Monday, November 30, 2009

Past climate of Mars and the Rio Scale for ETI detection

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 - Scientists recently used an innovative computer program to produce a more detailed global map of valley networks on Mars. The results are consistent with past climate scenarios that include precipitation and an ocean in the Martian north. See article.
g Life - Scientists recently inventoried an astonishing abundance of deep sea species that have never known sunlight. These organisms have managed to live in frigid depths of up to 5,000 meters below the ocean. The study may help astrobiologists understand how life could survive in oceans on other worlds. See article.
g Message - What are the chances that an alien signal has been sent our way just at the right moment to splash upon our antennas during that brief interval? If the extraterrestrials beam their broadcasts to the whole galaxy (or at least a big chunk of it), the chances are 100 percent. See article.
g Cosmicus - Astronomers studying pictures sent back by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), currently circling the Red Planet, say that an intriguing clump of depressions in the Martian soils could be the entries to an underground cave system. The underground refuges could be supporting microscopic life forms that were driven away from the surface when the planet lost its water, billions of years ago. In the future, as space agencies ponder manned explorations to the planet, these underground caverns could prove to be a wonderful refuge in which astronauts could take shelter from the harsh conditions on the surface of Mars. See article.
g Aftermath - A SETI detection will have important consequences for society. So at the International Astronautics Federation’s annual get-together in Rio de Janeiro a few years ago, Hungarian astronomer Ivan Almar and SETI Institute researcher Jill Tarter proposed the Rio Scale for ranking both the importance and credibility of claims that evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence has been found. See article.

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