Thursday, December 18, 2008

Which exoworlds will be studied first and moonwater

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 -A new idea proposes that worlds with the potential to host organisms can be split into four categories, each with their own likelihood of being inhabited. With extrasolar planet detection methods becoming ever-more advanced, these ideas could influence which worlds are studied first. See article.
g Life - Has the world's oldest spider web been found? Strands 140 million years old were found inside a piece of amber on a UK beach and look similar to those made by modern orb spiders, says Martin Brasier of the University of Oxford. The fossil web beats the previous record-holder found in Lebanon by around 10 million years. See article.
g Message - The spectral approach is a universal tool of both astronomical observations and SETI. Furthermore, it has a clear physical meaning – a spectrometer finds the energy distribution of photons, in human sensing it is color and pitch. Under the hypothesis on identity of physical laws in our part of universe, it may be proposed that spectrometry also is being used by those aliens, who know radio and lead their own SETI, too. See article.
g Cosmicus - The darkest reaches of the moon could be holding the means to a manned space base there, scientists have said. See article.
g Learning - Ken Bain knows a lot about teaching. He learned some of it from 41 years in the classroom, some from the research of fellow scholars - and some from an 18-month-old grandson who was savvy about cell phones. See article.
g Imagining - Alien design bibliography: When science fiction writers set out to design a world, they usually take care that their physics and astronomy conforms to known science by reading a few physics and astronomy books. But when designing aliens, anything goes, it seems! The problem appears to be that the literature of biology is simply unknown in the SF world. Mention Freeman Dyson or Robert Forward, and most hard SF readers and writers will know whom you are talking about. But mention Steven Vogel or Colin Pennycuick, and you are likely to be rewarded with polite bafflement. Here’s a list of books that’ll give you a solid grounding in biology.
g Aftermath - If we hear from ET, not only can we expect his civilization to be an old one with a great time lag in correspondence, a SETI astronomer says. Could this limit the impact of extraterrestrial contact upon humanity? See article. Note: This article is from 2001.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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