Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rosetta stone of exoplanet research and new wave of astrobiology books

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 - Astronomers have identified a gas giant exoplanet that orbits close to its host star. Its orbit allows scientists to examine the planet, dubbed Corot-9b, in great detail. The research team believes Corot-9b could be a “Rosetta stone” in exoplanet research, providing key information about how planets form and evolve. See article.
g Life - While taking the first images of the underbelly of an ice sheet in Antarctica, scientists have made a surprising discovery. They captured video of a complex, shrimp-like animal swimming through the cold and dark subglacial waters. See article.
g Cosmicus - Materials scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have designed a way to harvest small amounts of waste energy and harness them to turn water into usable hydrogen fuel. The process is simple, efficient and recycles otherwise-wasted energy into a usable form. See article.
g Learning - not only have astronomers failed to find evidence of alien intelligence, they still do not know for sure that any life exists beyond Earth, even simple micro-organisms. Yet, as a crop of new books shows, astrobiology – the scientific search for extraterrestrial life, simple or advanced – has never been more active. Evidence is growing that many stars in our galaxy have planets on which life might have originated. At the same time, new technology should make it easier to detect alien life if it exists – in primitive form in our solar system or more advanced on other star systems. See article.
g Aftermath - Search for Life in the Universe: In this two-part essay, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson, reflects on the scientific and cultural implications of finding life elsewhere in the cosmos. Read Part I. Note: This article is from 2003.

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