Sunday, February 10, 2008

Communicating with Martians and an undergraduate searches for ETI

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 Abodes - NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has made its first flyby of Mercury. The craft collected data that shows a diversity of geological processes on the planet, and provides a new look at the planet's magnetosphere. See article.
g Life - Molecular evidence indicates that modern birds may have originated 100 million years ago - before the demise of the dinosaurs. The finding touches on current questions about which scientific methods are most useful in studying the evolution of life on Earth. See article.
g Intelligence - Quote of the Day: "… our world's sunne / Becomes a starre elsewhere.” — Democritus, "Democritus Platonissans, or an Essay Upon the Infinity of Worlds"
g Message - In the summer of 1924, Mars was in opposition, which is to say that it was opposite the Sun in our skies. This situation, which only occurs every few years, brings the Red Planet within three dozen million miles of Earth - virtually spitting distance. Scientists of the time thought this was a perfect opportunity to get in touch with the Martians using the new technology of radio. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a piece in which undergraduate Yvette Cendes tells about her research job at CWRU working on OSETI, the Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. See article.

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