Sunday, June 22, 2008

Brownleeite and sending both scientific and artistic messages to the stars

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 star YZ Ceti?
g Abodes - Researchers have found a new mineral, named Brownleeite, in material that likely came from a comet. The mineral was discovered in interstellar dust grains captured at high altitude in the Earth's atmosphere. See article.
g Message - Similar to SETI – the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, where one listens for messages sent to Earth – METI means "Messaging to ETI": Sending both scientific and artistic messages to the stars. So, METI Art represents not Art about Space, but Art for Space. In other words, METI Art is the creative work of Earth destined for inclusion in the Planetary Consciousnesses of supposed extraterrestrial civilizations. See article.
g Learning - Here's a great resource for middle school science teachers; "Life on Other Planets in the Solar System." See article.
g Imagining - In Ridley Scott's 1979 slimy monster masterpiece "Alien," the extraterrestrial life form discovered by Sigourney Weaver and crew goes through two startlingly different phases after it hatches. Is such a change during the life of an animal mere sci fi license? Not really. In fact, many earthlings go through similar drastic changes in form. Note: This article is from March 2001. See article.
g Aftermath - The scientific discussion of the evolution of life in the universe raises some key philosophical and theological issues Will life and intelligence be found throughout the universe, or will it turn out to be exceedingly rare? Will intelligent life be capable of both rationality and moral agency? Will evolutionary biology determine its moral content or will it merely bequeath intelligent life with moral capacity, leaving moral content to be determined independently of biology? If moral agency evolves, will these species inevitably exhibit moral failure, or is our generic human experience of moral failure strictly the result of our particular evolution, leaving us to expect there to be other civilizations that are entirely benign? The discussion of these issues, though largely hypothetical, can offer insight into the theological and cultural implications of the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence as well into a better understanding of the human condition. See article.

No comments: