Saturday, October 25, 2008

Planets pulled closer to their stars and how Drake Equation numbers look today

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 - Imagine a solar system where a life-bearing planet is slowly pulled in closer to its star. If life could survive the ensuing climate change, it would provide a clear example of the Gaia hypothesis in action. See article.
g Life - The way termite guts process food could teach scientists how to produce pollution-free energy and help solve the world's imminent energy crisis. Nobel laureate Steven Chu has urged scientists to turn their attention to finding an environmentally friendly form of fuel. In an impassioned plea to some of the world's brightest minds, he explained how he's leading by example and encouraged others to join the effort that "may already be too late." See article.
g Message -In 1961, astronomer Frank Drake wrote the equation that put the search for alien civilizations on a scientific footing and launched the modern SETI movement. How do the numbers look today? See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Cosmicus - After departing on Oct. 12 to the International Space Station, with a round-trip ticket that cost him $30 million, famed videogame creator Richard Garriott returned safely back to Earth on Friday. See article.
g Learning -One of the most frequently cited problems facing those who build and rely on space systems is a receding pool of engineering talent, a function of declining interest among young people in math and science. See article.
g Aftermath - In our everyday lives, we sometimes emulate computers, though typically without their full precision. When we do a favor for someone, more often than we’d like to admit, we keep an informal tally of who owes us, and how much. According to sociobiologists, who attempt to explain behavior in terms of its value for survival, such calculations might have a biological basis. And as we will see, they may also provide some clues to communicating with life beyond Earth. See article.

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