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Thread: Search for life in space?

  1. #1
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    Default Search for life in space?

    It seems that all proposals of space research have a "search for life" as part of their reason for being. Any competent space scientist can figure out the probability of finding life similar to that we know of. Such a probability is so low that using it as a reason for the other research issues makes no real sense to me. Project SETI and others like it seem doomed to failure just by looking at the math of distance and time.

    Sure there are other worlds out there that harbor some life form but the mathematical probability of us ever meeting or communicating with them is near zero. Good research into space should be able to stand on its own. Likewise the noise made by people like Musk about moving our earthly bound humans into space on any kind of long time or permanent basis is in contradiction with what we know of what such a venture would require. The human of earth is simply not constructed to allow such stuff. We need to take care of the earth we live on as it is the only one that humans will ever afford. That there is some other place in the solar system that could even meet a fraction of the basic needs of us humans is folly. We humans and all other earth life forms have evolved to require and prosper within the limits of what our large rock affords. Its about time we realized that and learned to do what is necessary to help the earth rather than to waste and plunder its resources.

    At this juncture I feel that I have earned the right to rant if I feel like it. I invite disagreement with such thinking.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Finding evidence of life doubles our knowlege about life. It may help understand how life arose, whether life is possible in a system that does not incluse liquid water, oxygen and carbon, hydrogen and sulpher. If we found one of those it would double our knowlege about life.
    Very worthwhile endeavours.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    If it helped us live better with the living earth around us, that would be good, but I doubt it does or will.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    If it helped us live better with the living earth around us, that would be good, but I doubt it does or will.
    I agree with Thad on this. I doubt that any outside discovery will have noticeable effect on current human behavior which seems more emotional rather than factual. Not against space exploration at all and am in favor more than most people I know. Just conclude after study of the realities that most who predict space as suitable for humans have not done their homework. Life in some forms do not require oxygen but make it as a by product.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Try reading 'Seven Eves' by Neal Stephenson. It goes on a bit but the idea is OK.

    And I have never thought that our species, and especially the western world, was at all capable of dealing with the big stuff. Climate change, pollution of the sea, state aggression, personal agression for that matter etc, etc. It's what humans are.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    This discussion brings to mind one of the theories of human development: That teenagers are crazy risk takers because it benefitted the species to create an expendable but physically capable period of life which discovered which mushrooms you could eat, etc. Perhaps humans as a species are those teenagers, experimenting with our world, pushing the limits. The only problem is that if we blow it, there may be no one who learns the lesson.....

    Ken

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by kbowen View Post
    This discussion brings to mind one of the theories of human development: That teenagers are crazy risk takers because it benefitted the species to create an expendable but physically capable period of life which discovered which mushrooms you could eat, etc. Perhaps humans as a species are those teenagers, experimenting with our world, pushing the limits. The only problem is that if we blow it, there may be no one who learns the lesson.....

    Ken
    We already know enough about hazards of outer space that test teenagers are not needed. The protections required to allow humans or other animals to live healthy in space long enough to be exposed to harmful things that are bound to occur there insure that no human is going to accept the dangers. Tolerating the protection that will be required to maintain good health makes the experience not worth the inconvenience of the protection.

    In any case, if humans are able to make adequate protections it will cause transformation in genes, etc so that they/we will no longer be like earthly humans. In other words long term space existence is a no go for us earth conditioned creatures. We witness significant changes of our human makeup to counter conditions found by people living in various parts of the earth now and that barely scratches the surface of conditions that exist out there.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    The problem with science as it's practiced in the U.S. is that it's more about politics than it is about actual science. So programs have to be sold, and they have to make the promoters feel good about themselves for backing the project.

    So we put up and man an orbiting space station in reality for the ego trip it provides, and then back it up with arguments about learning to live in micro gravity and so on. The Webb telescope will be doing real science, far more so than anything that came out of the space station in all its years, but the politicians still feel a need to make it sound sexy or cool -- as though aliens will be spotted waving, "Hello, Earthlings, how's it going over there?"

    If you haven't seen "Don't Look Up" yet, it's worth a few dollars for the movie ticket.
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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandlapper View Post
    We already know enough about hazards of outer space that test teenagers are not needed. The protections required to allow humans or other animals to live healthy in space long enough to be exposed to harmful things that are bound to occur there insure that no human is going to accept the dangers. Tolerating the protection that will be required to maintain good health makes the experience not worth the inconvenience of the protection.

    In any case, if humans are able to make adequate protections it will cause transformation in genes, etc so that they/we will no longer be like earthly humans. In other words long term space existence is a no go for us earth conditioned creatures. We witness significant changes of our human makeup to counter conditions found by people living in various parts of the earth now and that barely scratches the surface of conditions that exist out there.
    Build the ship and ask for volunteers, and you will get thousands of them.
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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    By any reasonable standard of measurement, everything that exists is not here.

    Suspended animation is a reality for mammals, and partial gravity can be induced by rotation.

    Snow fell on Mars the other day.

    Perhaps we NEED to find other schemes of life.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    The problem with science as it's practiced in the U.S. is that it's more about politics than it is about actual science. So programs have to be sold, and they have to make the promoters feel good about themselves for backing the project.

    So we put up and man an orbiting space station in reality for the ego trip it provides, and then back it up with arguments about learning to live in micro gravity and so on. The Webb telescope will be doing real science, far more so than anything that came out of the space station in all its years, but the politicians still feel a need to make it sound sexy or cool -- as though aliens will be spotted waving, "Hello, Earthlings, how's it going over there?"

    If you haven't seen "Don't Look Up" yet, it's worth a few dollars for the movie ticket.
    Good movie. Saw it on Netflix extra.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    Build the ship and ask for volunteers, and you will get thousands of them.
    That would prove nothing. We know that millions of people will sign on for anything whether reality or a lie.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    By any reasonable standard of measurement, everything that exists is not here.

    Suspended animation is a reality for mammals, and partial gravity can be induced by rotation.

    Snow fell on Mars the other day.

    Perhaps we NEED to find other schemes of life.
    Suspended animation of complex animals is not free of needing energy to exist so the time is limited for complex life to resume.

    Using only a bit of math, it is clear that we earthlings will never find another life form anywhere near the state that might be communicated with. The time line just about guarantees that outcome whether some need to find other life or not. Politicians needing to have a science project in their backyard may benefit but not the rest of us.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    What is very obvious is that while the cosmos is interesting to some and they get the money to explore it, the likely real results for the whole of the Earth are not a lot.
    Even with the best of intentions, tackling the real problems 'down here' get stuck on politics and nasty people.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
    What is very obvious is that while the cosmos is interesting to some and they get the money to explore it, the likely real results for the whole of the Earth are not a lot.
    Even with the best of intentions, tackling the real problems 'down here' get stuck on politics and nasty people.
    True enough, but the old human frailty issues of greed will not be denied and the worst of us finds a way to come to the forefront unless a constant battle is fought against them.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Not off the planet. That's the whole point.

    What human beings do best is adapt to new environments. People can change everything: habits, customs, toolkits, expectations -- maybe even our genome now -- to adapt to new opportunities. (A hairless toothless clawless slow-running slow-climbing flightless chimp spread across this entire planet.)

    The society that evolves at a LaGrange Point, or in a dome on Mars, will have environmental considerations as their bedrock social understanding. And law. (Or else they all die, in weeks.) We on Earth will never accomplish that without a living-breathing-successful example in front of us. Too many people -- no chance of a fresh start. Too much mass, too much inertia.

    But their laws are what we need.

    And evolution, social or otherwise, doesn't often happen in large groups. It happens on the fringes.
    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 12-31-2021 at 07:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    At the conclusion of "Don't Look Up" and handful of the very rich escape the doomed planet Earth and arrive, after a very long journey, on another planet with a high level of oxygen and comfortable temperatures. Shortly after disembarking the spaceship, Meryl Steep gets her head bitten off by a dinosaur-looking thing.

    That's about how I would expect it to go. Let's get real here. The early trips from Europe to North America didn't all go too well. If mankind can't manage life on Earth, there's no chance he can manage it on another planet.

    The only real problem on this planet is the total lack of population control among humanoids. It ought to be the absolute simplest thing to solve. But can we do it? No.
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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Not off the planet. That's the whole point.

    What human beings do best is adapt to new environments. People can change everything: habits, customs, toolkits, expectations -- maybe even our genome now -- to adapt to new opportunities. (A hairless toothless clawless slow-running slow-climbing flightless chimp spread across this entire planet.)

    The society that evolves at a LaGrange Point, or in a dome on Mars, will have environmental considerations as their bedrock social understanding. And law. (Or else they all die, in weeks.) We on Earth will never accomplish that without a living-breathing-successful example in front of us. Too many people -- no chance of a fresh start. Too much mass, too much inertia.

    But their laws are what we need.

    And evolution, social or otherwise, doesn't often happen in large groups. It happens on the fringes.

    I think we talk past each other sometimes. Adaptation I'm talking about is not governed by the individual but by the environment itself. There are humans living in some areas of the earth that would require some physical changes by outsiders in order to survive long term there. Such a result is amplified by the much different conditions on another planet or space station.

    No amount of understanding or consideration or law can change this necessity. After much review and study of these things, I reached this conclusion with my limited expertise. On balance I can think of no other place in the universe that comes close to our earth in matching what we need for success in our present form. Our best path is ,by far, to live within what the earth provides without messing it all up. With the present polarization of our narratives that path still seems impossible except by the few who look at the long view. Wox seems to have this same view of our abilities to influence the future as we should.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Well, we can cordially, thoughtfully and respectfully not agree about this. Good way to start the new year.

    I am of course utterly and completely unbiased -- quite impartial on the subject.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    On balance I can think of no other place in the universe that comes close to our earth in matching what we need for success in our present form.
    But what is "success?"

    Is putting a match to every combustible item on the planet success?

    I take a very dim view of the stories of mankind's advancement. A lot of filtering has to be done before the image of the species looks anything like progress. If intelligent aliens ever did chance upon this lonely planet, they could only marvel at the self destructive nature of our species. A handful horde all the wealth, there is no behavior that suggests any regard for the far future, and we've somehow managed to start melting the ice caps. Where's the progress? We carry computers in our pockets, but to what avail?
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    But what is "success?"

    Is putting a match to every combustible item on the planet success?

    I take a very dim view of the stories of mankind's advancement. A lot of filtering has to be done before the image of the species looks anything like progress. If intelligent aliens ever did chance upon this lonely planet, they could only marvel at the self destructive nature of our species. A handful horde all the wealth, there is no behavior that suggests any regard for the far future, and we've somehow managed to start melting the ice caps. Where's the progress? We carry computers in our pockets, but to what avail?

    Success in this context means nothing about whether any outcome is judged success. I mean that the earth provides the opportunity for life to succeed in a large range of environments to a huge range of life forms, not the assurance that these forms will succeed. As the environment of the earth has changed greatly over the millions of years, different life forms have evolved to succeed in that time period.

    As to mankind's advancement, I doubt your view is dimmer than my own. Certain areas for certain but some others, not so much.

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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Well, we can cordially, thoughtfully and respectfully not agree about this. Good way to start the new year.

    I am of course utterly and completely unbiased -- quite impartial on the subject.
    Well, as someone once said, if we are the only inhabited planet then it's an awful waste of space.
    I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned


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    Default Re: Search for life in space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    At the conclusion of "Don't Look Up" and handful of the very rich escape the doomed planet Earth and arrive, after a very long journey, on another planet with a high level of oxygen and comfortable temperatures. Shortly after disembarking the spaceship, Meryl Steep gets her head bitten off by a dinosaur-looking thing.

    That's about how I would expect it to go. Let's get real here. The early trips from Europe to North America didn't all go too well. If mankind can't manage life on Earth, there's no chance he can manage it on another planet.

    The only real problem on this planet is the total lack of population control among humanoids. It ought to be the absolute simplest thing to solve. But can we do it? No.
    The only thing we have agreed on as a species is the wording of a document that states we are not legally bound to do anything constructive about climate change. And that took 26 years.
    I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned


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