Thursday, July 24, 2008

Super Earths with life and bacteria ‘stars’

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 EV Lacertae AB?
g Abodes -Massive, rocky worlds called 'super-Earths' – even those orbiting searingly close to their stars – may provide the right conditions for life, new research suggests. See article.
g Life - Researchers studying life deep beneath the Earth's surface in a South African platinum mine have discovered microbes with a unique appearance. In fact, these tiny bacteria are the 'stars' of their community. See article.
g Message -Just how does SETI work? Here’s a good primer for those looking to get a basic overview. See article.
g Cosmicus -NASA scientists are suggesting that before sending humans to the moon, we should launch plants there and watch them grow. See article.
g Aftermath - - Book alert: “Many Worlds: The New Universe, Extraterrestrial Life, and the Theological Implications, by Steven J. Dick (editor), is a provocative collection examining science's impact on theology. Based on a 1998 conference sponsored by the Templeton Foundation, this collection of essays opens with the observation that the Copernican revolution looks insignificant when compared to the discoveries made about the earth and the universe in the last century: we now know, for example, that the universe is billions (not thousands) of light-years big; that it is expanding, not static; that our galaxy is just one of many, not the entirety of the universe. But from looking at modern theology, you wouldn't think anything had changed. The contributors (who include physicists, philosophers, historians of science, and theologians) suggest that cosmological advances might reshape the very fundamentals of theology. See article.

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