Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ice age planets and 361 advanced, stable civilizations in the Milky Way

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 - The light reflected off of vegetation could be a signal of life on an alien planet. Researchers have now shown that this plant life signal can be seen even if a world is in the midst of an ice age. See article.
g Life - Paleontologists are examining the long-lasting effects of a 65 million-year-old mass extinction. Dinosaurs and many other organisms disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous, and the evolutionary ramifications can still be seen today. See article.
g Intelligence - If life can only arise under a narrow set of initial conditions, a researcher estimates there should be 361 advanced, stable civilizations in the Milky Way. If life can spread from one planet to another through biological molecules embedded in asteroids, though, the number jumps to nearly 38,000. See article.
g Cosmicus - The collision between a U.S. and a Russian satellite over Siberia may have been accidental and the first of its kind, but experts say more crashes will inevitably occur and could have geopolitical consequences. See article.

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Search4XtraLife said...

Under what initial conditions? Will they include gravity, atmospheric pressure, chemical compositions of a planet, or what? this article needs to go into moe details.

Rob Bignell said...

You're right, more detail is needed. The article seems to imply that the conditions are "Earth-like" - a narrow set of parameters indeed. At the same time, the positive news is that even taking a conservative approach to the problem means more than 300 sentient species are currently out there.