Monday, March 02, 2009

The time it will take for us to discover alien life and what’s really behind our phobia of extraterrestrials

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 - With the greatest total energy, the fastest motions, and the highest-energy initial emissions ever before seen, a gamma-ray burst recently observed by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is one for the record books. See article.
g Abodes - At the most recent NASA Astrobiology Science Conference, a panel of scientists discussed different types of planets where we might find alien life. In part four of this series, the panelists discuss the time it will take for us to discover alien life in the universe. See article.
g Life - New research shows that the large-scale evolution of microorganisms was completed 2.5 billion years ago. This included the ability of microorganisms to process nitrogen – an evolutionary step that has had long-lasting effects on the environment and the evolution of all life on Earth. See article.
g Intelligence - Would the development of our technical civilization have been possible without sponges? See article.
g Cosmicus - In an email interview, Steven Dick, NASA's chief historian, discusses his career as an astronomer and science historian and his research on extraterrestrial life. See article.
g Learning - After a long flight from Rome that landed him in Tucson on Wednesday, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo spent Thursday with Vatican Observatory and University of Arizona astronomers, touring their campus offices and laboratories and hearing presentations on their latest research. The Vatican Observatory is planning a weeklong study session on astrobiology organized by UA astrobiologist Jonathan Lunine at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in November. See article.
g Aftermath - Here’s an interesting blog entry that addresses the question, “What's Really Behind Fear of Aliens?”

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