Saturday, March 15, 2008

Comparing Venus and Mars and left-handed precursor molecules

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 - Simultaneous observations of Mars and Venus by two European spacecraft are providing scientists with a unique opportunity for comparative planetology. The study will help scientists understand the past environments of both planets. See article.
g Life - Researchers may have unlocked important clues about the origin of life. They have shown that precursor molecules for life may naturally appear more often in 'left-handed' forms than previously thought. See article.
g Intelligence - Nearly all of today's Native Americans in North, Central and South America can trace part of their ancestry to six women whose descendants immigrated around 20,000 years ago, a DNA study suggests. See article.
g Message - What technological manifestations would make an advanced extraterrestrial civilization detectable? Note: This paper was written in 1992. See article.
g Cosmicus - An Atlas 5 rocket carrying a secret U.S. satellite lifted off before dawn Thursday, officials said. See article.
g Imagining - Another early "Star Trek" alien is the Exo III android makers. We really don't know what the android creators (aka "the Old Ones") looked like, but we can presume by the way human duplicates were created with the android-making machine that they appear like Ruk. Their height indicates that the planet's gravity is slightly lighter than Earth's, and there isn't a discernable difference in the way humans step on this world. Possibly the savanna grass was taller than in our Africa (their hominid shape indicates a primate-oriented evolution). The whitish pallor probably is due to the lack of sunlight (though not the cold, as that also would make their bodies more compact); the aliens did go underground when a global ice age gripped their world. One interesting question is if they possessed the ability to build androids, why didn't they just leave their planet when its habitability was lowered? Perhaps some religious or cultural belief prevented them from considering or pursuing space travel; possibly they developed the android-making machine when residing underground. While the show's creators did a good job of making the Old Ones evolutionarily sound given the world's climate of the past several eons, the aliens fall short on the Earth vertebrate factor: It's highly unlikely that the exact facial arrangements as those of Earth's vertebrates when first leaving the water for land would be so exactly duplicated.
g Aftermath - I offer the following Web site entry on "exopolitics" only as a basis for us to think about how people might react once we know an extraterrestrial civilization exists. Certainly many will give ufology more credence and make fantastical conclusions based upon images in the popular media. Question: How do we counteract this now? Obviously we want people discussing the topic of "exopolitics," even if it's in a vacuum. But how do we move beyond silly paranormal notions? See article.

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