Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mars' subterranean natural plumbing system and why going to the Moon benefits astrobiology

Mars’ subterranean plumbing system and restructuring the tree of lifeWelcome! “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 - A Mars-orbiting spacecraft has spotted a subterranean natural plumbing system that might have ferried water beneath the surface of the red planet in the distant past. See article.
g Life - Peter Ward, speaking at a NASA Director's Seminar, presented some ideas for changing the tree of life. This restructuring would not only embrace things like viruses, which are banished from the current tree, but would allow us to put into context some even odder misfits, such as cloned sheep and alien life on other worlds. See article.
g Message - During the early 1980s, David Brin offered an explanation for Fermi’s Paradox, which asked why if extraterrestrial life existed it wasn’t on Earth. Brin’s answer: The Zoo Hypothesis. Here’s a copy of that groundbreaking paper, “The 'Great Silence': The Controversy Concerning Extraterrestrial Life.” See article.
g Cosmicus - Bernard Foing is chief scientist of the European Space Agency’s Research and Scientific Support Department. He sees exploration of our Moon as only the first step toward understanding the potential for life in our solar system and beyond. See article.

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