Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Alien biochemistries and examining the Fermi Paradox

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - Using large space-based telescopes (>10-meter) Astronomers could search for terrestrial planets with atmospheres suitable for life as we know it. Spectroscopy could be used to detect the presence of Ozone, an indicator of oxygen in the atmosphere as well as water bands. Methane produced as a result of biogenic activity could be searched for using the same methods. See article.
g Life - The hypothetical types of biochemistry are the different types of speculative biochemistries of alien life forms that differ radically from those known on Earth. It includes biochemistries that use elements other than carbon for its basic structural and physiological functions and/or use solvents other than water. See article.
g Message - If you’re not familiar with’s “Great Debates” series, you’ll want to head right away to their Web site. The discussions draw upon experts in the astrobiology field. The Fermi Paradox (“If there’s intelligent life out there, then why haven’t we heard from them?” is examined in six parts.
g Learning - Here’s a great educational tool for teaching astrobiology and various principles of science: COTI. COTI is an educational experiment in creation — students design an integrated world, alien life form and culture, and simulate contact with a future human society. One team constructs a solar system, a world and its ecology, an alien life form and its culture, basing each step on the previous one and utilizing the principles of science as a guide to imagination. The other team designs a future human colony, planetary or spacefaring, "creating and evolving" its culture as an exercise in cultural structure, dynamics and adaptation. Through a structured system of progressive revelation, the teams then simulate — and experience — contact between the two cultures in real time, exploring the problems and possibilities involved in inter-cultural encounters. See article.
g Aftermath - The statement that extraterrestrial intelligence exists or doesn’t can have the parallel statement that God exists or doesn’t. Some people say there’s already sufficient evidence of existence for both. If you set aside abductions and miracles, it’s true that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence for either. However, if and when humanity ever detects evidence of an extraterrestrial intelligence, it will break the symmetry of these two statements and, in fact, that evidence will be inconsistent with the existence of God or at least organized religions. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.

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