Monday, August 03, 2009

Covering Mars in water and what role extraterrestrials might play in humanity’s future

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 system Ross 882 AB?
g Abodes - New measurements of Mars' south polar region indicate extensive frozen water. The polar region contains enough frozen water to cover the whole planet in a liquid layer approximately 36 feet deep. A joint NASA-Italian Space Agency instrument on the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft provided these data. See article. Note: This article is from 2007.
g Life - In its simplest and shortest definition, astrobiology may be summed up as, “The study of life in the universe.” There's just one problem when it comes to studying life in the universe. So far, we're it. See article.
g Intelligence - Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov penned the 'Three Laws of Responsible Robotics", and helped form the way that humans think about artificial intelligence. Now, researchers have proposed a new set of laws and foresee what they believe is "a safer and more realistic" future for robotics. See article.
g Cosmicus - NASA is introducing a new web site that provides information on near-Earth objects, such as asteroids and comets. Impact events have played an important role in shaping the habitability of Earth, and future impacts could have a profound effect on our planet's biosphere. See article.
g Learning - Weary of catching planes, burning up fossil fuels, and spending lots of time and money to attend meetings? Take heart! Virtual worlds are shaping up as possible venues for online meetings - and astrobiology graduate students are leading the way in exploring their potential. See article.
g Aftermath - What role will extraterrestrials play in humanity’s future? Here’s a paper by University of Toronto Professor Allen Tough. Though written more than 20 years ago, the paper contains plenty of useful ideas that are fresh (and ignored) today, especially those about extraterrestrial behavior and help.

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