Friday, November 09, 2007

Embryonic planets, advancing key space technologies and afterschool astrobiology

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 - Astronomers at the University of Rochester are pointing to three nearby stars they say may hold "embryonic planets" — a missing link in planet-formation theories. See article.
g Life - Unlike normal jellyfish, which drift in the ocean current, box jellyfish are active swimmers that can rapidly make 180-degree turns and deftly dart between objects. Scientists suspect that box jellyfish are such agile because one set of their 24 eyes detects objects that get in their way. See article.
g Intelligence - While many scientists have considered masculine tendencies to be barriers to health and recovery, a small study of about 50 men suggests the opposite. The man-of-steel mentality, often associated with military men and those in other high-risk occupations, can boost and speed up a guy’s recovery from a serious and/or traumatic injury possibly. See article.
g Message - Here’s a neat piece: an interview with Frank Drake, the astronomer and pioneer who flipped the "on" switch for Project Ozma, the first modern “SETI” project. See article. Note: The interview is from 2000.
g Cosmicus - Four projects that will advance key technologies to meet critical needs for NASA's mission will be led by Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The projects are part of NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program Seed Fund that addresses technology barriers with cost-shared, joint-development programs. See article.
g Learning - Here’s something neat, courtesy of NASA: astrobiology science learning activities for afterschool.