Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Long delays in verification of potential ET signals and rock-eating life

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 61 Cygni AB?
g Abodes - Molecular hydrogen provides energy for many bacteria, in hot springs at Yellowstone and in rocks several kilometers beneath the surface. How did molecular hydrogen get inside these deep rocks, and what does this tell us about the origin of life on Earth? 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 - International regulations say it's okay for astronauts to make a mess on the moon. But the rules for sending humans to Mars, according to Dr. Cassie Conley, NASA's acting planetary protection officer, are far more restrictive. See article.
g Aftermath - How would proof of extraterrestrial intelligence affect humanity's "world" view? Astronomer Steve Dick discusses the matter in this transcribed Smithsonian Institute lecture, from 1999. See article.