Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ancient Martian atmosphere and technological manifestations of detectable civilizations

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 - With the help of the army of volunteers working on the Galaxy Zoo 2 "citizen science" project, an international team of scientists have discovered that the bars found in many spiral galaxies could be helping to kill them off. The researchers present their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. See article.
g Abodes - Chemists have uncovered a new chemical reaction on tiny particulates in the atmosphere that could allow scientists to gain a glimpse from ancient rocks of what the atmospheres of the Earth and Mars were like hundreds of millions years ago. See article.
g Life - In October, a UFO (unidentified "floating" object) was spotted in Newport News, Virginia. The bizarre blob was not a Halloween prank, and has been identified as a “magnificient bryozoan.” This species' fossil record spans some 500 million years - but the Newport News specimen is larger than most reports of the organism. See article.
g Intelligence - Do you like to do good things for other people? If so, your genes might be responsible for this. At least, the results of a study conducted by researchers of the University of Bonn suggest this. According to the study, a minute change in a particular gene is associated with a significantly higher willingness to donate. People with this change gave twice as much money on average to a charitable cause as did other study subjects. See article.
g Message - What technological manifestations would make an advanced extraterrestrial civilization detectable? See article. Note: This paper was written in 1992.
g Cosmicus - The stars demand better of us than a fixation on quick results. Wonderful if we do get them, but budgetary and technological realities may push the definitive discovery of life around another star into an ambiguous future. See article.

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