Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where to send the next planetary probe and theological implications of a universe willed with many intelligent beings from many other worlds

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 - Which celestial bodies are more likely to host extraterrestrial life: Saturn’s hazy moon Titan and water-spewing moon Enceladus, or Jupiter’s icy moons Europa and Ganymede, which may have liquid oceans beneath their frozen crusts? That’s the difficult question facing NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) as they try to decide where to send the next planetary probe. See article.
g Life - Researchers have discovered filamentous ropes of microorganisms growing in the cold waters of an Italian cave - 1,600 feet below the Earth's surface. The sulfur caves provide a truly unique environment in which previously unidentified microbes can thrive. See article.
g Cosmicus - While recognizing that many of the driving forces behind human space flight are social and political, rather than narrowly scientific, it seems clear that science has been, and will continue to be, a major beneficiary of having people in space. What, after all, is the alternative? We can either stay at home, sending a few robot spacecraft to our neighboring planets, and continuing to gaze at the more distant universe across light years of empty space, or we can get ourselves out among the planets and, eventually, the stars. In which alternative future would we learn the most about this universe and our place within it? See article.
g Imagining - England's Astronomer Royal says he believes aliens could exist, possibly as balloon-like creatures floating in dense atmospheres. See article.
g Aftermath - What are the theological implications of a universe willed with many intelligent beings from many other worlds? See article.

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