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Thread: Other Life?

  1. #1
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    Default Other Life?



    I'm kind certain this has been discussed quite often before but it will continue to be I'm sure

    Of course I'm talking about whether other life exists apart from Earth and what kind of life that might be and how common or uncommon that might be.

    I find that I go from thinking it might be reasonable common to thinking it might be extremely rare just depending on how I think about it or what I'm reading at the time.

    I guess all things considered I'd have to believe that there is other life out there and that it's reasonably common in the universe as a whole.

    I don't know that what we would consider higher life forms or intelligent life is particularly common however.

    The more adaptive life forms are the simpler ones. I'm sure the earthworms and anemones (and cockroaches) survived even as the dinosaurs did not.

    The more practical question though is whether man on Earth can ever detect life elsewhere and I think on this issue I'd be a lot more pessimistic

    We can't really contact in any meaningful way much of the Universe and considering how long it took for intelligent life to form on Earth there may well not be any intelligent life presently in contact range of man.

    There's also the argument that it takes billions of years for intelligent life to form but potentially only hundreds of years for intelligent life to destroy itself.

    The window of opportunity to detect and contact such life is probably very rare. We don't really know that there is not (or is) life of some low level on Mars and we've even landed rovers there. How likely is it to even be able to detect it in other areas of our galaxy much less in other galaxies and in the Universe as a whole!

    So, I do think just in statistical terms there is probably life and even intelligent life somewhere but I think it's very unlikely we will detect it during our limited stay on Earth.

    Due to the expanding Universe there will be parts of the Universe where light will never reach us and our stay on Earth is also limited. Life could be very common and still not be possible for us to know it before our reign is over as well.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by gcbryan; 12-20-2011 at 04:34 PM.

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    Default

    Yup, sounds about right to me.

    When you try to solve the famous Drake equation, plugging in our best-guess values with the appropriate uncertainty values, you get a probability value of 0.5 +/- 0.5. In other words, we don't have a clue.

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    If there is life... and if there is a benevolent god. We are scattered around the universe just far enough that we will never receive each others Fall TV Line-up.
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    The thing that swings it back and forth for me is just how one frames the issue.

    If it's really looking at the whole Universe then that is such a massive area that I find it likely to find life and most anything else you can conceive of

    When you make it practical and really consider all the practical issues for us to find it including all of the issues (and more) I listed above then it goes the other way for me.

    However, it is damn interesting to think about!

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    The one area of this subject matter I had to say that I don't spend too much time worrying about is the whole issue of how would "they" contact us or how would we contact "them".

    I think that's more in the science fiction realm. I see finding life as detecting it and not in direct communications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gcbryan View Post
    However, it is damn interesting to think about!
    Oh yes....I've pondered all this for decades.....like many here.

    I think other life exists throughout the cosmos.
    To me...the mystery is whether other intelligent, self-aware life forms exist as humans relate to it.
    Knowing that Earth is not just in the solar sweet spot (distance from Sol) but in the galactic sweet spot for life to form as we know it.
    Not to mention gravity's influence on the morphology of a life form.

    Did I mention I love this stuff?

    That's my take on it....carry on.
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    The biggest issue it seems to me is just the limited means we have of detecting it in the first place.

    The space program has been around for roughly 50 years. If we were sending signals that we hoped that intelligent life would recognize and respond to (big hope) the first of the messages could only have traveled for 50 ly.

    Even if someone received out first signal and responded to it immediately this would have to be in a solar system no more distant than 25 ly.

    For us to do more than deduce life based on telescopic images regardless of which electromagnetic wave was used would involve sending a space probe.

    The nearest solar system is over 4 ly away from us. I'm not sure what small fraction of the speed of light our best probe would be able to travel at but I don't see it being within our life time and that's just to go to the first possible solar system with life.

    I think there is a probe out there now (SETI ?) looking for possible earth-like candidates and that's interesting but regardless of what it finds we could never get anything even close to definitive from it at these distances.

    So the whole issue of is there life or why haven't we found any is kind of off base to me. The only places we've even had any possibility of tripping into it would be on the Moon or on Mars.

    If there is any frustrating aspect of the "Is there life" question it's not the lack of results. It's the lack of technological ability to be able to answer that question in any meaningful way.

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    gcbryan....

    I concur....and will add (per my comments on a different thread) that we are far too primitive to grasp it all at this time.
    It's quite egotistical for humans to think we are the only life (one celled inclusive) the cosmos....IMO.
    Yes...the ability to detect life given the distances and current technology is daunting to say the least.

    Carry on.....
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    I think Human like to think we are unique and better then everything else... so we decide that "life is very very rare and highly unlikely to ever be as good as us"
    But, everywhere we go on Earth we find life...not just in places that make sense, but places that seem completely inhospitable(like Nuclear reactors) recently we found a life form on Earth with arsenic incorporated into its very DNA. Pluto for instance, (may not be a planet any more but) when measuring UV reflectivity, absorbs MORE UV light then it should........ ..... .... ... .. .. .. . . . . . . . . .
    that is something that is very hard to explain. When the human race gets it act together and asserts a true presence in solar system, I would honestly be surprised if we did not find life in our own "back yard".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlayer View Post
    I think Humans like to think we are unique and better then everything else... so we decide that "life is very very rare and highly unlikely to ever be as good as us"

    Isn't that the truth.

    I'm only on my first cup of coffee but doesn't Jupiter (or Saturn?) have 60+ moons that all have their own unique environment?
    That increases the odds of discovering what we seek comparatively locally if we can develop the technology to do so.
    Not to mention the possibility of sub surface oceans that could also be present.
    Also, I'm just referring to any type of life.
    I would not expect to find anything like ourselves having a similar morphology or being bi-laterally symmetrical.

    Morning ramblings only but I thrive on these mysteries.

    Carry on....
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