Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Martian climate capable of supporting life and Antarctica fossils

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 -A new study in the deserts of Earth is helping scientists understand how dust devils on Mars affect the Martian atmosphere and climate. The data could be useful in developing new missions, and will help astrobiologists understand if the Martian climate was once capable of supporting life. See article.
g Life - Scientists have discovered traces of fossilized plants and insects in an ice-free region of Antarctica. The finding is evidence of what Antarctica was like before an abrupt cooling of the Earth roughly 13.9 million years ago. See article.
g Message -While some scientists cautiously plan for ways to reply to extraterrestrial transmissions, others haven't waited for a signal to start talking. Sending messages from Earth into space to announce the existence of the human race is somewhat rare and controversial. Digital transmissions have been beamed into space from radio telescopes, and four spacecraft currently leaving the solar system bear messages for anyone who finds them. See article.
g Aftermath - Speaking of cosmic self-esteem: Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees describes how for the first time humans as a species may start to change in observable ways within single lifetimes and under some lose control of our own influence. If this future plays out, the future itself becomes more difficult to forecast. See article.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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