Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Looking for ‘aliens’ in California and become the ‘S’ in ‘SETI’

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 - Mono Lake, just east of Yosemite National Park, is a place of bizarre natural beauty. It also boasts one of the highest natural concentrations of arsenic on Earth. The latter fact, says geomicrobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon, makes it a good spot to look for alien life. See article.
g Life - Carbon is great molecular glue—there’s not doubt about it. Just add water and you’ve got life. Well, maybe it’s not quite that simple, but carbon and water do seem to be a winning combo, at least on planet Earth. That may be why we’ve been limiting ourselves in our search for . The carbon/water combo has worked so well for our own conditions, that we simply can’t imagine anything else supporting life. See article.
g Message - Want to help SETI discover alien life? If you haven’t already done so, download the free SETI at Home software. Using Internet-connected computers, the program downloads and analyzes radio telescope data on your desktop when it is idle. The program has been so successful in plowing through data that other scientific researchers, especially in medicine, are adopting it to their fields. Click here for the program.
g Cosmicus - Delaware State University in Dover will be the new home of the Optical Sciences Center for Applied Research after receiving a $5-million grant from NASA. The center is designed to spur new optical technology developments to improve the aerospace industry. The research center will specifically target areas including planetary science, space communication and navigation, and astrobiology. See article.
g Aftermath - Here’s an intriguing essay that discusses what might happen if we do too little to contact extraterrestrials; as the authors argue, “…skepticism regarding SETI is at best unfounded and at worst can seriously damage the long-term prospects of humanity. If ETIs exist, no matter whether friendly or adversarial (or even beyond such simple distinctions), they are relevant for our future. To neglect this is contrary to the basic tenets of transhumanism. To appreciate this, it is only sufficient to imagine the consequences of SETI success for any aspect of transhumanist interests, and then to affirm that such a success can only be achieved without trying if they come to us, which would obviously mean that we are hopelessly lagging in the race for galactic colonization.” See article.

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