Saturday, February 27, 2010

Signals more than beacons and planetary protection policies

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 - Daniel P. Glavin, an astrobiologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, says the possibility of extraterrestrial life in our solar system is not limited to Mars; other "habitable" worlds might exist including the icy Moons of Jupiter and Saturn, known as Europa and Enceladus. Here’s a Webcast of his presentation.
g Message - The modern Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is based on the premise that a systematic search of the cosmos may reveal artificial signals, transmitted either intentionally or, somewhat like the leakage of TV and radio signals from Earth today, as electromagnetic noise. But will these signals, if we ever detect them, be more than simple beacons telling us that we are not alone? What if the signals bear messages from an alien civilization, attempting to describe the universe from the perspective of an intelligent species evolved completely independently of humankind? See article. Note: This article is from 2001.
g Learning - Scientists and students interested in astrobiology will want to make an odyssey to two conferences this year: AbSciCon and AbGradCon. See article.
g Aftermath - Planetary protection applies to biological cross-contamination of planets during space missions. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 requires space exploration be done in ways that avoid forward contamination (transporting hitchhiker microorganisms from Earth on outbound spacecraft) and back contamination (bringing something back that could be biohazardous to Earth). See article.

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