Friday, August 08, 2008

Likelihood of habitable solar systems and Titan with liquid

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 -For the first time, scientists have used large-scale computer simulations to model the formation of planetary systems from beginning to end. The study will help scientists understand the likelihood of habitable systems forming elsewhere in the universe. See article.
g Abodes -NASA scientists have concluded that at least one of the large lakes observed on Saturn's moon Titan contains liquid hydrocarbons, and have positively identified the presence of ethane. This makes Titan the only body in our solar system beyond Earth known to have liquid on its surface. See article.
g Life - Despite today’s findings of toxic perchlorate in Martian soil, NASA is not ready to write off life on Mars; leading space scientists point to earthbound extremeophiles that process the substance. See article.
g Message - How do we search for life in the universe? From sending probes to the planets to discovering new worlds, find out how we are looking for alien life. See article.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the Day: “It’s often said that 500 years ago the oceans were the great unknown and that their exploration was a difficult, dangerous and expensive business. But the awards were huge. Space is the ocean of our generation.” – Piers Sellars, shuttle astronaut
g Aftermath - Here’s one common man’s musings on the consequences for society if extraterrestrial intelligence is discovered: "Inevitably society would change should extraterrestrial intelligence be discovered. The question is to what extent. We might react in the same way we did with the new millennium when it was imminent, but it proved to be much ado about almost nothing. The same may be true for the discovery of one or more extraterrestrial civilizations. On the other hand, the extreme opposite is a scenario where all of our worst fears are fulfilled.” Note: This article is from 2001.