NOVA PBS "Origins"

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tfwthom

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Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? Are we alone, or are there alien worlds waiting to be discovered? NOVA presents some startling new answers in Origins, a four part miniseries that will air Tuesday, September 28 and Wednesday, September 29, 8 to 10pm ET/PT on PBS. New clues from the frontiers of science are presented by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium. As host, Tyson leads viewers on a cosmic journey to the beginning of time and to the depths of space, in search of the first stirrings of life and its traces on other worlds.<br /><br />The series' first hour, Origins: Earth is Born, gives viewers a spectacular glimpse of the tumultuous first billion years of Earth — a time of continuous catastrophe. Episode two, Origins: How Life Began, zeroes in on the mystery of exactly how precious life happened. In episode three, Origins: Where are the Aliens?, Tyson explores such provocative questions as: Would "E.T.s" resemble "us" or the creatures of science fiction? And are there planets on which life can flourish rare or common in our universe? Hour four starts with a bang — the Big Bang, and takes us back to where everything began. Origins: Back to the Beginning explores how the colossal, mind-boggling forces of the early universe made it possible for habitable worlds to emerge. <br /><br />http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/origins/<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1" color="#3366ff">www.siriuslookers.org</font> </div>
 
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odysseus145

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Interesting, I know i'll wacth it. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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newtonian

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Thanks for letting us know. I will also try to watch it.<br /><br />Meanwhile - just how is life supposed to have started exactly?<br /><br />And what did cause the origin of our universe, or the Big Bang, so to speak?<br /><br />Did time really have a beginning, or is this simply referring to our universe's space-time which was caused during primordial time?<br /><br />I think it is scientifically logical to assume that cause and effect cannot operate without time, and that our universe's space-time is an effect that was caused.<br /><br />And exactly what are the parameters that make matter-based life as we know it possible?<br /><br />Or any matter-based life at all (including life as we don't know it - yet)?<br /><br />And what of energy-based life? Could it have existed before our universe began? Perhaps in another pre-existing universe?
 
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newtonian

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Steve - kind of like going to the dentist for a practice drill!<br /><br />I must remember to watch that Nova program - I had forgotten about it.<br /><br />Thanks for bumping the thread.
 
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newtonian

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TFWThom - Thank you. I watched it and was amazed at the many answers that have been discovered.<br /><br />I also have tons of questions about many things touched on.<br /><br />For example: How did earth get its water? <br /><br />Which 70 amino acids have been discoverd on meteorites?<br /><br />I liked the broadcast, btw. I taped it since I think it is worthy of study.<br /><br />What did you all think of it?
 
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enigma5656

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I personally thought it was very insightful. I also was totally surprised at just how much we actually do know about the Universe. I'd love to see a followup special
 
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newtonian

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TFWThom - Well, the broadcast indicated that the older scientific models indicating our universe always existed, including the more modern steady state theory, have now been sufficiently disproven [edit: as per following poster who disagrees].<br /><br />For me that has special significance since some of the scientists that used to favor an always existing universe actually mocked Genesis 1:1 which indicates heaven and earth had a beginning.<br /><br />I also noted that the broadcast indicated that the ratio of Deuterium in earth's water does not match that in comets- so this naturally begs the question:<br /><br />How did earth get its water.<br /><br />Again, this has special significance to me since Genesis 1:2 indicates early earth was covered with water.<br /><br />Concerning the 70 amino acids discovered so far on meteorites, I was wondering how many of the 20 amino acids used in life have been found on meteorites.<br /><br />Anyone know?
 
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anoolios

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Newtonian, your implication that all models of the universe indicating that it has always existed have been disproven is incorrect. <br /><br />I also have a problem with how the Origins series fails to make clear that many of the theories are just that, theories. They discuss the "big bang" as if it were a fact, and that is extremely misleading.
 
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newtonian

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Anoolios - Excellent - I didn't want to be 'yessed' to death!<br /><br />And I edited my previous post to adapt to your post.<br /><br />Well, I also have a problem with their noting 70 amino acids were found on meteorites but not specifying how relevant this was to life as we know it with its specific L-chirated (left hand polarized) amino acids, not to mention the specific alpha-peptide bonding and 3-D shape.<br />However, the broadcast was trying to go down the middle between the many who disagree on many points.<br /><br />For example, while indicating the universe had a beginning, I didn't note they quoted Genesis 1:1 -or did I miss that?<br /><br />Also, while they indicated the universe was created in a big bang, they themed the discussion "Cosmic Evolution."<br /><br />It seems to me they tried to go down the middle between cosmic creation and cosmic evolution.<br /><br />I certainly agree with you that they presented the facts as if far more things have been proven than have actually been proven.<br /><br />Another example was the stated age of the universe: 13.7 billion years - as if we can be that precise.<br /><br />Compare, for example, astronomer Wendy Friedman's estimated age of 12 billion years.<br /><br />All that being said - what flaws do you see in big bang theory and what theories do you think should be considered as viable (tenable) alternatives?
 
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anoolios

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What I am pointing out is not so much a questioning of the big bang theory itself, more how it is presented as being proven truth. Instead of terms like "the universe", it is more valid to say "observed universe". I cannot overstress the importance of exact language in these matters; while distasteful in fashionable documentaries, it is detestable and all too common in academic circles. <br /><br />Viable alternatives to how the Origins series presents the big bag theory include expansions of big bang theory; for instance, perhaps there are many big bangs and other areas and dimensions of expanding universe that remain unobserved. Another example would be the disputed yet plausible plasma cosmology of Hannes Alfven.
 
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newtonian

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Anoolios - Well, yes, many scientific theories are presented as if they are proven fact. Another example is Darwinian evolution vs. other models for the origin of life and species.<br /><br />Now, it will take time I do not have today to comment properly on plasma cosmology.<br /><br />However, I have noted that models for the formation of structure in our universe often ignore magnetic observations - such as exactly how the IGM (intergalactic medium) has been ionized; also whether seed magnetic fields played a role in specific structures such as galaxies, stars, planets, etc.<br /><br />The same could be said for the popular stellar evolution models.<br /><br />The history of science is filled with examples of popular scientific models later greatly modified or even discarded.<br /><br />On the other hand, actual observations remain valid - so finding truth in science necessarily involves determining what has actually been observed, and how to interpret the observations in such a way as to keep all observations in harmony - e.g. - never ignore an observation which runs counter to a popular theory.<br /><br />One reason I liked Nova, Origins is that they did broadcast many actual observations.<br /><br />But, yes, I also noted statements made with no evidence presented for them.<br /><br />Or links implied but not proven - e.g. 70 amino acids found on meteorites = building blocks of life= how life got here.<br /><br />Of course, the broadcast did indicate that we really don't know how life came about.<br /><br />BTW - I believe the Biblical model- however, I reject many creationist interpretations.<br /><br />
 
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newtonian

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You all- This was an inciteful question in Nova origins:<br /><br />"Just because a planet can support life, does that mean it will?"<br /><br />Compare Drake's equation, which was also discussed.<br /><br />Also, compare the anthropic principle - the scientific observational part, not the philosophical part.
 
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mtrotto7287

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does anyone happen to know when this show will air again in the US? I tried to tape it, but I lost power about an hour and a half before it was on<br /><br />i definitely want to see it though
 
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newtonian

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stevehw33- I basically agree with both your posts. Concerning the origin of the moon, yes again, I agree.<br /><br />However, I doubt the precise orbit of our moon is simply by chance, in a chance collision, for many reasons. Here is one presentation of questioning the standard model for cause and effect:<br /><br />"William Roy Shelton writes in the book Winning the Moon:<br /><br />"It is important to remember that something had to put the moon at or near its present circular pattern around the earth. Just as an Apollo spacecraft circling the earth every ninety minutes while one hundred miles high has to have a velocity of roughly 18,000 miles per hour to stay in orbit, so something had to give the moon the precisely required velocity for its weight and altitude. For instance, it could not have been blown out from earth at some random speed or direction. We found this out when we first began to try to orbit artificial satellites. We discovered that unless the intended satellite reached a certain altitude at a certain speed on a certain course parallel to the surface of the earth, it would not have the necessary centrifugal force to maintain the delicate balance with the gravity of earth which would permit it to remain in the desired orbit.<br /><br />"At Old Cape Canaveral on the night of March 5, 1958, for instance, I watched the launch of Explorer 2 which was scheduled to be the second U.S. satellite to orbit successfully. Everything worked perfectly until the fourth and final stage attempted to achieve the required precise velocity, altitude and speed. On this occasion the difficult combination was not achieved and our intended satellite very soon plunged back into earth's atmosphere. . . .<br /><br />"The speed required for orbit changes every time either the altitude or the weight of the intended satellite is altered and objects farther away from the earth require more time to circle the earth. For the moon's distance and weight, that time, called the orbital period
 
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newtonian

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TFWThom- What did you think of Drake's equation as presented by Frank Drake on the broadcast?<br /><br />Would N = 10,000 detectable intelligent civilizations in our galaxy?<br /><br />Personally, I doubt it but consider it possible - for different reasons than Drake does.<br /><br />What numbers would you put to Drake's equation?<br />Roughly posted, it was shown this way:<br /><br />N= R* Fp ne f-omega fi fc L<br /><br />N = number of intelligent detectable civilizations in our own Milky Way galaxy.<br /><br />Fp is how many stars have planets <br /><br />Fi is how often life will become intelligent.<br /><br />L is how long an intelligent civilization might last.<br /><br />The show made it difficult to weigh the validity of Drake's result for N.<br /><br />These numbers that were shown are difficult to factor in(again: rough):<br /><br />10/yr.521 .1 1<br /><br />Would anyone like to post what the other letters in the formula represent and what plausible numbers could be given for these factors or values?<br /><br />The broadcast did show other scientists disagree on the result - wildly, btw.!
 
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newtonian

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shuttle_guy- Which is why I tried calculating limits, as in my theory thread. Limits are much easier to determine than the actual variables.<br /><br />Now - what exactly are the other variables I did not find a definition for in the program?<br /><br />I noticed more estimates -I taped the broadcast- but it was really passed over too fast.<br /><br />My goal is to determine the most plausible values for the variables independently, and to also try to determine reasonable, or even absolute, upper and lower limits.<br /><br />One thing that was made clear - for an earth-like planet in a solar system one needs a Jupiter-like planet in a Jupiter-like orbit! <br /><br />BTW- this is also related to fine tuning- i.e. how fine tuned would our earth, and solar system, need to be in order to support life? Clearly human life needs much more fine tuning than many micro-organisms need.
 
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nexium

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I would like to think a trillion sentient outposts in our galaxy at present. To get this many you likely need to assume there is at least one group of intersteller travelers. Many groups traveling between the stars, that evolved separately, makes the other varriables closer to the reasonable center. The outposts tend to be short lived, but they can repopulate more self sufficient centers that suffer extinction. The ET that visit Earth, may soon give mainstream humans the technology to travel between the stars. Some eleatist groups of humans may already be visiting other stars. Alternately, it is about as probable that no ET have visited Earth and that there is a few as one other intelegent race in our galaxy. Neil
 
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newtonian

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nexium- Are you serious?<br /><br />There are less than a trillion stars in our galaxy!<br /><br />Job 38:7 does indicate 'sons of God' shouted in applause at earth's creation.<br /><br />I have no idea how many life forms actually observed earth's formation billions of years ago.<br /><br />Nor do I know if any of these ancient intelligent extraterrestrial forms of life actually live in our galaxy.<br />I am open-minded on the subject, though.<br />
 
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qzzq

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Newtonian posted: --<i>I also noted that the broadcast indicated that the ratio of Deuterium in earth's water does not match that in comets- so this naturally begs the question: <br /><br />How did earth get its water.</i><br /><br />Well, I'm surprised if they didn't nuance that statement. Comet LINEAR's water had a isotopic composition matching Earth's water. LINEAR was born at a Jupiter distance from the Sun. Comets originating from that region, - and that would have been many, many comets during the solar system's formation -, have (more or less) the same water composition we find on Earth, while the comets formed at a Neptune distance from our star contain more heavy water. Earth was more likely bombarded with 'Jupiter' comets than with 'Neptune' comets, for the simple reason Jupiter is a lot closer. Zillions of small comets would have given water to Earth. About 20 comets, weighing as much as 20,000 to 40,000 kg are still absorbed in Earth's atmosphere every minute! Over the course of time, they could account for the total amount of water on Earth. The theory is still debated I believe, but if anyone has new input on this, I'd be eager to know more. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p>***</p> </div>
 
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jcdenton

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I only saw snippets of <i>Origins</i> but IIRC, they mentioned that most of the water contained in comets is "heavy water" or D<sub>2</sub>O, and how that became H<sub>2</sub>O which comprises the vast majority of our oceans, I might have missed.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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jcdenton

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<font color="yellow">The fraction is modestly higher in interplanetary water.</font><br /><br />This is what they must have said then, I heard incorrectly before.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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