Friday, September 19, 2008

Astrobiological strategy for exploring Mars and the SETI League

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 -Book alert: Three recent developments have greatly increased interest in the search for life on Mars. The first is new information about the Martian environment including evidence of a watery past and the possibility of atmospheric methane. The second is the possibility of microbial viability on Mars. Finally, the Vision for Space Exploration initiative included an explicit directive to search for the evidence of life on Mars. These scientific and political developments led NASA to request the NRC s assistance in formulating an up-to-date integrated astrobiology strategy for Mars exploration. Among other topics, “An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars” presents a review of current knowledge about possible life on Mars; an astrobiological assessment of current Mars missions; a review of Mars-mission planetary protection; and findings and recommendations. The report notes that the greatest increase in understanding of Mars will come from the collection and return to Earth of a well-chosen suite of Martian surface materials.
g Message -Looking for a club to join? Try The SETI League. The league’s site has a lot of great information for everyone from the beginner to accomplished technogeek.
g Learning -Here’s a neat set of classroom activities courtesy of NASA: “Go For EVA!” Students learn about the vacuum of space, spacesuits and spacewalks. It includes a downloadable video.
g Aftermath - As preparations for the return of the Olympics Games to their ancestral home in Athens neared completion back in 2004, some began to wonder whether the Olympics has been our diplomatic calling card in other places beyond the home planet. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

No comments: