Monday, March 24, 2008

Deciphering a message sent by extraterrestrials

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 Mars Odyssey orbiter has discovered evidence of salt deposits on the surface of Mars. These deposits may indicate areas where water was abundant and where best to search for signs of past life. See article.
g Imagining - Could the Kaylar, a Star Trek alien from "The Original Series' pilot episode, "The Cage," exist? Like the Gorn, this alien appears to be drawn from our nightmares and hence serves a more dramatic effect than offering any speculation on exobiology. A tall humanoid with intriguing jaw features, skinny legs and broad shoulders, the Kaylar on Rigel VII is reminiscent of a barbarian warrior or an ogre. Brushing aside the nearly impossible parallel evolution between Earth and the Kaylar's home world for such a creature to come about, there are a couple of possible ways that it could have gained its great height and skinny legs. Its planet might have lighter gravity, which means an indigent alien wouldn't fall as hard as we do on Earth; hence the supporting legs would not need to be as strong to hold up a little more weight than the typical human. In addition, we might speculate that as a humanoid, the Kaylar shared a similar primate evolution as humans, so possibly the savannah grass of its continental cradle simply was taller than on the African plain during the past few million years; that would have given taller proto-Kaylar an evolutionary advantage. Still, the Kaylar appears to be an unlikely alien.
g Aftermath - How would we go about deciphering a message sent by extraterrestrials? Two anthropologists suggest that we might gain clues to decoding more complex extraterrestrial messages by examining past attempts to decode languages right here on Earth. See article. Note: This article is a couple of years old.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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