Friday, June 15, 2012

New ‘failed stars’ found close to home and closing in on quantum computer

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 - Astronomers are getting to know the neighbors better. Our sun resides within a spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy about two-thirds of the way out from the center. It lives in a fairly calm, suburb-like area with an average number of stellar residents. Recently, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has been turning up a new crowd of stars close to home: the coldest of the brown dwarf family of "failed" stars. See article.
g Message - Using a conservative approach to interstellar travel that intelligent extraterrestrials may be present in our solar system, living in world ships that have colonized cometary or asteroidal objects during the last billion years. The originating star systems for these advanced beings could be solar-type stars that fortuitously approach our Sun within a light year or so at intervals of about a million years or nearby stars that have left the main sequence, prompting interstellar migration. If we are indeed within such a "Dyson Sphere" of artificial worldlets, we could detect their presence through astronomical means since a space habitat will emit more infrared radiation than a like-sized comet or asteroid. See article.
g Cosmicus - The quantum computer is a futuristic machine that could operate at speeds even more mind-boggling than the world's fastest super-computers. Research involving physicist Mike Thewalt of Simon Fraser University offers a new step towards making quantum computing a reality, through the unique properties of highly enriched and highly purified silicon. See article.

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