Thursday, October 15, 2009

Neighboring galaxy’s cosmic misfits and various thoughts of Fermi’s 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 Stars - A stunning new image reveals one of our nearest galactic neighbors, Barnard's Galaxy, also known as NGC 6822. The galaxy contains regions of rich star formation and curious nebulae, such as the bubble clearly visible in the upper left of this remarkable vista. The strange shapes of these cosmic misfits help researchers understand how galaxies interact, evolve and occasionally "cannibalize" each other, leaving behind radiant, star-filled scraps. See article.
g Abodes - Geophysicists determined that tectonic mountain-building processes are not the only factor that determines elevation in North America. The temperature of the crust affects its density, and lower density crust will rise higher than colder, higher density crust. The heat in question comes from the Earthýs interior and also radioactive decay of various elements in the crust. Broadly, the Rocky Mountain region of the United States has the hottest crust, as well as the highest general elevation. See article.
g Message - Here’s a nice summary of various astrobiological authors on the Fermi Paradox, or the question of why, if there supposedly are so many aliens, we haven’t met any of them yet.
g Cosmicus - Researchers are developing a new type of rocket fuel made from a frozen mixture of water and “nanoscale aluminum'” powder. The fuel would be more environmentally friendly, and could be manufactured on the moon, Mars or other water-bearing bodies. Such fuels could play an important role in future missions beyond our planet. See article.
g Aftermath - Though an older Web posting, “After Contact, Then What?” shows how little we’ve thought about this question.

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