Thursday, October 09, 2008

Earliest animals with legs and designing an interstellar message

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 -Eight years from now, the Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter, with instruments to study its atmosphere. Research goals for the mission include determining how the giant planet formed, how much water it contains, and how its powerful auroras compare to Earth’s Northern Lights. See article.
g Life - The fossilized trail of an aquatic creature suggests that animals walked using legs at least 30 million years earlier than had been thought. Scientists once thought that it was primarily microbes and simple multicellular animals that existed prior to the Cambrian, but studies like this may change that notion. See article.
g Message -To design an interstellar message, does one have to find ways to communicate that humankind has the potential to be friendly, loving and altruistic toward non-kin individuals or strangers? How to announce our stewardship of the planet as a good neighbor? See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Learning -A team of scientists gathered at Edinburgh's Royal Observatory last night to pose the question: "Are We Alone in the Universe?" See article.
g Imagining -Like stories about efforts to communicate with alien? Then be sure to read Fred Hoyle’s “A for Andromeda” (1962).
g Aftermath - Here’s an interesting book for some astrobiological reading: “After Contact: The Human Response to Extraterrestrial Life”by Albert A. Harrison. See reviews.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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