Sunday, November 01, 2009

Mysterious haze at galaxy’s center and ‘Extraterrestrial Intelligence’

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 - In the latest episode of their continuing efforts to embrace and understand the dark side of creation, astronomers sifting data from a new satellite say they have discerned the existence of a mysterious haze of high-energy particles surrounding the center of the Milky Way galaxy. See article.
g Abodes - Three astronomers, following in the footsteps of no less illustrious a predecessor than Galileo, have discovered a new ring around the planet Saturn. See article.
g Message - When does asking the right questions tell more than necessarily knowing the right answers? Perhaps when crossing the fertile boundary between biology and astronomy. See article.
g Cosmicus - European Space Agency leaders appear to be closing in on a solution for a Mars lander initiative that would reconcile technological and science goals with available budgets. See article.
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 “Extraterrestrial Intelligence,” a book 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? Heidmann reviews the protocols established in the SETI Declaration and then offers his own suggestion: Send them the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica. See reviews.

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