Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Martian volcanoes and alien technology

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 -Although volcanoes on Mars today are dormant or extinct, in the distant past the Red Planet was literally a hotbed of volcanic activity. Cerro Negro, an active volcano in Nicaragua, offers clues to what the Martian era of fire and brimstone may have been like – and what types of organisms could have lived in that superheated world. See article.
g Message -Tired of the alien-of-the-week as depicted by "Star Trek"? Jar-Jar Binks bugging you? Are you wondering where the real space sentients are, and if they are weirder than we can even imagine? You are not alone – and in all probability, we are not alone either. At least, that’s what the folks at SETI – the Search for Extra- Terrestrial Intelligence – are betting. See article.
g Learning -A new NASA contest challenges college-level students to design tools or instrument packages that could be used on the next generation of human-driven moon rovers. Student will have the opportunity to engage in NASA's return to the moon by designing equipment that will help astronauts accomplish tasks on the lunar surface. See article.
g Imagining -In nearly all popular science fiction dramatizations on television, most of the alien protagonists look remarkably like humans. In "Star Trek," if you forgave the Vulcan's their ears (and their hair-styles), the Klingons their foreheads and the Bajorans their ridged noses you'd think that they were all human. After all, they have two legs, two arms, 10 fingers and toes, two ears, two eyes and a nose. And while arms and eyes are universals, two arms and two legs are parochial. See article.
g Aftermath - Visitors from other worlds – should any appear – would be enormously ahead of us from a technological viewpoint. The same is true for any aliens we might tune in with our SETI experiments. See article. Note: This article is from 2000.

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