Thursday, July 30, 2009

Methane gas bursts on Mars and consequences for society if extraterrestrial intelligence is discovered

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 - What is the habitable zone for the nearby star L 674-15?
g Abodes - Something is happening beneath the surface of Mars that causes substantial amounts of methane gas to burst out regularly, a discovery that NASA scientists said represents the strongest indication so far that life might exist, or once existed, on the planet. See article.
g Life - Over time, the bacteria have evolved. They are twice as large as their common ancestor. They are also quicker to reproduce, dividing 70 percent faster. The bacteria have also evolved solutions to the torture tests devised by Dr. Lenski. See article.
g Cosmicus - Researchers are preparing a robotic return to the lunar surface in preparation for future human missions. However, lunar rovers could be quite different than the Mars rovers of past years. The moon is a much different environment than Mars, and robotic explorers on the moon will have different research goals. See article.
g Learning - "Teacher, why do I need to learn this?" "What’s it good for?" Students ask these questions when faced with content that seems unrelated to their lives. Motivating students is fundamental to promoting achievement in any classroom, even in science, which encompasses the entire natural world, the whole universe. Good questions and quality experiences support science learning for all students, not just those who are already science-friendly. The relatively new discipline of astrobiology asks great questions that intrigue students. See article.
g Aftermath - Here’s one common man’s musings on the consequences for society if extraterrestrial intelligence is discovered: "Inevitably society would change should extraterrestrial intelligence be discovered. The question is to what extent. We might react in the same way we did with the new millennium when it was imminent, but it proved to be much ado about almost nothing. The same may be true for the discovery of one or more extraterrestrial civilizations. On the other hand, the extreme opposite is a scenario where all of our worst fears are fulfilled."

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