Sunday, April 27, 2008

Allen Telescope Array and trouble with Opportunity’s arm

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 Stars - Astronomers have discovered the coldest brown dwarf star ever observed. The finding is a step toward filling the gap between stars and planets. See article.
g Abodes - In the time since the Viking life-detection experiments were conducted on Mars, many missions have enhanced our knowledge about the environmental conditions on the Red Planet. However, the Martian surface chemistry and the Viking lander results remain puzzling. See article.
g Message - Here’s an article in which Dave DeBoer, project engineer for the Allen Telescope Array, discusses what the unique telescope will offer. The development of the Allen Telescope Array is marked by many innovations crafted with the express purpose of building a world-class state-of-the-art astronomical facility at a fraction of the price of existing radio telescopes. See article. Note: This article is from October 2003.
g Cosmicus - NASA's Opportunity rover is having difficulty with a small motor in its robotic arm. Researchers are assessing how the rover's mission will be affected if the motor is no longer usable. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: “Who Can Live Here?” Students explore the limits of life on Earth to extend their beliefs about life to include its possibility on other worlds. See article.
g Imagining - Book alert: You’ve got to read Aliens and Alien Societies (Science Fiction Writing Series), by Stanley Schmidt. Whether you're a writer or a reader of science fiction, this how-to guide provides thought-provoking analyses of the ways in which aliens and alien societies can be portrayed convincingly. It's as fascinating as the many classic SF texts it examines.

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