Sunday, November 07, 2010

ETI synchronization schemes and snowball planets

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 - The Earth has plunged into a deep freeze several times in the past, with ice covering the land and sea for millions of years. Researchers are studying how the planet eventually escaped these cold spells, and whether Earth-like planets elsewhere in the galaxy may be susceptible to the same climate catastrophe. See article.
g Message - If the signals that are being sought in SETI programs do exist but are very brief, for example because they are produced intermittently to conserve energy, then it is essential to know when these signals will arrive at the Earth. Different types of synchronization schemes are possible which vary in the relative amount of effort which is required by the transmitter and the receiver. Here the case is made for a scheme which is extremely simple for the receiver: make observations of a target when it is at maximum angular distance from the Sun (i.e. "opposition"). See paper.
g Cosmicus - NASA's EPOXI mission successfully flew by comet Hartley 2, and the spacecraft has begun returning images. Hartley 2 is the fifth comet nucleus visited by a spacecraft. See article.
g Aftermath - How would proof of extraterrestrial intelligence affect humanity’s “world” view? Astronomer Steve Dick discusses the matter in this transcribed Smithsonian Institute lecture, from 1999. See article.

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