Being from Louisiana, the term "jumbo shrimp" usually indicates a positive (and tasty) thing. Those suckers are usually three inches long at most. That's gargantuan, even. Now, a foot-long shrimp species that look like they came from another planet has invaded the Gulf, bringing with it an insatiable hunger and a load of disease.
Earth has a nasty habit of recycling its surface such that old stuff (like dinosaur bones and meteor craters and ancient alien cities) get swallowed up by oceans and volcanoes or eroded into dust. The moon, however, hasn't been geologically active for a very long time, and if aliens ever stopped by our solar system, the moon might be the place to check for artifacts.
The Kepler planet hunting space telescope has done pretty well finding planets that exist in the "habitable zone" around alien stars, but so far, all of these planets have been significantly larger than Earth. Today, NASA announced that Kepler has discovered the first Earth-sized planets orbiting another star.
Remember a while back when we wrote about the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence's (SETI) Allen Telescope Array (ATA) was shut down due to lack of funding? It seems the government wasn't keen on supporting the search for our interstellar neighbors, so SETI turned to you for help. Guess what guys we did it! The Allen Array is back in business!
Stop me if you've heard this before, but astronomers have used the Kepler planet huntin' space telescope to find the most (potentially) habitable alien planet yet.
Here on Earth, we make it very obvious that a (mostly) intelligent species lives here. We broadcast signals on nearly every wavelength imaginable, and one of those is visible light: every night, we inform the universe of our presence through our rampant light pollution, and extraterrestrials may be doing the same thing.
We're fairly certain that we haven't yet made contact with any extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), but when we do — and yes, let's go with when — it's definitely going to be big news. What is somewhat less definite is what form that news will take: will it be beneficial to humanity, with ETI offering to solve all of our problems, or will ETI turn out to be hostile and eat our entire species for dinner? A group of scientists from Pennsylvania State University and NASA's Planetary Science division have put a lot of thought into many different scenarios of ETI interactions with humanity, and here are 17 different ways that first contact might (or might not) go.
It's possible for an asteroid impact to send rocks from other planets to Earth, which is how I got myself a Mars rock and why this guy thinks he's found aliens. New simulations show that it's possible for things to work in the other direction as well, sending rocks from Earth out into our solar system and on to interstellar space.
Economist Paul Krugman, who won a Nobel Prize for his work on developing the New Trade Theory, has a fresh one in the works: the U.S. government should fake an alien invasion to stimulate the economy.
Not too long ago it was feared that the SETI project's Allen Telescope Array, which is made up of 42 networked radio telescopes, was destined to switch off forever. While the array is currently down, it's scheduled to be reactivated — and soon.