Thursday, March 03, 2011

Sunspot drought mystery and the world of extraterrestrial science

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 source of a mysterious drought of sunspots in recent years apparently originated beneath the star's solar skin, investigators find. See article.
g Abodes - How severe can climate change become in a warming world? Worse than anything we've seen in written history, according to results of a study recently appearing in the journal Science. See article.
g Life - Almost 600 million years ago, before the rampant evolution of diverse life forms known as the Cambrian explosion, a community of seaweeds and worm-like animals lived in a quiet deep-water niche under the sea near what is now Lantian, a small village in Anhui Province of South China. Then they simply died, leaving some 3,000 nearly pristine fossils preserved between beds of black shale deposited in oxygen-free waters. See article.
g Message - Book alert: In “Are We Alone? Scientists Search for Life in Space,” a rare combination of engaging narrative and factual information, Gloria Skurzynski uses techniques she's developed as a fiction writer to energize her science writing. This book not only brings the reader into the world of extraterrestrial science, but is also very much about the hopes and dreams of real people. She lends a strong personal voice to the narrative, drawing the reader deep into the world of extraterrestrial study. Humans have always been fascinated with extraterrestrial life, and the book traces that interest, including the origination of the term "flying saucer." Sloan also explains why scientists don't buy it. See reviews.
g Cosmicus - Researchers have struck million-dollar deals for as many as 17 flights aboard two kinds of private-sector suborbital spaceships, with the prospect of many more in future years. "This is just whetting people’s taste for what is to come," said Alan Stern, a planetary scientist who helped engineer the deals and is due to be one of the first to fly. See article.

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