Friday, August 21, 2009

Our cosmic cloud origin and why we owe thanks to two microscopic, single-celled organisms

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 - A cosmic cloud that is crowded with budding stars and planetary systems is teaching scientists about the environment that our own solar system may have emerged from. See article.
g Life - Humans might not be walking on Earth today if not for the ancient fusing of two microscopic, single-celled organisms called prokaryotes, NASA-funded research has found. See article.
g Intelligence - Quote of the Day: “Is it possible that Europe is inhabited and other parts of the world are not?” – Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, asking rhetorically if saying Earth is the only inhabited planet is sensible
g Message - Our best chance of picking up a broadcast from intelligent aliens is when the Earth is closest to being directly between our Sun and the transmitting alien star. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Aftermath - Book alert: Science fiction writers have given us many fine novels contemplating humankind's first contact with intelligent extraterrestrials. But our nonfiction world has not thought much about what to do if we are actually faced with this situation. Jean Heidmann, Chief Astronomer at the Paris Observatory (and self-styled bioastronomer), offers a book, “Extraterrestrial Intelligence,” on the subject that is at once serious and fun. Heidmann's obvious joy in raw speculation — all of it grounded in real science — is contagious. If aliens send us a message from many light years away, for example, how should we respond? See reviews.

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