Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tossing the snowball theory and six man crew aboard ISS

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 - The Phoenix Mars Lander ended its mission last November, but scientists are still pondering the data. One intriguing discovery was a nightly cycle in which water vapor in the atmosphere collapsed into the Martian soil. One researcher thinks this may hint of dew-like films that could have supported life in a previous Martian climate. See article.
g Life - New fossil studies indicate that the 'Snowball Earth' glaciations may not have been responsible for a massive die-off of early life on our planet. The real culprit could be bacterial blooms similar to those seen today in coastal areas and lakes that experience high run-off from fertilizers used in farming. See article.
g Intelligence - Book alert: What will be the lasting impression made by mankind - 100 million years hence? Jan Zalasiewicz, a lecturer in geology at the University of Leicester, has published a new book looking at the lasting impression likely to be made by mankind. See article.
g Cosmicus - For the first time in its history the international space station (ISS) has taken on a full complement of six astronauts with a Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three new space travellers docking at the orbiting complex on Friday. See article.
g Learning - Why do the United States and NASA need astrobiology? An astrobiologist answers. Note: This article is from 2006.
g Imagining - What will an alien look like? If you follow the viewpoint of most television sci-fi, then all aliens will be men in rubber alien suits. The producers of “Star Trek” seem to think aliens are just like humans with little latex ridges on the noses or foreheads. The reason for this anthropomorphism on TV is that it’s cheap. The alien in the movie “Alien” was gross and ugly, and we surely would never be able to discuss our New Age feelings with such a creature. It cost the movie producers much more than a little latex on the bridge of an actor’s nose. The truth is that we are much more likely to meet Sigourney Weavers’s alien than a Bajoran. See article.
g Aftermath - In the absence of knowledge of physical and cultural clues, communication between two species can be almost impossible — almost. See article. Note: This article is from 1999.

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