Saturday, October 27, 2007

’On-the-spot’ evidence of Martian water, message in a bottle and digital radio message

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 - A mysterious white substance churned out of the Martian dust by the wheels of the Spirit rover is the first "on-the-spot" evidence of water beneath the surface of the Red Planet, researchers at a Canadian university say. See article.
g Intelligence - Can Darwinism explain the birth and extinction of art movements, or the enduring appeal of Jane Austen? See article. Note: This article is from 2006.
g Message - A recent study suggests it is more energy efficient to communicate across interstellar space by sending physical material — a sort of message in a bottle — than beams of electromagnetic radiation. Solid matter can hold more information and journey farther than radio waves, which disperse as they travel. See article.
g Cosmicus - "All the Universe is full of the life of perfect creatures." - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
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 Murray Leinster’s novel “The Greks Bring Gifts,” published by MacFadden in 1964.
g Aftermath - A detection of extraterrestrial intelligence will profoundly effect all inhabitants of our planet. The scientific community has realized that the keys to ensure a beneficial and rewarding encounter is education and preparation, and these two characteristics apply to many facets of a detection. See article.

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