News and Articles on Other Worlds! Other Beings?

JSC Astrobiology Institute Announcements Press Releases & Publications http://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/astrobiology/biomarkers/recentnews.html

Kepler Updates

  • April, 2003. Heaven and earths. Article in California Monthly
    By Ayala Ochert. About Geoff Marcy--search for planets.
  • October 24, 2002, Planet hunters -- By Peter N. Spotts | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor -- EYE ON THE SKY: Software executive Ron Bissinger is part of an emerging cadre of amateurs helping professional astronomers in extrasolar planet exploration. By day, they work in many fields. By night, they help professional astronomers search for faraway worlds. http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1024/p11s02-stss.html
  • Sep-Oct 2002 Why SETI Will Fail, Ben Zuckerman Mercury Magazine p. 14
    The union of space telescopes and interstellar spaceships guarantees that if extraterrestrial civilizations were common, someone would have come here long ago.
  • Sep-Oct 2002 SETI's Prospects Are Bright, Seth Shostak. Mercury Magazine p. 24
    Thousands of communicating civilizations could populate our galaxy. And there are plenty of reasons why none of them have visited Earth.
  • Mar 28, 2002 NASA SCIENTISTS CREATE AMINO ACIDS IN DEEP-SPACE-LIKE ENVIRONMENT. http://web99.arc.nasa.gov/~astrochem/aanature.html--NASA scientists announced the creation of amino acids, critical for life, in an environment that mimics deep space. The research will be published in the March 28 issue of the journal Nature. In a laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley, the team of astrobiologists shone ultraviolet light on deep-space-like "ices," simulating conditions that are commonplace in interstellar space. Deep-space ice is common water ice laced with simple molecules. The team subsequently discovered amino acids, molecules present in, and essential for, life on Earth. "This finding may shed light on the origin of life itself," said Dr. Max Bernstein, the first author and chemist at NASA Ames and the SETI Institute. "We found that amino acids can be made in the dense interstellar clouds where planetary systems and stars are made. Our experiments suggest that amino acids should be everywhere, wherever there are stars and planets."
  • March 21, 2002, OGLEing Possible New Planets, By Alan M. MacRobert. For the first time, astronomers have discovered a bunch of new extrasolar planets Ñ and perhaps other small, dark objects as well Ñ by detecting the slight dimming they cause when passing across the face of a star. The OGLE-III experiment monitored 5 million Milky Way stars toward the galaxy's center for 32 nights. Andrzej Udalski (Warsaw University Observatory) reports that out of this vast sample, 52,000 main-sequence stars roughly similar to the Sun met the study's key criterion: their brightnesses were measured many times with high (1.5 percent) precision. Of these stars, 46 clearly showed signs of smaller objects transiting across their faces. And 43 displayed more than one transit event, thereby revealing the companion object's orbital period Ñ generally 1 to 6 days. http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/current/article_538_1.asp
  • Dec 20, 2001 Two New Discovery Missions Announced http://discovery.nasa.gov/news_122001.html
  • November 27, 2001 First Detection Made of an Extrasolar Planet's AtmosphereBy Robert Roy Britt, Senior Science Writer. Astronomers announced today the first detection of an atmosphere around a planet orbiting another star, a critical first step in understanding the skies above planets outside our solar system. http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/extrasolar_atmosphere_011127-1.html
Optical SETI -- http://seti.harvard.edu/OSETI/

Online Articles

  • April, 2003. Heaven and earths. Article in California Monthly, By Ayala Ochert
    http://www.alumni.berkeley.edu/Alumni/Cal_Monthly/April_2003/Heaven_and_earths.asp
  • 14 Why SETI Will Fail, Ben Zuckerman
    The union of space telescopes and interstellar spaceships guarantees that if extraterrestrial civilizations were common, someone would have come here long ago. http://www.astrosociety.org/pubs/mercury/31_05/zuckerman.html
    24 SETI's Prospects Are Bright, Seth Shostak
    Thousands of communicating civilizations could populate our galaxy. And there are plenty of reasons why none of them have visited Earth. http://www.astrosociety.org/pubs/mercury/31_05/shostak.html
  • Dec 3, 2003. Hubble Makes Precise Measure of Extrasolar World's True Mass -- http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/2002/27/ -- An international team of astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to help make a precise measurement of the mass of a planet outside our solar system. The Hubble results show that the planet is 1.89 to 2.4 times as massive as Jupiter, our solar system's largest orbiting body. Previous estimates, about which there are some uncertainties, place the planet's mass at a much wider range: between 1.9 and 100 times that of Jupiter's. The planet, called Gliese 876b, orbits the star Gliese 876. It is only the second planet outside our solar system for which astronomers have determined a precise mass.
  • Dec. 19, 2001 -- NASA SCIENTIST FINDS SOME METEORITES NOT SUGAR-FREE -- ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/2001/01-253.txt -- A discovery by a NASA scientist of sugar and several related organic compounds in two carbonaceous meteorites provides the first evidence that another fundamental building block of life on Earth may have come from outer space. A carbonaceous meteorite contains carbon as one of its important constituents. Previously, researchers had found in meteorites other organic, carbon-based compounds that play major roles in life on Earth, such as amino acids and carboxylic acids, but no sugars. RELEASE: 01-253
  • ESO-European Southern Observatory Life in the Universe - Is there anybody out there? website -- http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2001/pr-16-01.html November 27, 2001 -- HUBBLE MEASURES ATMOSPHERE ON WORLD AROUND ANOTHER STAR -- http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/2001/38/ -- Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have made the first direct detection and chemical analysis of the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system. PRESS RELEASE: STScI-PR01-38
  • August 15, 2001, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK Life from space dust? http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1492000/1492411.stm BBC News
  • Aug. 15, 2001 ASTRONOMERS FIND JUPITER-SIZED PLANET ORBITING STAR IN BIG DIPPERftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/2001/01-166.txt -- RELEASE: 01-166; A team of astronomers has found a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a faint nearby star similar to our Sun, raising intriguing prospects of finding a solar system like our own.
  • July 11, 2001 STELLAR APOCALYPSE YIELDS FIRST EVIDENCE OF WATER-BEARING WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM -- ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/2001/01-140.txt
  • Gentry Lee: Other Earths -- http://www.space.com/opinionscolumns/gentrylee/gentry_other_earths_010319.html
  • April 4, 2001 Exoplanets: The Hunt Continues! http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2001/pr-07-01.html ESO Press Release. Today, an international team of astronomers from the Geneva Observatory and other research institutes is announcing the discovery of no less than eleven new, planetary companions to solar-type stars, HD 8574, HD 28185, HD 50554, HD 74156, HD 80606, HD 82943, HD 106252, HD 141937, HD 178911B, HD 141937, among which two new multi-planet systems. The masses of these new objects range from slightly less than to about 10 times the mass of the planet Jupiter.
  • Feb 6, 2001 Red-Dwarf Life? http://stardate.org/radio/program.php?f=detail&id=2001-02-06 -- StarDate Online.
  • 11/22/00 Scientists report 'alien' life By United Press International -- Scientists in Wales said they discovered what may be a tiny form of primitive alien life that a passing comet may have dropped into Earth's atmosphere, London's Daily Mail newspaper reported today.
  • 04/19/00 Prototype Unveiled for Giant SETI Scope-- SETI Press Release -- http://seti.sentry.net/archive/bioastro/2000/0078.html

Hardcopy Articles

  • Colonna, Thomas E. and Desencia E. Thomas, Following a New Path Along the Search for Life in the Solar System, Mercury Magazine (ASP), May-June 2000.
  • Doyle, Laurence R., Hans-Jorg Deeg, and Jon M. Jenkins, Discovering Worlds in Transit, Astronomy magazine, March, 2001, p. 38.
  • Haisch, Bernard, and Alfonso Rueda, How to Abhor the Void While Loving the Quantum Vacuum, Mercury magazine, Sep-Oct 2000, pp. 33-37. "Getting to another star in a human lifetime right now seems impossible, but intriguing physics offers us some fantastic possibilities to consider."
  • Nadis, Steve, Searching for the Molecules of Life in Space, Sky & Telescope, Jan 2002, p. 32. There seems to be water everywhere in the galaxy, even where nobody expected to find it.
  • Nadis, Steve, Using Lasers to Detect E.T., Astronomy magazine, Sep 2002, p. 45. Seeking intelligent life in the universe, SETI begins a new optical approach.
  • Schilling, Govert, The Race to Epsilon Eridani, Sky & Telescope, June 2001, p. 34.
  • Shostak, Seth, The Future of SETI, Sky and Telescope, April, 2001, p. 42.
  • Shostak, Seth, SETI's Prospects Are Bright, by Mercury Magazine, Sep-Oct, 2002, pp. 24-28. Thousands of communicating civilizations could populate our galaxy. And there are plenty of reasons why none of them have visited Earth.
  • Stephens, Sally, Listening for E.T., Astronomy Magazine, Dec 2001, p. 58.
  • Stephens, Sally, Planet Hunters, Astronomy magazine, July 1998, p. 59.
  • Zuckerman, Ben, Why SETI Will Fail, by Mercury Magazine Sep-Oct, 2001, pp. 14-22. The union of space telescopes and interstellar spaceships guarantees that if extraterrestrial civilizations were common, someone would have come here long ago.

 

Books

  • Skurzynski, Gloria. Are We Alone? Scientists Search for Life in Space. Illustrated with prints and photographs. National Geographic Society. 96pp. Trade ISBN 0-7922-6567-X, $18.95; Library ISBN 0-7922-6967-5, $28.90. This book describes the many pathways that scientists are taking in the search for life beyond Earth: SETI, extrasolar planet searches, astrobiology and extremophiles, Mars and Europa. Short biographical sketches in sidebars bring the "real people doing real science" to the readers: Seth Shostak, Jill Tarter, Goeff Marcy, Ray Jayawardhana, Jason Dworkin, Max Bernstein, Lynn Rothschild, Cindy Lee Van Dover, Nathalie Cabrol, Christopher Chyba, Laurance Doyle. Many other scientists are included in the text describing their work. It's aimed at upper elementary and middle school students. See: http://www.seti.org/site/pp.asp?c=ktJ2J9MMIsE&b=180343
  • Dorminey, Bruce, Distant Wanderers: The Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System, Copernicus Books, NY, 2002.
  • Lemonick, Michael D., Other Worlds: The Search for Life in the Universe, Simon &b Schuster, 1998.
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