Sunday, April 20, 2008

Habitable zone for Lacaille 8760 and 280 definitions of life

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 star Lacaille 8760?
g Abodes - Scientists have discovered a potentially Earth-like planet around a star 30 light years away. At a size five times larger than Earth, it is the smallest extrasolar planet yet discovered. See article.
g Life - What is life? According to Sohan Jheeta, an astrobiologist from the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK, biologists have spent far too long dithering about how to define what a living organism actually is. As a result there are more than 280 definitions of life on record, and none of them really hits the mark, Jheeta says. See article.
g Message - Astronomer Michael M. Davis checked his computer. One of the antennas on the state-of-the-art radio telescope being built in the valley outside his office was picking up an unusual pulse from beyond the Earth. A signal from another intelligent civilization? Not today. It was the Rosetta Satellite, en route to study a comet. See article.
g Cosmicus - NASA has launched the new Lunar Science Institute to lead the agency's research activities for future missions to the moon related to NASA's exploration goals. See article.
g Imagining - Could the legendary dragons of Pern from Anne McCaffrey’s famous science fiction novels actually exist? Welcome to the theoretical science of dracogenetics. See article.

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