Sunday, November 08, 2009

Solar system with unstable planetary orbits discovered and the science of xenology

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 - NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered a young star where young planets jostle about like unsettled children. The system may be similar to our own solar system before our planets settled into their familiar orbits. See article.
g Message - Science fiction author David Brin offers a copy of his 1983 article “Xenology: The Science of Asking Who’s Out There”. While two decades old, the information is still relevant and offers a good overview of fundamental astrobiological questions. See article.
g Learning - A team of scientists has debunked six myths about the world supposedly ending in 2012 according to an ancient Mayan prophecy. See article.
g Aftermath - Before it was published, Richard Zare suspected that the paper proposing that a meteorite from Mars once hosted alien life would be a media sensation. It was. What Zare didn't expect was the course that the scientific debate has taken. He thought that the resulting discourse would be skeptical and opinionated, but also highly reasoned and dispassionate. But because of the high stakes ­ nothing less than the first discovery of alien life ­ and the intensity of the media spotlight, the scientific interchange has proven to be highly emotional and highly disruptive, he said. See paper. Note: This article is from 1997.

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