Friday, June 13, 2008

Orphan stars and why we should send Bach to aliens

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 - A study suggest that "orphan" stars - which form in tails of gas that extend well outside their parent galaxy - may be more prevalent than previously thought. If planets can form around these stars, they would find themselves in a truly unique and lonely environment in the space between galaxies. See article. Note: This article is from 2007.
g Message - The founder of the scientific search for extraterrestrial civilizations Frank Drake believed that a minimum of 200 highly developed civilizations were hiding somewhere in our galaxy. See article.
g Cosmicus - NASA is looking for a few good lunar research ideas and is willing to pay $8 to $10 million for the effort. See article.
g Learning - The SETI Institute's Education and Public Outreach programs share the excitement of searching for life in the universe with people of all ages. Many folk are curious about our place in the universe: are we alone in the vast ocean of stars and galaxies? See article.
g Aftermath - One of our natural tendencies when we make contact with strangers is to try to impress them. Sloppy dressers might polish their shoes for a job interview, hopeful suitors will wash their cars for a first date and prospective children-in-law will be on their best behavior in the presence of the parents of their intended. Wouldn't we want to do the same in our first contact with ET? Lewis Thomas, in his book "Lives of a Cell," suggests that if we want to impress an alien civilization, we should send "Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again." See article.