Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Europa’s biogenic elements and what’s it like to be an alien?

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 - Europa is a prime target for astrobiology. The presence of a global subsurface liquid water ocean and a composition likely to contain a suite of biogenic elements make it a compelling world in the search for a second origin of life. Critical to these factors, however, may be the availability of energy for biological processes on Europa. See article.
g Message - Before talking to aliens, it would be helpful if we had some insight into what it is like to be one. Since we don't, and won't, we will have to do the next best thing — identify all our anthropocentric assumptions about intelligent life in the universe and then ruthlessly eradicate these from the messages we send them. See article.
g Learning - Lerner Publishing Group has just released a new "Cool Science" title for 4-8th grade readers called "Astrobiology." From early imaginings about life on the Moon to modern observations of Mars, Europa, and Titan, this book gives an easy to follow, historical context for the search for life elsewhere. The book's author, "Dr. Fred" Bortz, engages students directly through school visits and other events. Learn more at his Web site.

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