Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Opportunity leaves Victoria Crater and Spore meets SETI

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 year after descending into Victoria crater, NASA's Mars Exploration rover Opportunity is heading back out. Opportunity will now continue making important scientific observations on the Martian plains. See article.
g Message -If we are not alone in the universe, why have we never picked up signals from an extraterrestrial civilization? Known as the Fermi paradox after physicist Enrico Fermi, who first posed the question, this long-standing puzzle remains one of the strongest arguments against the existence of intelligent aliens. But two physicists say they have come up with a solution. They suggest a way in which aliens could send messages to each other across space that not only disguises their locations but also makes it impossible for a casual observer to even distinguish the messages from background noise. See article. Note: This article is from May 2003.
g Cosmicus -NASA is not properly emphasizing safety in its design of a new spaceship and its return-to-the-moon program faces money, morale and leadership problems, an agency safety panel found. See article.
g Learning -Here’s a neat set of Web pages for kids, courtesy of the Canadian Space Agency. The pages include coloring books, digital puzzles and space projects.
g Imagining -Will Wright's lifelong interest in astrobiology deepened during his numerous visits to the SETI Institute over the evolution of the computer game Spore, released September 7. There he became familiar with the work of Jill Tarter and her colleagues whose mission to explore the universe for signs of life inspired Wright's development of the game. Their recent conversation in Manhattan was characteristically ambitious, raising such questions as, Can we model reality? How do we quantify scientific revolutions? And is the singularity inevitable? See article.
g Aftermath - Epicurus, in the fourth century BC, believed that the universe contained other worlds like our own, and since his time there has been considerable debate whether extraterrestrial life exists and might communicate with us. During the last quarter of the 20th century, an international social movement has emerged which advocates an attempt to achieve communication with extraterrestrial intelligence, CETI, and many of its most active members have been leading scientists. Modest efforts to detect radio signals from intelligent extraterrestrials have already been made, both under government aegis and privately funded, and the technical means for a more vigorous search have been developed. If a CETI project were successful, linguists would suddenly have one or more utterly alien languages to study, and some consideration of linguistic issues is a necessary preparation for it. See article. Note: This article is from 1994.. See article.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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