Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ancient diamonds from Western Australia and the Astrobiology Field Laboratory

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 GJ 440?
g Abodes -Ancient diamonds from the rugged rocks of Western Australia are about to trigger a modern scientific explosion. See article.
g Message - In late 1997, after almost 40 years of operation, the Ohio State University Radio Observatory and its "Big Ear" radio telescope — which picked up the famous “Wow!” signal — ceased operation. The land on which the observatory was sitting (owned by the Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio) was sold in 1983 to land developers who later claimed their rights to develop the property. The telescope was destroyed in early 1998. For a Web page memorial to Big Ear. See article.
g Cosmicus -The Astrobiology Field Laboratory (also known as AFL), is a proposed NASA unmanned planetary spacecraft to explore the planet Mars. The rover will be built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and will be based upon the Mars Science Laboratory design, but with more astrobiology-oriented instruments. Current plans call for a launch around 2016, most likely by an Atlas V rocket. See article.
g Aftermath - The scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence is accelerating its pace and adopting fresh strategies. This increases the likelihood of successful detection in the near future. Humanity's first contact with alien intelligence will trigger extraordinary attention from the media, from government authorities, and from the general public. By improving our readiness for contact, especially for security during the first 30 days, we can avoid the most negative scenarios — and also enhance humanity's benefits from this first contact with an alien intelligence. Six potential problem areas include communicating with the media and the public, communicating with scientific colleagues, government control, an assassin or saboteur, well-meaning officials and lawsuits. See article.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future