Friday, January 23, 2009

Best hopes for finding extraterrestrials and extremophile primer

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 - What is the habitable zone of the nearby red dwarf Gliese 581, which boasts three planets?
g Abodes - If we ever do find extraterrestrial life in the solar system, it's probably much more likely to look like a few cells than a walking-and-talking green man. Nonetheless, finding any kind of life beyond Earth would be extraordinary. Here are our best hopes.
g Life - The 410 million-year-old skull and jaws of a fish may yield important information about the origin and evolution of vertebrates on Earth. See article.
g Cosmicus - There is fierce debate over the direction humanity should take when exploring the solar system. One argument claims that a “one step at a time” approach is essential, with moon bases being the next key step. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat primer (for kids) to understanding extremophiles and how an understanding of them affects astrobiology: “Brave New Biosphere”.
g Aftermath - Freelance writer Mark Pendergrast examines the folly of the Anthropic Principle in a Vermont newspaper op-ed. See article. Note: This column is from 2005.

Get your SF book manuscript edited

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future


Anonymous said...

I guess that screws the "habitable zone" theory. I don't get why they still teach that in schools. The textbooks we use in school are over six years old!!!

Rob Bignell said...

I agree that the textbooks already are outdated, Ryan. In reality, there likely are multiple habitable zones - the Goldilocks zone that we as humans need, moons around gas giants, the coronas of stars (ala Fred Hoyle), etc. for different types of lifeforms.