Saturday, December 29, 2007

Spirit’s significant discovery and how Earth protects the Moon

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 - UCSC astronomers are seeking the public's help to find and understand planets outside our solar system. But you don't need an advanced degree or even a telescope to participate - just a computer, access to the Internet, and an interest in astronomy. The project, called Systemic, enlists volunteers to help astronomers better understand what kinds of planetary systems inhabit our galaxy, the Milky Way, and whether systems like our solar system are common. See article.
g Abodes - After nearly four full years on Mars, those two robot rovers exploring the Red Planet are still at it, and their chief scientific shepherd reports for the first time that the partially crippled rover named Spirit has made "probably the most significant discovery" of its entire mission. See article.
g Cosmicus - New research has shown that Earth's magnetosphere actually protects some parts of the Moon from solar storms. Scientists found that for seven days during the Moon's 28-day orbit, select regions are shielded from harmful solar energy. The findings could help protect astronauts on future Moon missions. See article.

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