Saturday, December 26, 2009

Brown dwarfs more common than thought and SETI’s radio telescopes

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 - Two brown dwarf-sized objects orbiting a giant old star show that planets may assemble around stars more quickly and efficiently than anyone thought possible, according to an international team of astronomers. See article.
g Abodes - The faint tug of the sun and moon on the San Andreas Fault stimulates tremors deep underground, suggesting that the rock 15 miles below is lubricated with highly pressurized water that allows the rock to slip with little effort, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley, seismologists. See article.
g Life - The Earth is estimated to have about a nonillion (1030) microbes in, on, around, and under it, comprised of an unknown but very large number of distinct species. Despite the widespread availability of microbial genome data - close to 2,000 microbes have been and are being decoded to date - a vast unknown realm awaits scientists intent on exploring microorganisms that inhabit this "undiscovered country." See article.
g Intelligence - Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have made a major discovery in how the brain encodes memories. The finding, published in the Dec. 24 issue of the journal Neuron, could eventually lead to the development of new drugs to aid memory. See article.
g Message - The wide dishes, 20 feet across and raised high on their pedestals, creaked and groaned as the winds from an approaching snowstorm pushed into this highland valley. Forty-two in all, the radio telescopes laid out in view of some of California's tallest mountains look otherworldly, and now their sounds conjured up visions of deep-space denizens as well. See article.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the day: (about humanity reaching the stars) “No, you won’t see it. But you’re part of it, as you’re part of mankind, and you can help. For as long as you live, you can help push, since you can’t ride. You can help push rockets and men toward the stars.” – Fredric Brown, “The Lights in the Sky are Stars”
g Aftermath - Even if the public seems less than awestruck by the prospect that alien life is a bunch of microscopic bugs, astrobiologists say unequivocal discovery of microbial life beyond Earth will change human society in profound ways, some unfathomable today. See article. Note: This article is from 2001.

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