Saturday, May 03, 2008

Habitability of 61 Cygni and the illogic of Fermi’s Paradox

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 home star system of Star Trek’s Tellarites: 61 Cygni AB?
g Abodes - Astronomers have constructed an image of material around the star AB Aurigae that appears to be coalescing into a celestial body. The finding will help scientists understand the early stages of planetary formation. See article.
g Life - "Humans have always thought that icy environments are 'harsh' and 'inhospitable'," says Jere Lipps, an astrobiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who has done fieldwork in Antarctic sea ice and authored several scientific articles o­n possible life o­n Europa. In fact, he says, the diversity of the "sea-ice community" demonstrates that an icy environment can play host to a complete and complex ecosystem. See article.
g Message - The assertion that extraterrestrial intelligences (ETI) do not exist, based on the apparent contradictions inherent in the Fermi Paradox, rests upon an unproven and untenable presumption: That ETI are not now present in the Solar System. The current observational status of the Solar System is insufficient to support the assumption that ETI are not here. Most advanced civilizations also would be either invisible or unrecognizable using current human observational methods, so millions of advanced societies may exist and still not be directly detectable by us. Thus the Fermi Paradox cannot logically be raised as an objection to the existence of ETI until these major observational deficiencies have been corrected. See article.
g Aftermath - Scientists should pay greater attention to discussing the social implications of discovering extraterrestrial life - even though many researchers shy away from the subject because they don't consider it "hard" science. See article.

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