Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spotting Earth’s continents and oceans from a distant world and gamma-ray bursts as alien messages

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 dusty disk that resembles the shape of a moth is providing new information about how planetary systems form and evolve. See article.
g Abodes - Nearby Venus is looking a bit more Earth-like with frequent bursts of lightning confirmed by a new European space probe. See article.
g Life - Scientists since Darwin have known that whales are mammals whose ancestors walked on land, and in the past 15 years, researchers have identified a series of intermediate fossils documenting whale’s dramatic evolutionary transition from land to sea. But one step was missing: The identity of the land ancestors of whales. No more, researchers say. See article.
g Message - Regardless of what causes gamma-ray bursters, they could be the key to discovering life elsewhere in the universe. An astrophysicist says smart aliens might use the bursts to alert us to their messages. See article. Note: This article is from 1999.
g Aftermath - Would ET vote? What effect will ET’s political philosophy have on ours once contact is made? See article. It’s an older piece but well worth the read. See article.

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