Sunday, January 11, 2009

Asteroids orbiting white dwarfs and how space explorers might determine what happened to an extinct alien race

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 - New observations of chewed-up asteroids around old dead stars called white dwarfs bolster the idea that the Earth and other rocky planets in our solar system are far from alone in the universe. See article.
g Abodes - If aliens sent a probe to Earth in search of life, their best target would be the tropics, where life is dense. But on other nearby worlds, tropics are hard to come by. Most likely, if we find life elsewhere in our solar system, we'll find it in ice. See article.
g Life - Diatoms are an abundant type of plankton in the ocean that play a big role in carbon cycling on Earth. Trends in diatom numbers throughout time can tell scientists a great deal about the climate history of Earth – a history that may need to be rewritten. See article.
g Message - Is there any good reason to look for intelligently generated extraterrestrial emissions in the spectrum at Pi GHz or 3.141... GHz. See article.
g Cosmicus - The co-founder of a rocket launch firm has proposed an audacious plan to send astronauts on a one-way trek to Mars using a pair of tethered U.S. space shuttles that would parachute to the Martian surface. See article.
g Learning -It's 110 degrees at the end of July here in the badlands around the border of North Dakota and Montana as the pickaxes swing down against the Hell Creek rock. The volunteers who have braved rattlesnakes and scorpions to work here in the swirling dust may look as if they are in prison, but they are in a time machine, traveling back 65 million years by excavating through rock. And if these volunteers are lucky, they can keep bones they find..See article. Note: This article is from 2006.
g Aftermath - How might explorers determine what happened to an extinct alien race based on the clues they left behind on their home planet? See article.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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