Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spacecraft could determine if exoplanets harbor water and ambitious lunar reconnaissance mission

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - Using instruments aboard the Deep Impact spacecraft, a team of astronomers and astrobiologists has devised a technique to tell whether such a planet harbors liquid water, which in turn could tell whether it might be able to support life. See article.
g Cosmicus - Factors of time and distance have obscured from view the winners and losers that remain across one of the great battlegrounds of the Cold War - the Moon. Those interfering veils are about to be lifted by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, set for liftoff June 17 on the most ambitious lunar mission since Apollo 17 in 1972. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a good primer to astrobiology that discusses what is astrobiology, lists the types of questions astrobiology seeks to answer, describes how one can become an astrobiologist, and recommends some books in the field. See article.
g Aftermath - Here’s an interesting book that is slated for June publication: “Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials,” by Michael Michaud. This book describes a wide variety of speculations by many authors about the consequences for humanity of coming into contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. The assumptions underlying those speculations are examined, and some conclusions are drawn. As necessary background, the book also included brief summaries of the history of thinking about extraterrestrial intelligence, searches for life and for signals, contrasting paradigms of how contact might take place, and the paradox that those paradigms allegedly create. See article.

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