Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Planetary formation around sun-like stars and germ-laden samples of the Red Planet

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 are the habitable zones for the nearby trinary GJ 1245 ABC?
g Abodes - Astronomers have discovered that terrestrial planets might form around many, if not most, of the nearby sun-like stars in the disk of our galaxy. These new results suggest that worlds with potential for life might be more common than thought. See article.
g Life - A leading Welsh academic has said pictures from Mars give the clearest indication yet that life exists on the red planet. See article.
g Intelligence - When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong. 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. See article. Note: This article is from March 2003.
g Cosmicus - A team of more than 50 international academics have named Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as the science fiction film with the most realistic vision of the future of mankind. See article.
g Learning - Here's a neat classroom activity, courtesy of NASA: "Ergonomics For Extraterrestrials," in which students develop an extraterrestrial life form, and to create a workstation that accommodates its unique characteristics. See article.
g Aftermath - Decades after Hollywood first made the leap between alien life and the threat of contamination, a scientist has issued a similar warning. U.S. Geological Survey geologist Jeffrey Kargel says convincing evidence uncovered by NASA's robotic rover Opportunity that water once flowed on Mars means scientists should proceed cautiously in bringing back potentially germ-laden samples of the Red Planet. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.