Sunday, August 09, 2009

Evolution in small bursts and adjustments in the way we view ourselves after radio contact with ETI

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 GJ 1128?
g Abodes - “Geoengineering” refers to human-made changes to the Earth's land, seas or atmosphere that are intended to help slow climate change. However, some scientists are worried that geoengineering techniques may cause more harm than good. See article.
g Life - A new study shows that new species of life on Earth emerge just as often as they die out, and that most evolution occurs in small bursts. The research has implications in understanding the history of life on our planet and the evolutionary processes that will shape the biosphere's future on Earth. See article.
g Cosmicus - On Earth, we use robotic airplanes to explore and collect data in places that are difficult to access. NASA wants to do something similar on Mars. How do Earth and Mars differ? What are some of the challenges to designing an airplane for flight on Mars? See video.
g Learning - How is the search for life elsewhere reflected culturally in symbols that we recognize daily? One signpost invented to characterize the 'state of the internet' is the occasional change in the logo of the world's most popular search engine. How that doodle has come to recognize astrobiology seems to violate conventional wisdom on what is meant by tinkering with one's cherished brand recognition. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Aftermath - If some day we detect a radio signal from a distant civilization, we’ll have to make some adjustments in the way we view ourselves. After millennia of knowing of no other intelligence in the universe than humankind, we could face a considerable challenge to our terrestrial egotism. In the process, will we simply gain a little healthy humility about our place in the universe? Or would it be downright humiliating to compare our own meager accomplishments with those of more advanced extraterrestrials? See article. Note: This article is from 2000.

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