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Is Hardy Life Evidence of an Evolutionary Origin?

Salt-tolerate species of unicellular organisms are found in all three kingdoms of life, says an article on Space.com.  “Astrobiologists, those cross disciplinary scientists dedicated to investigating the broad question of life in the universe,” writes Lisa Chu-Theilbar of the SETI Institute, “often study extremophiles, organisms that live at the edges of what life is known […]

Evolution Sunday Honors Darwin Over God

An essay by Edna Devore of the SETI Institute on Space.com encourages churches to join in Mike Zimmerman’s “Evolution Sunday” celebrations.  Zimmerman, with his Clergy Letter Project (see also New Scientist), has gotten over 10,000 pastors to sign a statement affirming evolution as an essential part of science and religion (02/11/2006).  Devore thinks this is […]

SETI Head Discusses Criteria for Failure

When does the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project decide enough is enough, and close up shop?  Seth Shostak, director of the SETI Institute, took up that question on Space.com.  He thinks people should realize that this is a much bolder expedition than the classic voyages of discovery by James Cook and Ferdinand Magellan.  He […]

What’s On ETV Tonight?

SETI researchers are building radio telescopes that might be able to catch leaking airwaves from the aliens, reports National Geographic and Space.com.  Some 1,000 stars within 30 light-years may be within the reach of an array of new radio telescopes in Australia.  SETI researchers can piggyback on this astrophysics facility to listen in on frequencies […]

SETI: A Systematic Theology

Thick books on systematic theology usually include sections about creation, anthropology, and eschatology.  Those sections are also present in condensed form in an article by Adrian Brown of the SETI Institute at Space.com.  As for origins, Darwinian materialism was implicit passim and needed no elaboration.  As for anthropology, he said man is like a god, […]

SETI a Descendant of OOL

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) may seem a different subject than origin of life (OOL), but researchers in both depend on each other’s assumptions.  The common bond is illustrated in a SETI article on Space.com today.  Devon Burr of the SETI institute wrote an article not about intelligent aliens trying to broadcast signals to […]

Active SETI: If the Mountain Will Not Come to MyHomeET

SETI researchers must be getting bored sitting around waiting for a message.  To bide the time, some have come up with a game called “Active SETI” – sending our messages to the aliens.  It’s not that this game hasn’t been played before.  The Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft each carried messages from earthlings, and the Arecibo […]

Europa: The Link Between OOL and SETI

Why would searchers for extraterrestrial intelligence be interested in Europa?  After all, despite the movie 2010 command to “attempt no landings there,” no astrobiologist believes it could host anything more than primitive life – certainly no one who could send messages to us.     Cynthia Phillips, a principal investigator for the SETI Institute, explained […]

Stellar Habitable Zones: Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

Astronomers concerned with the origin of life on earth have long thought about the “habitable zone” (sometimes called continuously habitable zone, or CHZ) of our solar system.  They’ve discussed this aerobee-shaped zone around our sun – or any star – mainly in terms of locations where the temperature would permit water to exist as a […]

SETI: Shut Up and Keep Looking

On Space.com, Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute answered the critics who think they’re “barking up the wrong tree.”  Well-meaning people send him emails explaining why there is “still no confirmed chitter from the cosmos” after 46 years of looking.  The top four include: (1) aliens use more advanced technology, (2) the Fermi Paradox means […]

Paper View:  Why SETI Hears Only a “Great Silence”

Enrico Fermi posed a curious question in 1950: “Where is everybody?”  If life emerges on planets as a consequence of evolution, there should be other intelligent civilizations out there, and some of them must have colonized other worlds.  He thought there must have been plenty of time for galactic colonizers to achieve technologies far beyond […]

Researcher Denies SETI Is a Religion

Apparently irritated by charges that SETI research is like a religion (see, for instance, the article by novelist Michael Crichton mentioned in our 12/27/2003 entry), David Darling of the SETI Institute has issued a response.  On Space.com, his title was direct: “Of Faith and Facts: Is SETI a Religion?”  The answer was a forthright NO […]

Solar Eclipses Unique to Earth, SETI Researcher “Finds”

Like many before him, Seth Shostak pondered the significance of total solar eclipses for the one planet with observers to appreciate them.  “OK, I’ve done the math,” the SETI Institute director said for SETI Thursday on Space.com.  “What you always suspected might be true … is true: namely that the best place in the solar […]

Astrobiology Ten Years Later: Can It Justify Its Funding?

Astrobiology just turned ten years old, but is experiencing growing pains, partly due to a starvation diet.  This “science without a subject” (as George Gaylord Simpson quipped about its predecessor, exobiology) is struggling to justify itself at the Congressional feeding trough.  Proponents tout it as the most important subject in the universe.  Why, then, is […]

The Astrobiology Sky Is Falling

Rocco Mancinelli (Principal Investigator, SETI Institute) made an impassioned plea on Space.com for continued funding of astrobiology projects, calling threatened funding cuts a “national disaster” if not reversed.  And what is astrobiology?  He defined it as “the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.”  His reasons for keeping astrobiology […]
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