Saturday, October 13, 2007

Enceladus’ geysers, life off Earth and sending artistic messages to the stars

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 - Slushy geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus erupt from fractures clustered around a hot spot at the satellite's south pole, scientists have now confirmed. See article.
g Life - Life can be found in almost every nook and cranny of our planet Earth. Leaping, swimming, flying, sprinting, slithering, crawling or rooted firmly in place, organisms appear, die, and are replaced by new generations and new species. Whether a similar bounty of life exists elsewhere in the universe is one of the oldest and most tantalizing questions of science. Considering the wide breadth of the universe and the countless stars it contains, the odds would seem in favor of the answer being "yes." See article.
g Message - We’ve all heard of SETI, bit what about METI — “Messaging to Extraterrestrial Intelligence,” or sending both scientific and artistic messages to the stars? See article.
g Cosmicus - Antarctica is the best place on Earth to hunt for meteorites. Scientists have been successfully engaged in the search for decades. But maybe robots could do the job just as well. See article.
g Learning - Ken Bain knows a lot about teaching. He learned some of it from 41 years in the classroom, some from the research of fellow scholars - and some from an 18-month-old grandson who was savvy about cell phones. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Jack McDevitt’s novel, The Hercules Text, published by Ace in 1986.
g Aftermath - Scientists should pay greater attention to discussing the social implications of discovering extraterrestrial life - even though many researchers shy away from the subject because they don't consider it "hard" science. See article.