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Star '37 Gem' called most likely home to aliens: CNN

  1. Oct 9, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/space/10/08/alien.life.reut/index.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2003 #2

    enigma

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    Meh.

    That and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee.

    Let me know what you find when you get the telescope up and running.
     
  4. Oct 10, 2003 #3

    Phobos

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    Nothing wrong with putting together a target list for the telescope.

    Oh man, I gotta wait another 10 years (at best) before they get this telescope up and running?!? C'mon people, I got a limited timeframe here! So much to explore, so little time.

    So (he said in an attempt to rescue to topic), is it wrong to bias our search for Earth-like life?
     
  5. Oct 10, 2003 #4

    Nereid

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    :smile:
    What other sort of life do you know (about)? How would you search for it? How would you know when you found it?

    P.S. Until this post of mine, this was a pure PF Mentor thread!
     
  6. Oct 10, 2003 #5

    russ_watters

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    I agree. We should start with what we know and expand from there.
     
  7. Oct 10, 2003 #6
    russ and Nereid,
    I refer you to this link, originally posted on another thread, by Ivan Seeking.
     
  8. Oct 10, 2003 #7

    Nereid

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  9. Oct 10, 2003 #8
    Well, you said:

    My response is:

    Points "a" and "b" are perfectly acceptable, in principle, and point "c" doesn't make much sense, since Earth-like life needn't be able to survive in non-Earth environment for non-Earth-like life to survive there. Remember life evolves to fit its own environment...it wouldn't make much sense to expect to find Earth-like life on a Jupiter-like planet, but that doesn't mean that there is no life at all.

    As to points 1, 2, and 3, I don't understand why any of these need to be the case for there to be non-Earth-like life in the Universe.
     
  10. Oct 10, 2003 #9

    Nereid

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    Suppose you are in charge of a science budget. How do you go about deciding which searches for non-Earth life should receive your precious funds?
     
  11. Oct 11, 2003 #10

    Phobos

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    See, I told you I could rescue this topic. :wink:

    That's a secret only Ivan and I know about.

    At great distances, you would look for things like chemical systems that are out of balanace (like how the Earth has more methane than it should in its oxygen-rich atmosphere...thanks to Life). Or in a search for intelligent life, you would look for radio/etc. signals that cannot be explained by natural phenomena.

    Or close up, you may look for mysterious chemical reactions (signs of respiration, digestion, etc.), forms that seem to resist normal erosional patterns, reductions in local entropy, etc.

    But I agree a first-look is best done for things we're familiar with. Just keep in mind that if there is other life out there, our kind may be a minority. Perhaps we could broaden our search expectations to encompass more possibilities so we don't spend the $$ to look at the same planet twice. :smile:
     
  12. Oct 11, 2003 #11

    enigma

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    One of my professors made the comment that if ET were looking for us, it wouldn't be from our radio emmissions, interstellar probes, or lasers... the thing which would tip them off that we're here would be cow farts.
     
  13. Oct 12, 2003 #12

    Phobos

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    Good one. I wonder if we all squeezed all the cows of the world at the right frequency, if we could send a coherent methane signal into the atmosphere which could be deciphered by ETs.

    On a more serious note, like the b-flat of a black hole, it is interesting that that of the more detectable things to alien civilizations is bacterial action (in this case, in the digestive tracts of bovines)...a recurring theme that bacteria, not humans are the dominant lifeform on Earth. Not that I'm trying to promote their microbial agenda, mind you.
     
  14. Oct 13, 2003 #13

    Nereid

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    We know about imbalanced atmospheric chemical systems, such as methane and oxygen, as signals for Earth-like life. So spending your precious science budget on a program to find planets and examine their atmospheres for oxygen AND methane seems reasonable (for now). Finding HFCs would be most interesting.

    Finding methane, ammonia and water on a Neptune-sized planet doesn't say anything about cows

    How would you go about finding non-Earth-like life?

    How could you tell what's the result of a natural phenomenon and what's not? :smile:

    How would you go about deciding which (non-radio) signals to look for?
     
  15. Oct 13, 2003 #14

    marcus

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    how to look for signs of intelligent life in a systematic way?

    One systematic procedure would be to first look
    for wet HZ planets

    and then, if you find any of those, check to see if they have
    signs of bacterial life (like chemical imbalance just mentioned)

    and only then, if you see a wet HZ planet with signs associated with singecell life, check for signs of a civilization

    a plodding systematic approach could make you miss out on a lot like chemically exotic forms of life or civilizations of robots that fart freon instead of methane, but a plodding systematic approach might at least succeed in finding something, namely some wet HZ planets

    (that's all I care about anyway, I'm horny to colonize and to hell with civilized aliens....[the rest of this message was suppressed]...
     
  16. Oct 14, 2003 #15

    Nereid

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    LOL!

    Will that be the worm-hole drive, or does Sir prefer the 'sacrifice my great-grandchildren in a sub-light speed souped-up Soyez' alternative?
     
  17. Oct 14, 2003 #16

    marcus

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    Madam, I believe one of the main technical obstacles is how to program a computer to rear psychologically normal human from frozen egg in the complete absence of live humans----that is, to automate parenting. One might try first with chimpanzee babies---can one design an intelligent environment with robotic interfaces which can rear an emotionally healthy chimp from embryo without the intervention of a real-life chimp mother?

    At sub-light, unmanned automatic devices could accomplish much of the colonization job including establishing lowerforms of life, but the final step----sending the information needed to reconstruct culturally recognizable humans ab ovo, seems challenging. The first babies would presumably watch a lot of video, as many do today, and it might not be good for them. Maybe one could arrange for them to have a dog.
     
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