Sunday, May 23, 2010

Radio vs. optical in the search for ETI and liquid erosion on Mars

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 - Supermassive black holes with the mass of many millions of stars have been detected at the centre of many large galaxies. A super-massive black hole acts like a lurking "monster" at the centre of the galaxy which swallows the surrounding material through the intensity of its gravitational pull. X-ray observations indicate that a large amount of energy is produced by the in-fall of matter into a black hole, and ejected in powerful jets. Astronomers have now shown that these jets eject matter not only from their host galaxies but even the gas between the galaxy group members. See article.
g Abodes - It appears flash flooding has paved streambeds in the Xanadu region of Saturn's moon Titan with thousands of sparkling crystal balls of ice, according to scientists with NASA's Cassini spacecraft. By analyzing the way the terrain has scattered radar beams, scientists deduce the spheres measure at least a few centimeters and maybe up to a couple of meters in diameter. The spheres likely originated as part of water-ice bedrock in higher terrain in Xanadu. See article.
g Message - While advanced civilizations might be tempted to use optical means such as lasers to send information between the stars, there are some good reasons that nearly all the major Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence experiments are looking for radio waves instead. See article. Note: This article is from 1996.

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