Friday, June 04, 2010

Primer for decoding messages from extraterrestrials and virtual astronauts for the Moon and 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 Abodes - It's no longer a secret to anyone that water once existed on the surface of the Red Planet. Extensive analysis from rovers, landers and orbiters has made that abundantly clear. But while experts agree on that, they continue to debate on whether the planet was a warm world, or if the freezing temperatures it currently exhibits have been the norm there since Mars appeared. It is known that its atmosphere was a lot thicker in the past, right about the time when liquid water persisted on its surface. See article.
g Intelligence - Author Nicholas Carr believes that the Internet is a medium based on interruption — and it's changing the way people read and process information. We've come to associate the acquisition of wisdom with deep reading and solitary concentration, and he says there's not much of that to be found online. See article.
g Message - Will we ever find a primer for decoding messages from extraterrestrials? In 2005, anthropologists who gathered for a major conference in Atlanta heard some news that will be sobering for SETI enthusiasts: It may be much more difficult to understand extraterrestrials than many scientists have thought before. See article.
g Cosmicus - An international team of researchers shuttered themselves inside a virtual spacecraft in Russia Thursday to begin a 520-day simulation of a manned mission to Mars. See article.
g Learning - More than 37 years after humans last walked on the moon, planetary scientists are inviting members of the public to return to the lunar surface as "virtual astronauts" to help answer important scientific questions. See Moon Zoo.
g Aftermath - Clearly, if we are not alone in the universe, there are some unavoidable theological and philosophical consequences. We should reflect on the consequences of a positive result of either finding extraterrestrial microorganisms, or receiving a radio message form an extraterrestrial source: When such discovery occurs, the implications are likely to have an impact on our culture requiring adjustments possibly more radical than those arising from the evidence that humans descend from microorganisms. See paper.

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