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Posts Tagged "aliens"

Assignment: Impossible

Too Hard for Science? Detecting Earth-like Worlds around White Dwarfs

Dying stars could serve as havens for life In “Too Hard For Science?” I interview scientists about ideas they would love to explore that they don’t think could be investigated. For instance, they might involve machines beyond the realm of possibility, such as devices as big as galaxies, or they might be completely unethical, such [...]

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Assignment: Impossible

Visions: No Worlds Left To Conquer

In the series “Visions,” science fiction about the very latest research will be paired with analysis looking into the facts behind the fiction. The goal is to marry ripped-from-the-headlines science fiction with analysis into the possibilities hinted at by new discoveries. It took a while before I figured out that my life as I knew [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Should We Expect Other Earth-like Planets At All?

exoplanets-many-habitable-worlds

This year has been a spectacular one for exoplanets. New discoveries and new insights have truly pushed the gateway to other worlds even further open.     In the past 12 months we’ve gained increasingly good statistics on the incredible abundance of planets around other stars and their multiplicity. We also finally seem to have [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Panspermia Paradox

Seed dispersal in the galactic garden? (Image adapted from A. Valavanis)

The notion of panspermia – the transferral of viable organisms between planets, and even between star systems, seems to be getting a bit more attention these days. One only has to open this previous week’s copy of TIME magazine and there it is, via a very nice piece by Jeffrey Kluger on ‘Aliens Among Us‘. [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Calling All Sentient Lifeforms

Galileo spacecraft images us (NASA/JPL)

You may notice that today is the one year anniversary of the Scientific American blog network. You may also notice that across the blogs this morning is a shared theme; time for the readers to speak up. Inspired by the blogger Ed Yong, the Sci Am blogs are asking for your thoughts. Consider this an [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Tweets In Space!

Tweets In Space (N. Stern and S. Kildall)

When the interplanetary missions Pioneer 10 and 11 launched in the late 1970s they each carried a metal plaque engraved with a set of pictorial messages from humanity. Eventually these extraordinary probes will traverse interstellar space, carrying these hopeful symbols towards anyone, or anything, that might one day find them. A few years later also [...]

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Life, Unbounded

‘Mass Effect’ Solves The Fermi Paradox?

Who's been munching my galaxy?

Right now, all across the planet, millions of people are engaged in a struggle with enormous implications for the very nature of life itself. Making sophisticated tactical decisions and wrestling with chilling and complex moral puzzles, they are quite literally deciding the fate of our existence. Or at least they are pretending to. The video [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Astrobiology: We are the Aliens

Bacterial aliens (NASA)

A funny thing happened recently on the way to Mars. A few days after the successful launch of NASA’s behemoth Curiosity rover with its Mars Science Laboratory instruments on November 26th 2011, a somewhat muted piece of news came out admitting that the strict biological planetary protection rules had not been adhered to quite as [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Encounter at Dawn: Stephen Hawking, me, and an ATM

A black hole lenses the light of the Milky Way in the background (Credit: Ute Kraus amd Axel Mellinger)

This weekend Stephen Hawking turns 70, an extraordinary physical accomplishment to add to an extraordinary list of physics accomplishments. Seeing this news reminded me of the the first time that I crossed paths with Hawking. I’d love to be able to say that it was in intellectual debate, an exchange of brilliant ideas, but in [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Intelligent Life in the Universe and Steve Jobs

Exhibit A

[Every so often Life, Unbounded allows itself a little more speculative leeway, a little bit of armchair musing, this post is very much in that vein, and yes, it was written on a Mac] Like many scientists of my generation the first time I experienced Steve Jobs was through the almost magical interaction with a [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Bad Aliens, Meme Armor, and Intelligence in the Universe

386px-Plan_nine_from_outer_space

These are two posts from the Life, Unbounded archives. They were written in April and May 2010. Around that time there was a lot of media noise about aliens – brought on in part by Stephen Hawking’s comments about fearsome “nomadic” lifeforms that might roam the universe. I’ve merged the posts here. As far as [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Smoke signals

PIA12826-br500

Oh weather; a joy, a pain, the making of a beautiful day or a miserable evening. Our planetary environment is constantly shuffling through a deck of thermodynamic cards and local conditions reflect a small part of the resultant lofting, pouring, steaming, streaming and meandering of atmospheric contents. All planets with atmospheres walk this same basic [...]

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