Thursday, April 10, 2008

Satellite observatory to search for Earth-like planets and organic chemicals common in space

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 - Scientists are designing a satellite-based observatory that could provide a sensitive survey of the entire sky to search for planets. The team hopes that the system could rapidly discover Earth-like planets. See article.
g Life - A team of NASA exobiology researchers have revealed organic chemicals that play a crucial role in the chemistry of life are common in space. See article.
g Message - Just how does SETI work? Here’s a good primer for those looking to get a basic overview. See article.
g Aftermath - In order to retrieve samples from another place in the solar system that might harbor life, careful planning is required to ensure that mission designs incorporate measures to safeguard both the Earth and other solar system bodies from cross contamination. These measures, collectively known as planetary protection measures, are actually tied to international law. Note: This article is from 1999. See article.