Friday, September 03, 2010

Active geological processes on other planets and how to build an alien

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 - A magnetar is a weird duck, indeed. It's a spinning neutron star with a super-strong magnetic field a thousand trillion times stronger than Earth's magnetic field. See article.
g Abodes - An expert in processing spacecraft images of the planets, Dr. Cynthia Phillips is particularly interested in the search for active geological processes on Mars, Europa, Io and beyond. These worlds represent locations where liquid water, a possible indicator of life, could be present today. Here’s an interview with her.
g Message - "If you're sending a message to extraterrestrials, what you want to send is what's special about us and our planet — what is unusual," according to SETI astronomer Frank Drake. Read his essay. This essay is from 2006.
g Cosmicus - Propelled by sunlight pressure, large lightweight sails made of ultrathin aluminum-coated plastic could one day take probes to the edge of our solar system and other stars. See article.
g Imagining - Many science fiction story lines involve alien life forms. From a literary prospective, aliens often serve as metaphors for something more familiar. From a practical prospective, they make stories more interesting and TV more eye-catching. But what of scientific accuracy? A professor offers his advice about "How to Build an Alien".

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