Life beyond Earth?

DoubleB
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Life beyond Earth?

I know this particular topic is open to speculation, but I think it's worth throwing out there for the rational community to discuss.  Single celled life forms have been discovered on Mars, at least 2 of the moons orbiting Saturn are believed to have atmospheres capable of supporting life, millions of people on Earth claim to have seen UFOs, and some of those millions claim to have been abducted, and seen with their own eyes, extra-terrestrial life forms.  When you look at how vast the universe is, it's easy to come to the conclusion that we're not alone.

I'm interested in what the RRS members think of this.  Be it scientific data or personal experience, I'd like to hear your stories and opinions.

BB


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DoubleB wrote: I know this

DoubleB wrote:

I know this particular topic is open to speculation, but I think it's worth throwing out there for the rational community to discuss. Single celled life forms have been discovered on Mars, at least 2 of the moons orbiting Saturn are believed to have atmospheres capable of supporting life, millions of people on Earth claim to have seen UFOs, and some of those millions claim to have been abducted, and seen with their own eyes, extra-terrestrial life forms. When you look at how vast the universe is, it's easy to come to the conclusion that we're not alone.

I'm interested in what the RRS members think of this. Be it scientific data or personal experience, I'd like to hear your stories and opinions.

BB

I think it would be strange to think that there is not life in other parts of the galaxy when you think of how many planets there are. But when you consider the scale of the galaxy it seems like it doesn't really matter much. I mean it's 100,000 ly across, nothing can travel those distances except light.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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I'm just going by what I

I'm just going by what I see on the science channel here, but isn't the debate still ongoing as to whether the martian stuff is really fossilized cells?

Maybe I'm not even thinking of the right thing.  This isn't really my field.

I agree that it seems strange to think that life only originated here.  Statistically, it ought to be elsewhere in our own galaxy, and there are sooooooo many galaxies!

It's hard for me to say I believe in ET life because the question seems so irrelevant.  (Sorry to the sci fi geeks... I just don't see how it matters at all!)  But then, I'm one of those weirdos who's never understood why the origin of life has anything to do with the existence of a deity.  Even as a kid, (and a Christian!) I realized that if there was even one plausible non-theist theory for life's origin, then God's role in it became a moot issue.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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DoubleB wrote: I know this

DoubleB wrote:

I know this particular topic is open to speculation, but I think it's worth throwing out there for the rational community to discuss. Single celled life forms have been discovered on Mars,

I am unaware of any life found on Mars. If single celled life forms have been found on Mars, then extra terrrestrial life is not only possible, it would be a fact. Mars is extraterrestrial and single celled life forms are life.

Quote:
at least 2 of the moons orbiting Saturn are believed to have atmospheres capable of supporting life,

Capable of suporting life is a long way from life having formed, unless the process of the formation of life is much more probable in a supportive environment than most tend to think. 

Quote:
millions of people on Earth claim to have seen UFOs, and some of those millions claim to have been abducted, and seen with their own eyes, extra-terrestrial life forms.

Same can be said for god, angels, ghosts, fairies, bigfoot like creatures. People see lots of things that there is not sufficient reason to believe actually exist.

Quote:
When you look at how vast the universe is, it's easy to come to the conclusion that we're not alone.

I would agree that a possibility exists for extrateresstrial life to exist as iIdon't see the idea of extraterrestrial life as being self contradictory in any way, but I think that with the knowledge I possess at this time there is not sufficient evidence for me to believe that it does exist.


“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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If life is elsewhere, will

If life is elsewhere, will we have enough time to meet it?

-------

I think another issue with the search is "would we recognize it if we saw it?"

A NASA scientist released a report saying that the Viking probe's tests would have killed life made for hydrogen peroxide so, if life on Mars is based on H2O2, we would not have found anything.

And what if it's intelligent? Will we identify each other as such? Will demonstrating prime numbers to each other work? What if they don't see the same wavelengths as us? What if their perspective is so different, it acts as a communication barrier?

Have you read Ender's Game? Basically, the aliens in that are hive insects. The queen is the seat of intelligence while the drones are just mindless automata. When they fight each other, slaughtering each other's drones is no big deal.

When they encounter us, they assume we are not individually intelligent and so slaughtering thousands of us is no big deal. (I think I'll stop there so I don't spoil anything... I may have already.)

(Just my ramblings on the subject.)

I don't think life (even microbial) on Mars has been confirmed. IIRC, the research was done what was supposedly a meteorite that may have been launched from Mars by another meterorite impact. There are structures in the rock that suggest that they are microbial fossils, but several theories of chemical processes that could have formed the same structures.

-Triften


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any discussion of

any discussion of extraterrestrial life has to be narrowed down into one of the 3 following categories:

 

1) Is there life elsewhere in the universe?  Looking at it rationally, the answer is "probably".  given the number of stars in each galaxy, multiplied by the number of galaxies, it is nearly a statistical certainty

 2) Is there intelligent life elsewhere in the universe?  like #1, the answer is "probably".  (both #1 and #2 can also be broken down into "currently" and "ever&quotEye-wink.  THe Drake equation deals with this question.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation

3) Has intelligent extraterrestrial life visted earth.  This is where things get murky. there is definately a lack of evidence (conspiracy theories not withstanding).  However, the question I like to ponder is "If humans decided to try to observe a held of antelopes in a remote region that had never encountered humans, and if those people were determined to be unobtrusive and not let those antelope know they were ever there, how would the antelopes (a) comprehend the fleeting glimpses of their observers, (b) prove that people were watching them?" 

 as for personal experience, my only "encounter" was driving down a desolate interstate at night, and seeing lights that (a) aren't supposed to be there, and (b)  don't fit conventional explanations.

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triften
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slowhand wrote: 1) Is

slowhand wrote:

1) Is there life elsewhere in the universe? Looking at it rationally, the answer is "probably". given the number of stars in each galaxy, multiplied by the number of galaxies, it is nearly a statistical certainty

2) Is there intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? like #1, the answer is "probably". (both #1 and #2 can also be broken down into "currently" and "ever" ). THe Drake equation deals with this question.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation

But the Drake equation has so much hand waving in it. We are just now getting better data on the 2nd term out of 7. We have to guess the average number of planets per star with planets that could support life (see my previous comment on our ignorance of what forms life could take), then based on this we have to make a guess on the probability of life arising... and each subsequent term is a guess based on the next.

To me, it seems like it doesn't offer much.

-Triften 


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I am not aware of ANY life

I am not aware of ANY life being discovered on Mars, signle-celled, fossilized or otherwise. I do think it may have existed there or could even still be there now, deep in the soil under the ice caps, but it has NOT been confirmed to my knowledge.

Europa and Titan are other remote possibilites for life. It'll be centuries before we have the capability of doing a proper exploration, and by that point we may have simply contaminated those worlds with our own biological refuse that took root - though the evolutionary considerations would still be staggering.

 Personally, when I look at the sky, in my heart I think that it would be an awful waste of space for nobody else to be out there - Sagan actually shared the same sentiments in his book "Contact". Still, if there is intelligent life out there, I doubt we will ever find one another, and if we did find it, I agree with Hawking that we ought to be wary of it, as we'll likely appear as ants to them. At any rate, I'll be voting for Kodos Eye-wink

I actually think the occurance of intellegent life in the universe is much, much lower than the proponents tout - still, I'm not really basing that on much more than they are, it's just a gut feeling, really. 

Still, I think it is relatively possible that we will find evidence or at least past evidence of alien life in our own solar system - it simply won't be little green men, but little gree algae. 

 

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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triften wrote: slowhand

triften wrote:
slowhand wrote:

1) Is there life elsewhere in the universe? Looking at it rationally, the answer is "probably". given the number of stars in each galaxy, multiplied by the number of galaxies, it is nearly a statistical certainty

2) Is there intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? like #1, the answer is "probably". (both #1 and #2 can also be broken down into "currently" and "ever" ). THe Drake equation deals with this question.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation

But the Drake equation has so much hand waving in it. We are just now getting better data on the 2nd term out of 7. We have to guess the average number of planets per star with planets that could support life (see my previous comment on our ignorance of what forms life could take), then based on this we have to make a guess on the probability of life arising... and each subsequent term is a guess based on the next.

To me, it seems like it doesn't offer much.

-Triften

 

I don't see the Drake equation as anything more than a thought experiment.  While the numbers of each parameter will continue to change, the equation itself is still useful in terms of providing a basis to look at the question rationally.  I have personally seen a few different people change their thinking based on the Drake equation (or a similar line of thinking.  in each case, the person was sure there was a god, and that we are alone in the universe.  the drake equation was useful in that it got them thinking instead of knowing.  that's at least a start.

“The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.”

“It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him.”

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Gauche wrote: DoubleB

Gauche wrote:
DoubleB wrote:

I know this particular topic is open to speculation, but I think it's worth throwing out there for the rational community to discuss. Single celled life forms have been discovered on Mars, at least 2 of the moons orbiting Saturn are believed to have atmospheres capable of supporting life, millions of people on Earth claim to have seen UFOs, and some of those millions claim to have been abducted, and seen with their own eyes, extra-terrestrial life forms. When you look at how vast the universe is, it's easy to come to the conclusion that we're not alone.

I'm interested in what the RRS members think of this. Be it scientific data or personal experience, I'd like to hear your stories and opinions.

BB

I think it would be strange to think that there is not life in other parts of the galaxy when you think of how many planets there are. But when you consider the scale of the galaxy it seems like it doesn't really matter much. I mean it's 100,000 ly across, nothing can travel those distances except light.

it does matter, because superluminal travel is possible through wormholes. . . "albert" proved that. he only said that light is the speed limit. but if we took a short cut we wouldnt have the need to break the speed limit, ya dig?

I am the radical and variable to counter act on your alpha and omega! The One True Juggernaut, and. . . I WILL BASH AND CUT DOWN THOSE THAT CANNOT BE TAUGHT!!!


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As Yellow alluded to,

As Yellow alluded to, everyone, I think should either read the book or watch the movie Contact.  Carl Sagan...is the man.

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