Friday, December 28, 2007

Planets in habitable zone around Gliese 581 and exploring Europa for life

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 - In April, astronomers announced the discovery of two possibly habitable planets. A&A is now publishing detailed studies of this system, which confirm that one of the planets might indeed be located within the habitable zone around the star Gliese 581. See article.
g Abodes - Jupiter’s moon Europa is just as far away as ever, but new research is bringing scientists closer to being able to explore its tantalizing ice-covered ocean and determine its potential for harboring life. See article.
g Message - If you've ever sent a carefully composed message to someone on a dating site in cyberspace, trying to ignite a spark of interest and elicit a reply, you'll understand what Yvan Dutil and his colleague Stephane Dumas are up against. See article.
g Cosmicus - It might be time to consider traffic lights on the moon. In the past week, governments, space agencies, and even a company from the Isle of Man announced plans to land on the moon. See article.