Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Planets around binaries and looking for extrasolar biosignatures

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 - A new study suggests that planets may easily form around binary star systems. The finding is helping astronomers narrow down the best locations in the universe to search for extrasolar planets. See article.
g Abodes - The methane found on Mars could be a sign of life on the red planet. Researchers are devising an instrument to measure the isotopic abundances that could distinguish a biological origin from a geological one. See article.
g Life - The prospect of finding extraterrestrial life is no longer the domain of science fiction or UFO hunters. Rather than waiting for aliens to come to us, we are looking for them. We may not find technologically advanced civilizations, but we can look for the physical and chemical signs of fundamental life processes: “biosignatures.” See article.
g Message - The Earth's radio emission is now comparable to or stronger than the Sun's. So for aliens looking in the radio frequency, we should be the brightest spot in the solar system. See article. Note: This article is from 2005.

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

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