Monday, April 14, 2008

Habitable zone for Gliese 876 and four steps for intelligent life to evolve

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 - What is the habitable zone for the nearby red dwarf Gliese 876? See article.
g Abodes - Imagine if the sun's energy increased by 3400 times: Earth's oceans would instantly boil away. Yet a newly discovered exoplanet is subjected to such heat, making it one of the hottest in our galactic neighborhood. See article.
g Life - A new study shows that Earth's first animal was probably more complex than previously believed. By analyzing massive volumes of genetic data, scientists have defined the earliest splits at the base of the animal tree of life. See article.
g Intelligence - A mathematical model taking into account the limited habitable lifespan of the Earth suggests that four evolutionary steps were required for intelligent life to evolve. If this applies to other worlds, intelligent life may be rare in the universe. See article.
g Message - Since the invention of the radio, humans have been broadcasting signals into outer space. Other civilizations in our galaxy might be doing the same. They might even be deliberately sending out signals to find other civilizations. Someone out there may even be beaming a signal directly at the Earth. See article.
g Learning - How can one become an astrobiologist? Here’s a fact sheet for kids in grades 5-12, courtesy of NASA. See article.

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