Friday, October 10, 2008

Single species ecosystem and predicting reactions to proof of an otherworldly intelligence

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 Life - The first ecosystem ever found having only a single biological species has been discovered 1.74 miles beneath the surface of the earth in the Mponeng gold mine near Johannesburg, South Africa. There the rod-shaped bacterium Desulforudis audaxviator exists in complete isolation, total darkness, a lack of oxygen, and 140 degrees Fahrenheit heat. See article.
g Message -Separating static from signal is a classic problem for SETI researchers. Whether such a viable signal might be more promising if it were broad-spectrum or sharp like a tuning fork, has an influence of how much message it can carry and how far it may travel. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Learning -While we yearn to walk on other worlds, SETI Institute scientist Cynthia Phillips strolls the surfaces of distant planets each day at her computer. She's a planetary geologist on a quest to understand how liquids change the surfaces of other worlds. She studies Mars and the icy moons of the outer solar system, mapping the evolution of their surfaces. It's all part of the search for life beyond our home planet, Earth. See article.
g Imagining -Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s “The Mote in God's Eye” (1974), a classic hard science fiction novel.
g Aftermath - How can we predict reactions to proof of an otherworldly intelligence? Some scientists argue that any unpredictable outcomes can only be judged against our own history. See article..

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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