Monday, August 11, 2008

Looking for alien life atop Grizzly Peak and interstellar expedition to a Super-Earth

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 Abodes -Venus, with its boiling-hot surface, doesn't seem a likely place to find ET. But a new paper argues not only that Venusian clouds could harbor microbial life, but also that the life there could potentially hitch a ride aboard the solar wind to Earth. The possibility for microbial life on Venusian clouds has been suggested before, though it's still not widely thought to be likely. However, the assertion that this life could potentially float from Venus to Earth is novel, and contentious. See article.
g Message -The universe is a noisy place, filled with the hiss and crackle of stars being born and dying. There is little escape from this cosmic din, except in one small region of the radio dial — the microwave band. Here, only the faint whimper of the Big Bang breaks the silence, making it a "really good place to communicate," according to Dan Werthimer of Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, perched close to the stars atop Grizzly Peak. Note: This article is from 2000. See article.
g Cosmicus -Super-Earths, terrestrial planets many times the mass of Earth, have been discovered orbiting distant stars. In this essay, Ray Villard details a possible future expedition to visit one of these alien worlds in order to study the life that could exist there. See article.
g Aftermath - Let’s presume we have detected an extraterrestrial intelligence. We cannot tell for sure if the message was intended for us, or what it means. What should we do?

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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