Monday, November 03, 2008

The Artifact Hypothesis and what would life on other planets look like

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 Message -The Artifact Hypothesis states that a technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization has undertaken a long-term program of galactic exploration via transmission of material artifacts. Four general classes of unconcealed observable artifacts are potentially available to test this Hypothesis: Astroengineering activities, self-replicating artifacts, passive artifacts, and active probes. Of these, only active self-repairing probes are likely both to exist and to be observable from within the Solar System. See article.
g Imagining -Book alert: What would life on other planets look like? Forget the little green men, alien life is likely to be completely unrecognizable - we haven’t even discovered all the life on our own planet. The visionary “Evolving the Alien: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life,” by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart, offers some of the most radical but scientifically accurate thinking on the possibility of life on other planets ever conceived. Using broad principles of Earthly biology and expanding on them laterally, Cohen and Stewart examine what could be out there. Redefining our whole concept of what ‘life’ is, they ask whether aliens could live on the surface of a star, in the vacuum of space or beneath the ice of a frozen moon. And whether life could exist without carbon or DNA – or even without matter at all. They also look at ‘celebrity aliens’ from books and films – most of which are biologically impossible. Jack Cohen is an ‘alien consultant’ to many writers, advising what an alien could and couldn’t look like. (E.T. go home – you do not pass the test). But this book is as much about the latest discoveries in Earthly biology as well as life on other planets. It’s a serious yet entertaining science book. See reviews.
g Aftermath - Philosophers and former politicians joined an elite group of scientists whose job it is to work out how to respond to signals from extraterrestrial intelligence. See article.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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