Life is not special?

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Life is not special?

Postby splog » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:00 am

Hi all

In our Solar System we have at least three planets and a few moons that have, or could have, or at least had the potential to support life at some point in their history or future! Can anyone really believe that life doesn't exist elsewhere? ...... Are we really that special? and if so .... Why?
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RE: Life is not special?

Postby tddun » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:33 am

Well for now I think life has to be special since the only example we have of it is only on this planet .. for now.

I'm sure life exists elsewhere, and in this Solar System too. As you say, there are enough places that could hold or have held life, and we have enough evidence to show how tough forms of life can be to survive in certain conditions. I'm sure that either Titan, Europa, Mars or Venus have or had life, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a miracle to be repeated, If not in this Solar System then for sure out there somewhere, the Universe is just to big not to have life out there with planets probably some in perfect conditions for life, even more ideal than Earth.

But I don't really know my stuff that well but this is what I believe anyway.
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RE: Life is not special?

Postby uea74 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:03 pm

Life may well be present else where, but are you equating life to intelligence?

A simple life form does not equate to intelligence, at least on the scale that we refer to as technology. A planet of insects is life but technology/intelligence may never develop. Equally a planet of tree and plant life only falls into the same. A water covered planet also. Found any buildings, ships, planes etc developed by the dinosaurs? 600 million years of them I believe in domination of the planet so why didn't they develop further?

Although there are billions of stars out there, there are also many criteria that need to be satisfied for life to develop and flourish. It may be that although there are about 100 billion stars that getting the conditions needed for life are equally small.

Suspect the we are "odd" because we have developed the way we have.
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RE: Life is not special?

Postby brianb » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:26 pm

[quote]A simple life form does not equate to intelligence[/quote]
Neither do complex life forms. As individuals we're pretty smart (most of us, most of the time), as a species we act really dumb.

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RE: Life is not special?

Postby uea74 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:06 am

A simple lifeform does not mean intelligence but a complex one may. Wonder if we are a complex lifeform by some other measure?

As a species we seem to have come a long way. Seems that it is often individuals or small groups of individuals that do the stupid things. The vast majority then being left with the mess.
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RE: Life is not special?

Postby lancashire astroguy » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:13 pm


[quote]ORIGINAL: Splog

Hi all

In our Solar System we have at least three planets and a few moons that have, or could have, or at least had the potential to support life at some point in their history or future! Can anyone really believe that life doesn't exist elsewhere?

[/quote]

I could never believe that life doesn't exist elsewhere. In fact, if the Universe is infinite then the existence of life AND intelligence (by whatever measure) is a mathematical certainty.

That said, I think the probability that a radio-emitting life form (like ourselves) exists within a reasonable distance of Earth (say 100 light years) is exceedingly low. There should be plenty of empty Earth-like planets within 100 light years ready for us to colonise if we ever get past our barbarian tendency to blow ourselves up or to divide ourselves according to the imaginary dieties we worship. We also need to start thinking more than a few years ahead and start planning an ambitious space program for the future (take note, idiot-boy Obama).

James
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RE: Life is not special?

Postby les » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:13 pm

HI James,
Nah,the money would be better spent preserving life on this planet,a good start would be to take some of the billions of dollars from NASA's manned space budget and use it to fund technology to stem leaky oil wells for instance!
Regards Les.
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RE: Life is not special?

Postby lancashire astroguy » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:10 am


[quote]ORIGINAL: Les

HI James,
Nah,the money would be better spent preserving life on this planet,a good start would be to take some of the billions of dollars from NASA's manned space budget and use it to fund technology to stem leaky oil wells for instance!
Regards Les.
[/quote]


Les,

The money spent on space exploration by the US (and the rest of the world) is incredibly insignificant. In fact you could argue that money spent on space exploration has no economic cost at all. For one thing, most of the money goes on salaries for engineers and scientists, which of course is recycled back into the economy eventually. The only thing actually lost is the man-hours and a few raw materials blasted into space. Secondly, the spin-off technologies and increased educational interest in science and engineering will more than counterbalance the perceived "cost" of space exploration.

I'm not sure which world problem you think the money spent on space exploration could solve. If you are talking about third-world poverty then it would take hundred of trillions of dollars every year to make an impact on this - the space money isn't even 0.1% of this amount! Of course there are some things the human race could do for free which would help poverty, which don't involve the abandonment of the human spirit - like sensibly planning the sizes of our families for example, or stopping fighting each other over imaginary deities.

Of course, if you are one of these people concerned about man-made global warming (as you know I am not overly concerned!) then you should actually welcome more money spent on space exploration. There is a large potential in technological cross-over between new methods of propulsion for space-craft and producing large amounts of energy on Earth without emitting CO2. Perhaps one day, the experience of terra-forming the Martian or Venusian atmospheres will help scientists understand the energy balance within our own atmosphere.

At the end of the day, the future survival of humanity will depend on our ability to develop interstellar flight and colonise other planets. Ever since some Ape-Man grunted to his companion that he wanted to know what was on the other side of a nearby hill, exploration and curiousity have been a part of the human make-up. If you put a halt to this we will stagnate. What would be the point of our species existence if we did nothing?

James
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RE: Life is not special?

Postby afmanchester » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:16 pm

[quote]ORIGINAL: lancashire astroguy

Perhaps one day, the experience of terra-forming the Martian or Venusian atmospheres will help scientists understand the energy balance within our own atmosphere.
[/quote]

It will certainly improve our already excellent understanding of how these things work.

As for life elsewhere, I think we could well be months or a few years away from such a discovery. Due to the sheer distances involved alone, communication would be dramatically unlikely. Finding life elsewhere would have a huge impact across the earth. Carl Sagan's Contact novel is a beautiful exploratoin of the topic. Highly recommended to all http://www.amazon.co.uk/Contact-Carl-Sagan/dp/1857235800/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279015952&sr=8-2
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RE: Life is not special?

Postby timkent » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:30 pm

Someone has to be first[:)]

Regards....Tim
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