Saturday, April 23, 2011

Scientists’ booming interest in astrobiology and first contact’s effect on religion

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 - Did the early universe have just one spatial dimension? See article.
g Abodes - A computer modeling study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that at deep Earth pressures and temperatures, longer hydrocarbons may be formed from the simplest one, the methane molecule. See article.
g Message - Want to help SETI discover alien life? If you haven’t already done so, download the free SETI at Home software. Using Internet-connected computers, the program downloads and analyzes radio telescope data on your desktop when it is idle. The program has been so successful in plowing through data that other scientific researchers, especially in medicine, are adopting it to their fields. Here’s the program.
g Cosmicus - The Florida space coast is expecting near-record crowds to flock to Cape Canaveral to watch the space shuttle Endeavour launch on its last voyage April 29. See article.
g Learning - There's no good evidence to date that life exists, or ever has existed, on worlds beyond the Earth — so it might seem odd that the field of science known as astrobiology is booming. Over the past decade or so, hundreds of biologists, geologists, chemists and astronomers have conducted research and attended conferences on astrobiology around the world, and NASA even has an Astrobiology Institute at its Ames Research Center in California. See article.
g Aftermath - The discovery that alien life exists would mean that we are not the center of the universe. While most religions now recognize that the Earth is just a lump of rock, they still believe that we human beings are the most important thing in creation, that we occupy a special place in God's plan. The existence of aliens would seem to make this implausible especially if they are more advanced than we are (on all levels, intellectually, spiritually) This would mean that God has acted in the development of the aliens in a way he did not act in ours, which in turn would mean that we do not occupy the paramount role in God's creation, which is a fundamental idea in religions. See article.

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