Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kepler identifies 706 potential alien worlds and searching for fossils on Europa’s surface

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 - NASA's Kepler spacecraft hunting for Earth-like planets around other stars has found 706 candidates for potential alien worlds while gazing at more than 156,000 stars packed into a single patch of the sky. See article.
g Life - Jupiter's moon Europa has a salty ocean where life could exist. A thick ice shell separates the ocean from our exploration vehicles, and it’s not known how far down we’d need to drill. But why drill at all, when evidence for life could be lying right on the surface? See article.
g Message - Should we modify the Drake Equation to account for civilizations which actually engage in deliberate interstellar transmission? See article.
g Cosmicus - The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) obtained its first astronomical images during its inaugural night flight on May 26. This is one of the biggest milestones achieved to date and keeps SOFIA on track for the start of science flights later this year. See article.
g Learning - Book alert: "Are We Alone? Scientists Search for Life in Space" by Gloria Skurzynski begins with the classic question: Are we alone? After discussion UFOs and common public misconceptions about aliens visiting Earth, Skurzynski goes to where the real science is happening. She brings her considerable writing skills to this delightful book, which spans astrobiology, the study of life as we know it on Earth and the search for life beyond Earth. Scientists look for life using microscopes, telescopes, space missions, and planetary explorations. They study extremophiles, organisms that live in extreme environments on Earth, in the hopes that they will lead us to a better understanding of how life may exist in space. This book visits scientists across the globe who are trying to find out more about life, from Puerto Rico to California, from Socorro, New Mexico to Chile, Finland, Spain, and Hawaii. It’s a good read and a great adventure. Selected by National Science Teachers Association and Children’s Book Council as a "Best Book." (Hardback: National Geographic, 96 pages, 2004).

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Search4XtraLife said...

The concept of skeletons and remains on the ice-surface... that would be possible. If we dig into the ice, there probably would be living microbes in the ice deeper down, where radiation cannot get through. Let's just hope that NASA and other organizations hurry up and quit making decade-long plans...

Rob Bignell said...

Agreed. NASA and the European Space Agency have drawn up plans for a mission to Jupiter and Europa in 2020; it would study Europa's geology and chemistry, so at best we're looking at another 11 to perhaps 16 years for data to come back. If we'd done it right rather than give up on space exploration in the 1970s, our first astronuats would be returning from Europa about right now.