Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hot exoworld with no methane and crafting a message that represents Earth and humanity

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 big, hot alien planet with almost no methane in its atmosphere continues to stump astronomers, who have long thought the gas was a common feature of such worlds. See article.
g Life - An ancestor of HIV that infects monkeys is thousands of years older than previously thought, suggesting that HIV, which causes AIDS, is not likely to stop killing humans anytime soon, finds a study by University of Arizona and Tulane University researchers. See article.
g Cosmicus - NASA needs to evolve for the future, not get stuck in the past, the agency's deputy chief said this week. See article.
g Learning - Princeton University has announced a new Planets and Life certificate program, which will introduce students to astrobiology, a field that explores the origins of life and the potential for life on other planets. See article.
g Aftermath - If we find other civilizations, what will we say to them? Crafting a message that represents Earth and humanity and can be understood by another life form is no minor endeavor. SETI Institute psychologist Douglas Vakoch has been charged with this formidable task, and has enlisted the help of mathematicians, artists, astronomers and anthropologists. Hear the messages he helped compose and learn about the thinking behind them.

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