Thursday, April 07, 2011

Look for ETI mining asteroids and new astrobiology book

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 - NASA's Kepler mission have provided such a clear view of changes in star brightness that astronomers can now see clues about what happens inside red giant stars. The results also shed light on what could happen to the Sun in about 5 billion years. See article.
g Abodes - A photo may be worth 1,000 words, but a new depiction of NASA's Kepler mission is worth 1,235 potential alien planets. Created by a devoted mission scientist, the image takes stock of the Kepler observatory's prolific planet-hunting results so far. See article.
g Message - After 50 years of searching the heavens with radio telescopes to try to contact alien life, so far the attempts of SETI scientists seem to have fallen on deaf ears. So is there another way to try to find aliens in our galactic neighborhood? Some scientists suggest looking for signs of ETs mining asteroids. See article.
g Cosmicus - With the space shuttle program reaching its end, scientists are focusing on technology that can take humans beyond Earth. All eyes are on Mars, but designing a spacecraft that can travel to and land on the Red Planet remains a prime challenge. See article.
g Learning - It wasn’t that long ago that the field of astrobiology —the search for life beyond Earth—operated towards the fringes of scientific endeavor, research many explicitly avoided being identified with, especially those seeking government grants or academic tenure. That’s changed, though, as scientists have both discovered life in increasingly extreme environments on the Earth as well as identifying locales beyond Earth, including beyond our solar system, which may be hospitable to life. There are now astrobiology conferences, astrobiology journals, and even a NASA Astrobiology Institute. It’s in that environment of increased acceptance that Marc Kaufman surveys the state of astrobiology’s quest to discover life elsewhere in the universe in First Contact. See review.

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