Sunday, December 06, 2009

First direct detection of a planet-like object orbiting a sun-like star and looking for Bracewell probes

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 - Astronomers have made the first direct detection of a planet-like object orbiting a sun-like star. The finding is a step forward for scientists searching for habitable worlds around distant stars. See article.
g Abodes - Astrobiology Magazine's climate blog, The Hot Zone, discusses the recent set of email messages sent by the Director of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit that were hacked and uploaded to a public Web site. The emails have sparked a great deal of debate concerning climate change. See article.
g Message - To contact an alien civilization, humanity might want to consider a Bracewell probe — a hypothetical concept for an autonomous interstellar space probe dispatched for the express purpose of communication with (an) alien civilization(s). It was proposed by Ronald N. Bracewell in a 1960 paper, as an alternative to interstellar radio communication between widely separated civilizations. See article.
g Aftermath - It was not suggested outside of science fiction — and there only after the 1890s — that extraterrestrials might come to Earth, except for a few believers in interplanetary spirit travel by mortals (an idea now well established among occultists). Among these was the well-known Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck, who, in what was perhaps the earliest conception of ETs as “gods from outer space,” reasoned that since no beings from other worlds have used their advanced science to abolish suffering on Earth, “Is there not reason to fear that we are forever alone in the universe, and that no other world has ever been more intelligent or better than our own?” But this, the first serious “Where are they?” argument, was not known to the general public and in any case would not have carried weight, since it depended on the concept of disembodied spirits. Physical contact between worlds was not thought possible outside of fiction. See article.

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