Saturday, October 06, 2007

Planet orbiting star near end of its life, ‘Ask an Astrobiologist’ and predicting reactions to receipt of evidence for an otherworldly intelligence

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 - An international team of astronomers that includes Steve Kawaler of Iowa State University has announced the first discovery of a planet orbiting a star near the end of its life. The announcement, culminating seven years of research, will be published in the Sept. 13 issue of the journal Nature. See article.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the Day: “We embark on this quest not from a simple desire but from a mandate of our species to search for our place in the cosmos.” — Neil De Grasse Tyson
g Learning - Here’s something neat for kids: Ask an Astrobiologist: NASA's Astrobiology Institute Website lists on-line questions and responses on astrobiology; gives profiles of eminent astrobiologists. See article.
g Imagining - An impressive listing of “Star Trek” aliens exists at “Star Trek Aliens”. Of course, most “Star Trek” aliens either are just humanoid (an unlikely scenario, though the series did explain it away by saying a previous humanoid race “seeded” worlds with their DNA) are incorporeal. Still, the series did offer some intriguing species — most notably the horta, tribble and Species 8472 — merit attention.
g Aftermath - How to predict reactions to receipt of evidence for an otherworldly intelligence? Some scientists argue that any unpredictable outcomes can only be judged against our own history. See article.

No comments: