Thursday, September 23, 2010

Giant exoworlds snuggling up to stars and NASA's Desert RATS

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 - A newfound alien solar system with planets the size of Saturn circling close to their star is helping astronomers learn how some giant worlds snuggle up to their stellar parents like moths to a flame. See article.
g Intelligence - Princeton University research suggests something that college students have known for decades: Sexual activity may lower stress. 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. This article is from 1996.
g Cosmicus - NASA's Desert RATS – or Research and Technology Studies – are making their 13th trip to the desert this fall for another round of analog testing. The Earth-based project is helping NASA plan future human missions to locations like Mars where humans will play a scientific role in the search for life in our solar system. See article.
g Learning - The scientists who put an innovative "tree of life" online last year now have made that same resource available -- for free - for iPhone users. The new "TimeTree" application lets anyone with an Apple iPhone harness a vast Internet storehouse of data about the diversity of life, from bacteria to humans. The intuitive interface is designed to answer a simple question, quickly and authoritatively: how long ago did species A and species B share a common ancestor? See article.

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