Monday, February 07, 2011

Finding alien space artifacts and Mars’ shifting sand dunes

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 - The first stars in the universe were not as solitary as previously thought. In fact, they could have formed alongside numerous companions when the gas disks that surrounded them broke up during formation, giving birth to sibling stars in the fragments. See article.
g Abodes - Dunes in the north of Mars are not frozen in time as some have thought — conversely, their sands can shift both slowly and quickly, scientists have found. See article.
g Life - Alien life might be hard to find for the simple reason that it is fundamentally unlike Earth life. It might not use DNA, or contain protein. But whatever and wherever it is, its tendency to chemically alter its environment might just give it away. See article.
g Message - Just as our own robots reach out beyond the solar system, searching for life elsewhere may well involve hailing some kind of space artifact in our own neighborhood. At least one style of life search is about looking for the technological evidence of life, rather than its wet biology. See article. This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - Engineers have found a way to grow nanolasers directly onto a silicon surface, an achievement that could lead to a new class of faster, more efficient microprocessors, as well as to powerful biochemical sensors that use optoelectronic chips. See article.
g Learning - When does asking the right questions tell more than necessarily knowing the right answers? Perhaps when crossing the fertile boundary between biology and astronomy. See article.

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