Thursday, December 10, 2009

Martian methane not from meteors and ‘Detectability of Extraterrestrial Technological Activities’

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 have ruled out the possibility that methane is delivered to Mars by meteorites, raising fresh hopes that the gas might be generated by life on the red planet. See article.
g Life - In a laboratory set up to simulate conditions in space, NASA scientists were able to produce a key component of RNA, which is found in the genetic makeup of all living organisms on Earth. See article.
g Message - “If we want to find evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, we must work out an observational strategy for detecting this evidence in order to establish the various physical quantities in which it involves,” according to the paper “Detectability of Extraterrestrial Technological Activities”. “This information must be carefully analyzed so that it is neither over-interpreted nor overlooked and can be checked by independent researchers.” Read the entire paper online. Note: This paper was presented in 1992.
g Cosmicus - Most of the light from stars and other objects like planets in the universe is doubly invisible. It comes in the form of infrared, or heat radiation, with wavelengths too long for our eyes to pick up. Moreover, most infrared wavelengths do not penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere to get to our unseeing eyes. So to take a proper inventory of cosmic shenanigans, astronomers have had to take to space. On Friday, they will get a little more help when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is scheduled to launch the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California as early as 9:09 a.m., Eastern time. See article.
g Learning - Here’s something neat: an online seminar that is an introduction to astrobiology.
g Aftermath - If some day we decide to transmit intentional messages to the stars, rather than solely listen as current SETI programs do, what would we say? What sort of first impression would we want to give our celestial correspondents? See article. Note: This article is from 2003.

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