Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Locating alien civilizations and a comet continuum

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 - Contrary to expectations, comet dust returned to Earth by the Stardust mission formed close to the Sun and resembles a meteorite from the asteroid belt rather than an ancient, unaltered comet. The results are now providing new clues about the formation of our Solar System. See article.
g Life - New research shows that molecules important for the origin of life are generated by simple interactions between seawater and hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. The findings support the theory that such vents may have played a role in life's beginnings on Earth. See article.
g Intelligence - Researchers have uncovered new evidence that sleep improves the brain's ability to remember information. Their findings demonstrate that memories of recently learned word pairs are improved if sleep intervenes between learning and testing and that this benefit is most pronounced when memory is challenged by competing information. See article. Note: This article is from 2006.
g Message - There can be little doubt that civilizations more advanced than the earth's exist elsewhere in the universe. The probabilities involved in locating one of them call for a substantial effort. See article.
g Aftermath - After decades of searching, scientists have found no trace of extraterrestrial intelligence. Now, some of them hope to make contact by broadcasting messages to the stars. Are we prepared for an answer? See article.

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