Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mathematics the key to astrobiology and China targets Mars

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Stars - By studying theories about why the universe is the way it is, mathematicians are hoping to uncover what these theories mean for the origin and future of life. Mathematics could be the key to answering some of life's biggest questions, and could help astrobiologists understand life's place in the universe. See article.
g Life - How did house cats evolve? Can dogs talk? Why do cats purr? Find out in this report on the science of our best friends. See article.
g Cosmicus - The rapidly ascending Chinese space program is setting its sights on a new target: Mars. See article.
g Learning - Twenty-three eighth graders from a Maine junior high school will have front row seats for the launch of the shuttle Endeavour. See article.
g Imagining - Book alert: Get thee to a used bookstore if you haven’t read “Life Signs: The Biology of Star Trek,” by Susan and Robert Jenkins. The Jenkinses focus on the biological logic (or illogic) behind the alien ecologies in Star Trek — the original TV series and all of its sequels and movie spinoffs. The best parts are the biological bloopers, even though only a fan will truly appreciate them. For instance, how did the Klingons evolve forehead ridges between the original and the new series ... and why do all the planets look like California? The science in the book helps the authors hypothesize about how humanoid life might have evolved throughout the universe (panspermia revisited). They offer simple evolutionary theories to explain the various head shapes and behaviors of fictional alien species. See article.

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