Wednesday, November 21, 2007

UV’s effect on habitability, long-living super-Earths and Terran microbes on Mars

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 - Previous work on habitable zones around solar-type stars has been concerned primarily with the constraint that liquid water must exist on the surface of a planet suitable for life, a condition currently satisfied only by Earth in our own solar system. An important additional constraint, generally overlooked in previous work, is the effect of solar ultraviolet radiation. See article.
g Abodes - Yellowstone National Park, once the site of a giant volcano, has begun swelling up, possibly because molten rock is accumulating beneath the surface, scientists report. Super-Earths could be a pretty super place to live compared with our puny planet. These big rocky planets in other solar systems could stay warm enough for life up to 35 percent longer than Earth. See article.
g Life - How would a hardy Earth microbe survive today on Mars? See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - NASA has extended the SORCE satellite mission until 2012. The satellite will now be able help scientists resolve predictions about the upcoming solar cycle peak and it's influence on Earth's climate. See article.
g Imagining - While science fiction has come a long way from the days of bug-eyed monsters, the genre still hasn't gone far enough in presenting well-conceived alien beings. As a derivative genre, role-playing games have an even poorer record. See article. Note: This article is from 1999.

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