Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Astrobiology and sustainability; how proof of ETI would affect humanity’s ‘world’ view

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 - We live in a cosmic shooting gallery. In Phil Plait's “Death from the Skies”, he lays out the dangers of a massive impact: destructive shockwaves, tsunamis, flash fires, atmospheric darkening … The scenario isn't pretty should a big one come our way. Fortunately, we may have a silent guardian: Jupiter. See article.
g Life - Scientists have reexamined the 1996 finding that a meteorite contains evidence that life may have existed on ancient Mars. The study argues that life remains the most plausible explanation for the materials and structures found in the meteorite. See article.
g Intelligence - Life on a global biosphere basis is substantiated in the form of organics and organisms, and defined as the intermediate forms (briefly expressed as CH2O) hovering between the reduced (CH4, methane) and (CO2, carbon dioxide) ends, different from the classical definition of life as a complex organization maintaining ordered structure and information. Both definitions consider sustenance of life meant as protection of life against chaos through an input of external energy. The CH2O-life connection is maintained as long as the supply of H and O lasts, which is in turn are provided by the splitting of the water molecule H2O. Water is split by electricity, as well-known from school-level experiments, and by solar radiation and geothermal heat on a global scale. In other words, the Sun’s radiation and the Earth’s heat as well as radioactivity split water to supply H and O for continued existence of life on the Earth. These photochemical, radiochemical and geothermal processes have influences on the evolution and current composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, compared with those of Venus and Mars, and influences on the planetary climatology. This view of life may be applicable to the “search-for-life in space” and to sustainability assessment of astrobiological habitats. See paper.
g Message - When it comes to signaling across space, power is paramount. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Learning - The scientific community today needs professionals who can effectively work across the traditional boundaries of academic disciplines. See article.
g Aftermath - How would proof of extraterrestrial intelligence affect humanity’s “world” view? Astronomer Steve Dick discusses the matter in this transcribed Smithsonian Institute lecture, from 1999.

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