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Will 2020 Be the Year We Find Intelligent Alien Life?

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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After reading this report and others like it- there seems to be a critical assumption at the foundation. The well attested scientific law of abiogenesis is at work throughout the universe so we will likely find E.T. phoning home, some day :) A good theory needs to be testable - and falsifiable too.
 
Nov 25, 2019
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Every time I read about someone running their assumptions through the Drake Equation they get a result. But what I don't see is people careful putting the "error bars" through the equation. I know why. Because the errors if computed correctly would make the results look stupid.

What wants to be the one to publish something that reads. "There must be between 0.000001 and 100,000,000,000 technological civilizations." When you multiply 10 numbers that each have two orders of magnitude of uncertainty you get something about as meaningless as the above. At least the above can conclusively be shown to be correct.

I have another way to make an estimate. I can be applied only to Earth-like planets but there might be many of these. This also solves the problem that we only know of one planet with life and therefore have very poor statistics. Try this: Let's pretend there is an alien scientist who has been observing Earth from the beginning, from the time before the Moon was formed until today. Every day he observes if there is life on Earth and records the type of life he observes. He has many trillions of observations that say "only bacteria, nothing else" He has far less but still a lot that say "eukaryotic cells, simple plants, some worms" and a relative few observations labeled "several huminid species found" and even fewer that say "technological society that uses radio."

So why not take this scientist's notes and assume that planets in the solar system have the kinds of life on them in the same proportions as is present on the daily sample of Earth? We are tempted to extrapolate the alien's notes to say that the radio using society lasted 2 billion years but we have no basis for doing that.

Doing the above gives us as good of results as anything else, which is "within 20 orders of magnitude."
 
Nov 27, 2019
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The rapid development of Life may depend on a small, water rich (exact temperature range for solid/liquid/gas), double planet with tectonic plates & a magnetic field; within the "habitability zone" of a sufficiently metallic (3rd or 4th generation), relatively quiet (yellow & white dwarf) sun, with a not too slow/fast rotation rate, a Jupiter (to act as shield for the inner planetary zone) & a circular galactic orbit, in a quiet part of a quiet galaxy. That may be no more than 1 or 2 per galaxy. Reasonably getting off the planet means it can't be much more massive than Earth. If the production of phosphorus varies widely as a function of the size of the supernova that seeded heavier elements into a new star system, so might the likelihood of life in the system. Life gets very difficult w/o abundant phosphorus.
 
Nov 25, 2019
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This is the "Rare Earth Theory" and it very well might be true. Until we get more data we just do not know. Who knows, just maybe the 2020 Mars rover finds a micro-fossil or in 10 years oxygen and water vapor are detected on an Earth-like exoplanet.

Or like SETI we get 50 years of "nothing".

The counter-argument to "Rare Earth" is that, yes you need all those unlikely things to create Earth-like life. But other kinds of life will arise in other environments. My personal guess is that there was life n Mars but it never got even to the bacteria level and some people will call is only "pre-biotic chemistry" But I think what we'll find is a fossilized "RNA World". Very simple like where DNA had not yet come into being and the cells were 10X smaller than Earth-like bacteria. This is what was on Earth before DNA.

Next, I'll even add another rare step in the process that might only happen once in a thousand times, RNA is replaced by DNA as the store of genetic information.

It is an important and interesting question and even negative results are informative.

Today I can argue on either side of all these theories. They are all plausible and they all points pro and con. That is what makes science interesting. The only way to be dead-wrong is if you say you know for sure.
 
Nov 27, 2019
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When you think about the bulk of stars being in supernova country, to near the center.
The number of stars that are to big or to small or to active.
The number of earth like worlds with a decent moon to make them stable places or being the moon of a big planet in the right place and made up of just the right stuff.
And lord help most of those places with a much more than our asteroid belt or a decent planet with a less than circular orbit.

Then the unknown question of life beginning on one of those perfect places and getting past the bottleneck it did here.

ET IMO will be pond scum.
Could be a very long search for smart ET.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2, 2019
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Sometimes people ask a question that is baseless wishful thinking. This is one of those instances. It ignores the obvious.

In all of earths history, where is the HARD evidence that there is alien life out there?

It doesn't exist.

I enjoy reading Space.com. I've subscribed to it for a couple of years now. I get emails quite frequently that keep me informed on what is happening in the cosmos. I can't always read them right when I open the email, so I set them aside so I can go back later and catch-up on those articles that caught my eye.

This week is the week after Thanksgiving and EVERYTHING I see on Space.com is all about what I can buy on Cyber Monday. I'm glad I just didn't delete the older emails, but this article in particular seems to be in the same genre as all of the stories about Cyber Monday that are actually commercials for those of us that get caught up in wishful thinking and spend too much time and money trying to buy everything our hearts desire when our desires are void of realistic critical thought.

I fear that this article is void of realistic critical thought and is just wishful thinking of a heart desiring to meet ET so he can fix all of the problems in the world and save us from ourselves.
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Searching for intelligent life is a hot topic for many :). Today, we have 4139 confirmed exoplanets unlike 1961 when the Drake equation was presented. The host or parent stars range in distance from Earth from 4 to 35882 light-years with the mean or average near 2018 light-years distance. Is there a confirmed E.T. phoning home broadcast? I have not seen any. Unlike 1961, there are plenty of known exoplanets now confirmed but no E.T. phoning home. The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia
 
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