Monday, June 16, 2008

Estimating the frequency for communicating with an extrasolar civilization and meteorites showering the Earth with amino acids

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 system Procyon AB?
g Abodes - Meteorites shower the Earth with amino acids. A new project is exploring how long amino acids could survive on asteroids, meteorites, and the early Earth. The results could help scientists pinpoint how and where life on our planet began. See article.
g Message - Estimating the frequency for communicating with an extrasolar civilization is a multi-dimensional challenge. The answer, according to two scientists at the Hungarian Astronomical Association, is less like an equation, and more like a matrix. See article. Note: This article is from 2003
g Cosmicus - A new 'flying saucer' design for a prototype aircraft could one day aid in the exploration of other planets and moons, including Saturn's moon Titan. The technology could be used to explore many interesting sites for astrobiology in our solar system. See article.
g Imagining - Why weren't there classes like this when I was in school? Recently, Prof. Joan Slonczewski taught "Biology 103: Biology in Science Fiction" at Kenyon College. Here's her book reading list. It's all great reading, whether you're in the class or not. Of course, if Slonczewski taught in Dover, Pa., her class would first have to be read the statement, "The theory that human authors wrote this book is not a fact and continues to be tested. Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of these books that differs from publishers' views." See article.
g Aftermath - Two-thirds of adults think there are other forms of intelligent life in the universe, according to a recent Roper poll. This belief tends to be more prevalent among males, adults ages 64 or younger, and residents of the Northeast as opposed to North Central and South. See article.