Saturday, December 06, 2008

Why we don’t find planets around binaries and next Mars mission delayed

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 Stars - More than half of the stars in our galaxy have a stellar companion. And yet, of the 130 or so currently known exoplanets (none of which are Earth-like), only about 20 of them are around so-called binaries. The percentage may grow higher. The current ratio is affected by an observational bias: planet hunters tend to avoid binaries because the star-star interactions can hide the planet signatures. See article. Note: This article is from 2005.
g Abodes -Scientists have discovered CO2 in the atmosphere of extrasolar planet HD 189733b. See article.
g Life - A single-celled organism has been found leaving tracks on the ocean floor that look like those from larger, multicellular organisms. The finding is causing scientists to re-think the fossil record - and the timing of when complex, bilateral organisms developed. See article.
g Intelligence - Is SETI—the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence—a religion? See article.
g Message -Australian scientists also are conducting a search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Here’s an overview of their effort and facilities.
g Cosmicus - NASA has pushed back the launching of its next ambitious Mars mission by two years because of lengthening delays and lingering technical issues, agency officials announced Thursday. See article.
g Learning - Have you grown weary of reading the same favorite dinosaur or bug book over and over again to the youngsters in your life? Are you ready to shake up the regular line-up of bedtime stories? In time for holiday shopping, AAAS has announced 19 finalists in the annual science book awards, which include science books for young children up to young adults. See article.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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