Saturday, December 27, 2008

Searching for Earth-like planets in alien solar systems and how life went from bac­te­ria to blue whales

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 - In this podcast, Tim Livengood and Vikki Meadows discuss the EPOXI mission and how it will be used to search for Earth-like planets in alien solar systems. See article.
g Life - Earth’s crea­tures come in all sizes, yet sci­en­tists be­lieve they all de­scend from the same single-celled or­gan­isms that first pop­u­lated the plan­et. So how did life go from bac­te­ria to the blue whale? See article.
g Message - A recent study suggests it is more energy efficient to communicate across interstellar space by sending physical material — a sort of message in a bottle — than beams of electromagnetic radiation. Solid matter can hold more information and journey farther than radio waves, which disperse as they travel. See article.
g Imagining - Book alert: "Extraterrestrials, Where Are They?" by Ben Zuckerman and Michael H. Hart (ed.) offers a critical analysis by leading experts in a range of sciences, of the plausibility that other intelligent life forms do exists. Exploration of the solar system, and observations with telescopes that probe deep space, have come up empty-handed in searches for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Many experts in the fields of astronomy, biology, chemistry and physics now argue that the evidence points to the conclusion that technological civilizations are rare. After 10 billion years and among hundreds of billions of stars, we may well possess the most advanced brains in the Milky Way. This second edition elucidates many new aspects of research on extraterrestrial intelligence life, specifically biological considerations of the question. See review.
g Aftermath - Within the scientific community, the question is no longer whether extraterrestrial life exists, but if ET is smart enough to do long division — and the U.S. and other world governments already have detailed secret plans for first contact. My apologies in advanced for Popular Mechanic’s lurid title, but the reporting is sound. Note: This article is from 2004.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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