Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dust around Sun-like stars and life on chlorine worlds

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 - It seems we got off lightly in the cosmic lottery. Deadly comet impacts may be much rarer in our solar system than in others nearby. Jane Greaves of the University of St Andrews, UK, analysed observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope and found that the vast majority of sun-like stars near us have more dust than our solar system does and therefore have had more collisions in their vicinity. See article.
g Life - The basic molecules of life have a predetermined 'handedness', or chiraliy, that scientists have been unable to explain. New research shows that chirality may have been induced by irradiation as the molecules traveled through space before arriving on Earth. See article.
g Message -Here’s a neat National Geographic interview of Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, about the search for extraterrestrial intelligences. Note: The interview is from 2003.
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site that allows you to make a star map of any patch of sky at any time.
g Imagining - Could life exist on “chlorine worlds”? Here’s a science fiction examination of its possibility. See article.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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