Thursday, January 03, 2008

Geologic activity on Saturn’s moons and our possible alien origins

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 - A red dwarf star known as HD189733, about 60 light years from Earth in the constellation Vulpecula, is home to an orbiting planet which now bears the unique trait of being the first extra-solar planet ever to be observed in the visual spectrum from Earth. Using a special kind of polarization filtering, the researchers were able to mask out all other-sourced light and focus only on light reaching us reflected directly from the planet, called HD189733b. See article.
g Abodes - Saturn's moons Tethys and Dione are flinging great streams of particles into space, according to data from the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini mission to Saturn. The discovery suggests the possibility of some sort of geological activity, perhaps even volcanic, on these icy worlds. See article.
g Life - We could have alien origins, say scientists who sent fossilized microscopic life-forms into space and back inside an artificial meteorite. See article.
g Message - Messages sent into space directed at extraterrestrials may have been too boring to earn a reply, say two astrophysicists trying to improve on their previous alien chat lines. See article.