Saturday, July 26, 2008

Habitable zone for Altair and looking for alien radio waves

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 Altair?
g Abodes - Precise dating of zircon crystals suggests that Earth may have been conducive to life even before an epic influx of asteroids pummeled our planet 4 billion years ago. See article.
g Life - A new study indicates that undersea volcanic activity may have triggered an extinction event in the Earth's oceans. The extinction occurred 93 million years ago and is responsible for creating some of today's major oil reserves. See article.
g Message -While advanced civilizations might be tempted to use optical means such as lasers to send information between the stars, there are some good reasons that nearly all the major Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence experiments are looking for radio waves instead. See article.
g Aftermath - Decades after Hollywood first made the leap between alien life and the threat of contamination, a scientist has issued a similar warning. U.S. Geological Survey geologist Jeffrey Kargel says convincing evidence uncovered by NASA's robotic rover Opportunity that water once flowed on Mars means scientists should proceed cautiously in bringing back potentially germ-laden samples of the Red Planet. See article.

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