Monday, February 11, 2008

Martian microorganisms and classroom lessons on interstellar communication

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 - A new 3D model of the martian surface, created with data from Mars Express, has been released on the internet. The model allows scientists to see the topography of Mars, and will help them interpret Mars' surface features and geology. See article.
g Life - Two researchers suggest that the radioresistance (tolerance to ionizing radiation) observed in several terrestrial bacteria has a Martian origin. See article. Note: This article is from 2006.
g Message - Quote of the Day: “All we know for sure is that the sky is not littered with powerful microwave transmitters.” — Frank Drake
g Learning - Here’s a neat set of lessons, designed for at-risk students: “The Plausibility of Interstellar Communication and Related Phenomena Depicted in Science Fiction Literature and the Movies”. The curriculum has four major objectives: first, to educate students to develop concepts about the proximity of our solar system in relation to other probable solar systems in the Milky Way Galaxy; second, to give students the opportunity to use these concepts to evaluate the plausibility of interstellar communication depicted in science fiction literature and movies; third, to create an opportunity for students not only to look out on the universe but to turn it inward to look at the world, their own society, and themselves as individuals; and fourth, an objective that will be integrated with all of the others is to give students to opportunity to learn and/or sharpen skills in: using the scientific method, research, reading, writing, collaboration, discussion and in critical thinking.

No comments: