Friday, February 18, 2011

Beaming Web sites at aliens and 16,000 planets in the habitable zone

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 - Creating stars is a lot like cooking: You need the right ingredients in the proper proportions to make everything shine. One of those ingredients is dark matter, and a new study has pinpointed the lower limit of this elusive substance needed to ignite a frenzy of star formation: a mass equal to 300 billion of our suns. See article.
g Abodes - The Kepler orbiter scans only a small arc, just one-400th of the sky. If it could survey the total sphere, it presumably would have found more than 400,000 planets, with perhaps 16,000 in the Goldilocks zone, NASA leaders said. See editorial.
g Life - Astrobiologists working with oncologists have suggested that cancer resembles ancient forms of life that flourished between 600 million and 1 billion years ago. See article.
g Intelligence - In the upcoming issue of the journal Nature, anthropologists question the claims that several prominent fossil discoveries made in the last decade are our human ancestors and instead offer a more nuanced explanation of the fossils' place in the Tree of Life. They conclude that instead of being our ancestors the fossils more likely belong to extinct distant cousins. See article.
g Message - Aliens will be glad to know that if ever they need to find an apartment here on Earth, someone has got them covered. In 2005, a company called Deep Space Communications Network beamed the first commercial transmission of a Web site into space. See article.
g Cosmicus - Spacecraft that can make their own decisions, have desires and reason like human beings are being developed by British scientists and the European Space Agency. See article.

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