Friday, February 29, 2008

Amino acids beyond the Milky Way and update on ENDURANCE

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 Life - In the ultra-bright galaxy Arp 220, radio astronomers have for the first time detected all the ingredients of an amino acid beyond the Milky Way. The study confirms that familiar carbon chemistry exists in the distant universe, and could help constrain the search for life. See article.
g Message - Extraterrestrial civilizations may find it more efficient to communicate by sending material objects across interstellar distances rather than beams of electromagnetic radiation. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - Researchers gathered last week in wintery Wisconsin to test a robotic probe under ice. Astrobiology Magazine’s Henry Bortman submits his final report on the probe’s progress in the field. See article.
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies/environments? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for Clifford Simak’s ”Way Station” (1963), which examines many different kinds of potential aliens.

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