Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Detecting Mars-sized planets in other solar systems and the raw materials for life among the stars

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 -Astronomers may have discovered a new method for detecting planets as small as Mars orbiting distant stars. The method would open a new avenue in the search for habitable planets in the universe. See article.
g Life - The stuff of burnt toast, auto emissions and life itself has been spotted in galaxies so far away they are seen at a time when our universe was just one-fourth its current age. The discovery of organic molecules, called hydrocarbons, shows that the raw materials for life were present long before our solar system formed. See article. Note: This article is from 2005.
g Cosmicus -Even though political tensions between the United States and Russia remain strained and global economic problems are causing credit crunches, space exploration will take place as scheduled, the head of Russia's space agency said over the weekend. See article.
g Imagining -Science fiction authors produce a lot of very strange critters. In the desperate dash to be different, many go way overboard to invent fantastic, outlandish species unlike anything anyone has ever seen. It’s an admirable expression of their artistic abilities, but there’s an inherent problem: They almost always lose the reader along the way. Sure, it sounds ultra-cool to have a whole herd of 80-foot quasi-limbed orb-stasis beings, but unless you draw me a picture of these things, the reader often has no idea what you’re talking about. However, if you write that your alien has four wings, 10 eyes and looks a little like a kangaroo, the reader is right there with you. Most readers need at least something familiar to draw on for their imagination, or they get lost. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Aftermath - It is sometimes said that the best form of advertising is education. But what products would our global marketplace tolerate at the borders of an encounter with another, perhaps far different civilization? To get some perspective, an expert entertains the question of how to advertise our presence to a more universal demographic. See article. Note: This article came out in 2004.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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