Saturday, May 17, 2008

Internal structure of gas giants and 500 million-year-old embryos

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 binary Wolf 922 AB?
g Abodes - Using a high-energy laser, scientists are learning about the evolution and internal structure of gas giant planets. The research will yield information about planets like Jupiter and Saturn as well as distant extrasolar worlds. See article.
g Life - Images of the developmental stages of embryos more than half a billion years old recently were reported by the University of Bristol's Department of Earth Sciences, in the journal Nature. See article.
g Message - Most SETI programs scan the sky looking for strong radio signals. Any signals that are deemed interesting are put on a list for follow-up observations weeks, months — even years later. Long delays in verification of potential ET signals sometimes generate tantalizing, but ultimately frustrating, stories. Note: This article is from March 2003. See article.
g Cosmicus - International planning is under way to reinvigorate plans for a Mars sample return mission, with researchers assessing science priorities and strategies to maximize the scientific output from such an undertaking. See article.
g Learning - The soon-to-be-released Astrobiology-based game Spore by Electronic Arts (EA) is described as "an epic journey that takes you from the origin and evolution of life through the development of civilization and technology, and eventually all the way into the deepest reaches of outer space." See article.
g Imagining - Here's a neat site that draws upon the history of science fiction for examples: "Let's Build an Extraterrestrial". See article.

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