Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sun’s profound implications for the habitability of Earth, detecting extrasolar planet’s orbit and communicating space exploration's benefits

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 Stars - By mapping convection cells in Earth's magnetic field for the first time, scientists have shown that the behavior of the cells is linked to solar activity. The activity of our Sun has profound implications for the habitability of Earth, and studying this connection can help us understand the conditions for habitability beyond our Solar System. See article.
g Abodes - Discovering new planets that orbit distant stars has become commonplace. But now a team of astronomers has managed to predict the orbit of an extrasolar planet - before anyone knew for certain that it existed. The last time that happened was more than 150 years ago. See article.
g Life - Book alert: “Astrobiology: Origins from the Big-bang to Civilisation”, by Julián Chela Flores, Guillermo A. Lemarchand and John Oró, concerns the origin, evolution, distribution, and destiny of life in the universe. It discusses the transition from inert matter to cellular life and its evolution to fully developed intelligent lifeforms on Earth. Click here for a peak inside the book (and for order information).
g Message - A technique used to discover the small rocky world that was announced last year also could be used to detect a transmitter with the power of your local TV station at a distance of a hundred light-years, even if the alien broadcasters weren’t beaming our way. See article. Note: This article is from 2006.
g Cosmicus - Scientists need to better communicate space exploration's benefits, an astronomer says. See article. Note: This article is from 1999.
g Learning - Are you a future SETI scientist? See article. Note: This article is from Feb. 2001.