1. DBTate
    Offline

    DBTate Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    3

    Greetings earthlings

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by DBTate, Sep 1, 2011.

    I'm feeling philosophical... Recently read an article about a planet found that has great potential for harbouring life, and as astronomy is a great hobby of mine, I thought I'd bring the discussion to The Lounge.

    What's everyone's thoughts? Are we alone?

    Personally, with the sheer vastness of space, I feel there would be some form of intelligent life out there. What Earth had to go through in order to become habitable is mind boggling, though I believe it could've happened elsewhere. I don't however, believe we will ever come in to contact with other intelligent beings in our lifetime, or in the near future for that matter.
     
  2. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Is there a link or reference somewhere on the internet for this?

    Personally, I love this sort of thing. It's only depressing that I'll very likely never see another planet, you know? Kinda gives me a major depression. Makes you realise that your life will never be as interesting as the one that you could create in fiction.
     
  3. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    I think it's very very very likely that some other forms of life exist out there. To there being intelligent life, however, is anyone's guess.
     
  4. CottonCandi
    Offline

    CottonCandi Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    USA
    Greeting DB! Welcome! I think we are all alone!!! So lonely, lol It would be neat to meet someone though, perhaps this is it! Boring! lol
     
  5. Wryture
    Offline

    Wryture New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well thank goodness there aren't any really trippy movies like the matrix which challenge that sense universality and wonder.

    (We're all out to get your energy man, there's no other people)

    haha..
     
  6. mugen shiyo
    Offline

    mugen shiyo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Too much space out there to think I'm alone. Rather, I would wonder whether we have been visited at any time during our existence.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    The hard part will be determining what is NOT life.

    An entity which reproduces itself and utilizes energy to produce local decreases in entropy?

    Well, by that definition, any machine that makes more similar machines would be a life form.

    So we can consider the above definition a starting point, but no more.

    I think we'd have to agree that carbon-chain based organisms would be too narrow a definition of life. But even with that definition, given the (literally) astronomical number of galaxies in the universe, and stars within each galaxy, and with the direct evidence we now have that planets are not uncommon around stars, and the experiments that produced the building blocks of life from simple primordial conditions, I must consider it extremely improbable that life only exists on this one tiny planet.
     
  8. Fullmetal Xeno
    Offline

    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,364
    Likes Received:
    141
    Location:
    Kingdom of Austniad
    NO, we are not alone. In fact we are the entire opposite of alone... Trust me, we aren't. Eventually, in maybe 250-300 years from now the nearest galaxy to ours will hopefully be explored and there's a very high chance of life being spotted. I can almost guarantee it.
     
  9. Heather
    Offline

    Heather Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    London
    I think the biological definition for something to have a life is that is carries out the basic functions, including growth, nutrition, excretion and reproduction in some form or another. (MRS GREN - http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks3bitesize/science/organisms_behaviour_health/life_processes/revise2.shtml ) So by that definition, I don’t really think computers and machines count.

    However yes, the definition of life should be considered. Just because we have defined life in a way to mean the seven things stated in MRS GREN, does that mean we are right? If we discovered a strange thing on another planet, which didn’t conform to the seven properties of MRS GREN, does that mean it isn’t alive? But then on the other hand, if we don’t give set definitions to anything, how do we work anything out?

    As for whether I think other life exists except from on planet earth, I would think it is almost a definite. There are all sorts of life forms which can survive under the sea, and so many creatures which we have not discovered so far, and that is just on planet earth. If creatures can survive under the ocean, then why can’t other type exist within the different atmosphere’s on different planets? I don’t know what the life is out there, and I couldn’t possibly begin to guess, but I believe that there is so much more out in the universe except from ourselves.
     
  10. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I think some of Mrs. Gren's criteria are arbitrary. Growth, for instance. Also nutrition and excretion, which assume energy absorption by chemical partitioning of a fuel source. Her definition excludes viruses, for example.

    Could life consist of organized superheated plasma? Or at the other extreme, Helium II with impurities, as hypothesized by Arthur C Clarke and some scientists? Nor should we dismiss out of hand the possibility of cybernetic life. Just because it is created by chemical-metabolism life forms, does not mean it cannot achieve a living state.

    The question of what is or is not life is far from trivial. Scientists have been debating it for decades, and will doubtless continue to do so for decades to come. Or longer.
     
  11. aimi_aiko
    Offline

    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I find it very possible. I'm the type of person who believes anything if it could be scientifically proven, and this, however, very well can be.

    I think that the "appearance" our imaginations give to "aliens" or "other lifeforms" could be accurate or completely incorrect. I've always wanted to know what an alien really looks like, and if they are in any way similar to how we picture them today.

    This is a very intriguing topic that will always make us wonder what is out there.
     
  12. DBTate
    Offline

    DBTate Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    3
    I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you there. 250-300 years? The closest star to our solar system--Proxima Centauri--is 4.22 light years from Earth. Using our fastest method of space travel--Gravitational Assists--it would take 19,000 years to reach this star. And there is no guarantee that this star is orbited by planets with any potential for supporting life.

    The planet I mentioned in my first post is around 36 light years away, and one light year is approximately 10 trillion kilometres. So, even it were flourishing with life and a suitable home for us in the future, it would take upwards of 100,000 years to reach with our current methods of space travel.

    250-300 years is being very, very, optimistic.
     
  13. Heather
    Offline

    Heather Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    London
    I would have actually thought viruses could carry out all of the functions, but perhaps I am wrong. My knowledge of biology only goes as far as first year college, so I'm just going on what I've learned before :)

    As for the possibility for cybernetic life, I really do not agree that this could happen. Yes, you can create something which can evaluate different circumstances and make a decision on how to act, but that is only because it has been programmed to do so. If you have a robot and it comes to crossing the road, and you haven't programmed it with the knowledge of how to cross the road, how on earth will it know what to do? If everything about robots are programmed by computers, how can they possibely have a lifeform of their own? It isn't robots having their own lifeforms, it is just very smart humans with very smart programming. Nothing more, in my opinion.
     
  14. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,205
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I agree.

    At best we may be able to colonize the moon and Mars within 300 years. At best.

    And that is, of course, assuming that we're still around to do that.
     
  15. DBTate
    Offline

    DBTate Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    3
    There are some satellites (moons) that seem to have potential for sustaining us. However, I think what's most is important is looking after Earth.

    There's no point colonizing elsewhere in our solar system unless it's absolutely necessary, because our sun will burn out eventually, and that's the end of our home, wherever it may be.
     
  16. DBTate
    Offline

    DBTate Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    3
    Another thing you need to consider when talking about being visited by extra terrestrial beings, is that if they were capable of reaching Earth, they would be far more technologically advanced than we are. In this sense, what could they possible gain from talking to us?

    Consider ants; they are fairly intelligent when you consider what they're capable of, yet would you bend down and expect to have a conversation with them? No. The same can be said for alien life forms and the humble Earth-folk.
     
  17. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,052
    Likes Received:
    5,256
    Location:
    California, US
    No viruses cannot carry out all of those functions. There has been debate, though, over whether viruses are actually "alive," largely because of the fact that they don't meet a lot of the traditional criteria. In some ways they're more like machines of protein and DNA (or RNA).
     
  18. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,052
    Likes Received:
    5,256
    Location:
    California, US
    We interact with and even try to establish communications with gorillas, for example (see Koko). We're more technologically advanced than they are. It is sheer curiosity and scientific study.

    Likewise, when more technologically advanced Europeans encounter other civilizations in the world, they established trade and communications (and worse things, which should give one pause when considering advanced extra-terrestrials.
     
  19. Heather
    Offline

    Heather Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    London
    Ah right, I wasn't aware of this - thanks for the explanation ;)
     
  20. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Cybernetic life would not be that much different than organic life. We start out with basic programming that operates our organs, processes sensory inputs, and many other functions. Among those is the capacity to extend the programming adaptively from the environment.

    We already have software that mimics this kind of process. Expert systems learn from the situations they encounter during their existence, and identical expert systems exposed to different problems will develop differently. In essence, they develop their own "personalities."

    We also have robots that construct other robots. Merge these two technology paths, add the ability to seek out new energy sources, and you get pretty close to a working definition of life. And all this is within easy reach of 2011 technology.
     
  21. Fullmetal Xeno
    Offline

    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,364
    Likes Received:
    141
    Location:
    Kingdom of Austniad
    If you told that to the Romans back then, that would be too pessimistic. Who knows? Nobody thought we would reach the Moon in 1969. We could end up finding a whole new element, and using it to fuel gas for spacecraft and such. If Gasoline was never discovered, Space Travel would of never happened. And what if we discover warp speed? Then what? Yeah, it may seem almost too soon, but you can't doubt everything about science and technology. My one friend tried to convince me that we haven't ever landed on the Moon yet and we will never land on Mars. Trust me, were are going to be at that position very soon where we can travel quickly. Just 10 years alone, we went from Cell phones just starting out, to much more vast info of information. Heck, look at computers. Compare the technology from 2001 to 2011 and you will be very surprised. Im not entirely disagreeing with you, but im just saying don't doubt technology.
     
  22. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Still, DB has a point. Technology aside, our own galaxy is so vast, exploring it would take centuries even if travelling to the most distant star in our own galaxy took no longer than a bus trip to a nearby city. There are a couple hundred stars in our galaxy for every man, woman, and child on our planet. That's more stars in the galaxy than there have been human on earth for our entire existence.

    The average distance between galaxies is roughly a million times greater than the average distance between stars. So if you could get to a nearby star in a day, the trip to a nearby galaxy would take a couple millenia.
     
  23. Fullmetal Xeno
    Offline

    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,364
    Likes Received:
    141
    Location:
    Kingdom of Austniad
    Now the question is, would we be able to land on planets such as Mars if we never had the Dark Ages? If that never happened, we would probably have atleast Mars colonized. I wasn't talking about every star in our galaxy, but just the fact of discovering a faraway planet with enough effort. Although im not doubting you, im just say it's highly possible in a few hundred years. No one thought in the year 1919 that Humanity would land on the Moon in 50 years from that date of time. When it comes to space, it can vary on when and how we travel. In the Halo universe, it showed a perfect example without a Dark Age and how colonizing 800 planets would be possible. Yes, science fiction is not real. But who says it's impossible?
     
  24. DBTate
    Offline

    DBTate Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    3
    I'm not doubting the steady march of technology. What we have achieved so far is certainly something to be proud of. However, even if we were able to achieve a method of space travel that would take us faster than ever before, I don't believe we will ever reach anything close to the speed of light.

    Essentially, nothing with mass is going to be able to reach or exceed the speed of light, and even if we were to get to 99% of the speed light, it would still be difficult to travel long distances.

    If we were to travel to the planet I mentioned in the first post, for example, it would still take 35-40 years. That is essentially condemning the crew to death in space / on the other planet. An 80 year round trip, for something that is relatively close in terms of the universe, and that's at almost the speed of light! If we were to travel to the far reaches of the universes, we would have to essentially live in space, reproducing in space and teaching our children solely how to operate the spacecraft and deny them much of what it currently means to live on Earth. I don't think long distance space travel, now or in the distant future, is feasible or absolutely necessary.

    And as for landing on mars; yes, I believe there is a good possibility we will get to mars in our lifetime. There are people training for the long trip at the moment. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, colonising any other planet or satellite in our solar system would be pointless (unless the Earth were going through a cataclysmic event), because once the sun has run out of it's fuel, it will start to expand and heat up, and in short, kill us all.
     
  25. Fullmetal Xeno
    Offline

    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,364
    Likes Received:
    141
    Location:
    Kingdom of Austniad
    Yes, the Sun will turn red and complete it's life-cycle by crashing into the Earth 8.62 billion years from now. I think in about 25-30 years we will be able to reach Mars if our Space program isn't hindered anymore. With enough scientificical reason, it will probably take us thousands and thousands of years before we probably are able to explore outside our galaxy without tremendous effort.
     

Share This Page