popping up in popular articles, blogs, books and even movies. Here are three of my favorite fallacies about SETI. See article.
g Cosmicus - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the latest U.S. mission to Mars — the Phoenix Mars Lander — has passed two in-flight checks. See article.
g Learning - Astronomy Online provides a wealth of resources and information for teachers, students, or anyone interested in astronomy. The content is arranged into nine broad categories including Observation, Science, Solar System, Stars, Our Galaxy, Cosmology, Astrobiology, Exoplanets, and Astrophotography. See review.
g Imagining - Ever wondered how all those traditional space-opera and epic-fantasy races - the pig-faced warriors, the smug bumheads, and all the rest - came up with their wonderfully clichéd alien vocabularies? It's not difficult; once you've mastered these basic rules, you'll be able to produce names and phrases just as stereotypical as theirs. See article.
g Aftermath - How will an alien visit influence the world’s religions? Here’s one common man’s view.