Monday, June 20, 2011

Messages we’ve sent to aliens and challenging our understanding of early Earth

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - New findings challenge a theory that the cooling period known as the Younger Dryas was caused by an impact. What was previously thought to be geologic evidence of intense heating at the time has now been shown to be fossilized balls of fungus, charcoal and fecal pellets. See article.
g Message - Researchers writing in a recent issue of Nature argue that radio signals are not the most efficient way of alerting an extraterrestrial intelligence to our existence — and that anyone out there who is trying to send out a similar message is likely to have reached the same conclusion. Here’s a downloadable NPR report on the conclusions. Note: The radio report is from 2004.
g Aftermath - If we find other civilizations, what will we say to them? Crafting a message that represents Earth and humanity and can be understood by another life form is no minor endeavor. SETI Institute psychologist Douglas Vakoch has been charged with this formidable task, and has enlisted the help of mathematicians, artists, astronomers and anthropologists. Hear the messages he helped compose and learn about the thinking behind them here.

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