30 Billion Trillion Stars

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by KennyJC, May 29, 2005.

  1. UnderWhelmed Registered Senior Member

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    we can't can't reach any stars that are moving away from us....same goes for ET assuming c is the upper limit...

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  3. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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  5. fo3 acdcrocks Registered Senior Member

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    But why should the colonization ship travel at only .001c? If the speeds are not too close to the speed of light, then the power needed to keep a constant acceleration doesn't depend on the speed. Not considering the relativistic effects, it takes a spaceship about a year to reach lightspeed at a 9,8m/s<sup>2</sup> acceleration. Looking at the size of the milky way, thats not much.
    And the biolab raises the question, why should the colonists do what we want? Maybe they don't want to send us no information at all?
     
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  7. Okeydoke Registered Senior Member

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    I imagine that over the past 14 billion years or so, life in the universe 'may' have come and gone. But it's also possible that life or so-called 'intelligent' life may not necessarily be as common in the universe as we would like to think. In fact, it may be 'almost' non-existant, with ourselves being a possible exception in our galaxy. Why would that be? Just like in 'some' non-polluted small farm pond where conditions for life is condusive for the development of small microscopic life swimming around in great abundance, the universe or most galaxies may not be as condusive for the development of life on planets, let alone so-called intelligent life as we know it. If it were, then I think we should be hearing or seeing something by now. So far, after looking and listening very hard for the past 50 years or so, nothing! Of course we 'should' continue to search for ET, but it's also possible we may never hear anything and even if we did, it could have been sent from someone or something (to borrow a famous phrase) who lived a long long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Sending back a reply to ET could be meaningless. If we ever do recieve a message from ET, let's hope it isn't a warning.

    Okeydoke

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  8. RoscoHowOriginal Awesome Registered Senior Member

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    Isn't it possible that intelligence is an evolutionary fluke? As an animal we are not very fit. Our big heads make us vulnerable to extreme temperatures, and make it hard for humans to give birth. Our only defense mechanism is our culture, and we were lucky to be around long enough to develop that. Evolution tends toward creatures that can survive, maybe the price of intelligence is too high. Of course, we beat the odds, so it's possible that other species did too, but maybe not nearly as many as we might hope. What does everybody else think?
     
  9. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    Rosco, interesting theory. If it were true then we probably really are alone in the universe but I doubt it. Humans can kill each other quite well without involving other alien races in our petty squabbles of greed and corruption. "We come in peace, shoot to kill" is not just a Star Trek joke unfortunately.
     
  10. c20H25N3o Shiny Heart of a Shiny Child Registered Senior Member

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    Hey its a big effort getting to the moon and back in one piece

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    Coincidentally there are 30 billion trillion molecules in 1 ml of water

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    (give or take a couple hundred)
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2005
  11. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    That any planets with life have nothing much more advanced than a large bacteria. That a handful have got some para-arthropods. That one or two made it to the equivalent of vertebrates. And then there is the Earth.
     
  12. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    In that case you have it reversed

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  13. KennyJC Registered Senior Member

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    Isn't it all a bit of a fluke anyway? I thought thats what evolution was. If we could do it all over again and let life evolve all over again under the same conditions, would we end up with the same creatures on Earth?
     
  14. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    In addition to an early post to this thread, I posted some remarks based on a Scientific American article to a similar thread.

    The SciAm article described a GHZ (Gactic Habitable Zone), similar to the habitable zone in a solar system. Too close to galactic center, there are too many fast moving stars, nova events, and lots of radiation. Too far from galactic center, there are not enough heavy elements like carbon, oxygen, iron, et cetera in interstellar dust clouds from which solar systems form.

    The SciAm article also mentioned that it has only been in the last 5 or 6 billion years that the GHZ had sufficient heavy elements for a solar system capable of supporting life. In the early universe, the heavier elements only existed nearer to galactic center. From the start of the gravitational collapse of the dust cloud which formed our galaxy to the appearance of intelligence life was a period of over 5 billion years.

    The above two paragraphs are based on some very sound evidence and analysis.

    The article also mentioned that our solar system is at a special distance from galactic center. Our solar system rotates about galactic center at the same rate as the overall rate of galactic rotation. This results in our solar system having seldom (perhaps never) crossed the spiral arms where stellar density and activity is much higher than in the less dense region of our solar system.

    If being at this special distance is critical to the development of life forms, then the GHZ is very narrow. It is possible, but unlikely that our being at this special distance is a coincidence.

    Consider also that dinosaurs existed and thrived for about 150 million years and never showed any signs of evolving intelligence. It is believed (with good evidence) that their extinction was due to a cosmic accident. This indicates that intelligence is not an evolutionary inevitability.

    All of the above strongly indicates that intelligent life is rare in the universe. It also strongly suggests that we might be the first and/or the only intelligent species in our galaxy.

    It is quite possible that intelligent life is an evolutionary fluke. There is more evidence pointing in that direction than there is evidence suggesting that it is a common occurrence.

    Note that the history of the Earth strongly suggests that life itself is very likely to exist elsewhere in this and other galaxies. It is intelligent life that is likely to be rare or non existent.

    My personal belief is that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe but is very rare, with the probability of it existing elsewhere in our galaxy having a very low (not zero) probability.

    The GHZ will expand toward the edge of our galaxy in the future, due to future enrichment of the interstellar dust clouds with heavy elements. As the GHZ expands outward, the special distance will become less significant because the spiral arms farther from galactic center are not as densely packed with stars. If our position at that special distance is not significant, then there is an even higher probability of intelligent life occurring in the future.
     
  15. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    The GHZ is one reason, amongst many, that I consider the 30 billion trillion stars argument for intelligent life to be a strawman. You can keep piling up the the things that are necessary for intelligent life to arise and the odds in favour of it plummet.
     
  16. Lucas Registered Senior Member

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    I reckon that "An atlas of the Universe" is the webpage that appears when you click this link
    http://anzwers.org/free/universe/


    So, yes, is a incredibly elevated cipher. 3*10^22. But I think that perhaps is short after all, because according to wikipedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star

    there're at least 7*10^22 stars in the visible Universe (wiki calls it the known Universe, but is just the same thing as visible Universe)
     
  17. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    life could be alot of things, it could range from creatures of completely different and unrecognizable chemistries to beings within the fabric of space and time itself. to define what would be a "likely" place to find life just seems a little futile.

    but if there is intelligent life, odds are it's developed either well behind or well ahead of us. It could be a superior species that already knows about us, and studies us, and investigates us with near perfect stealth and objectivity, only being detected (in the occasional mishap) by a few individuals who then have the most amazing stories to tell a disbelieving public. could compare it too diving down in a submersible to look at deep-sea fish: the scientists are the aliens, the fish are the humans. the fish don't recognize what they're looking at, and for the most part don't care. meanwhile the scientists in the submersible stare into this world of the deep and ponder, examine, abduct and experiment, etc etc. Indeed, how do we know there are no inteligent beings within our reach? how could we possibly know for sure? they could be the sophisticated we cannot see, and we the mere fish!
     
  18. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    Good post weed, and if any of you have seen that superb film The Abyss, then they can equate to the above post.
     
  19. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    The following is SciFi speculation.
    There is no reason to suppose that life else where is fundmentally different from what has evolved here. It is merely interesting which makes for some very good SciFi.

    Some simple examples.
    • I would not expect a creature like the mythical centaur to evolve any where in the universe. While I would obviously change my opinion if one showed up in a star ship, I just do not expect it to happen. For large creatures, the energy and brain circuitry requirements of an extra pair of limbs do not seem to be sufficiently balanced by advantages. While evolution has resulted in some designs with obvious faults, it has strongly tended toward efficiency.

    • I would expect an intelligent creature to have a hand-like appendage. It could be more like a bird's claws than a human hand, but the basic design would have to be similar, including an opposed thumb type of mechanism. Forget about intelligent fish or snakes.

      The evolution of intelligence has to start with an appendage capable of using tools. This is the triggering mechanism for the development of a brain capable of designing tools and thinking about the futrue.

    BTW: As posted elsewhere, I do not dismiss the possiblity of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but I do believe that it is extremely rare. I think it is likely (not certain) that we are the first and/or the only intelligent species in our galaxy. While life seems likely to be a common occurence, intelligent life seems much less likely.
     
  20. superluminal . Registered Senior Member

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    10,717
    Dinosaur,

    I tend to fall into the same camp as you. I would not be suprised to find that we are the only instance of intelligence currently in the galaxy. Life, I imagine, is plentiful. But intelligence of our level seems to be a very unusual adaptation. After all, 3.5 billion years of life on this planet and our kind of intelligence only appears in the most recent few million years. Hmmm...
     
  21. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    you basically state that one cannot prove that life could evolve fundamentally different. true, we can't yet. we can't exactly experiment with life chemistries and methods that we know nothing about. in fact, we still don't completely understand our own chemistry! we don't know how to cure cancer, or alter our genetics, etc. etc. But we can still realize at least one form of completely different life form...

    If nanotechnology were to mature, we could theoredically make small, group-dependent and self-replicating nano-machines that would behave not unlike the cells of a biological animal or plant. a swarm or wad of these "cells" could act as a single, multi-celled organism, with certain nanites acting in certain ways, specializing, much like the cells of organic tissue. the nanites would operate entierly differently in principle from organic cells. they could consume energy differently (instead of sugars, they could burn other combustables, or even engage in fusion). they would think under different operating principles than neurons would in regard to thought. who knows whate else. and the wierdest part: a nanite organism could exist in a number of different forms... liquid, solid, disolved in liquid, disolved in air, disolved in solids, whatever. how would we recognize a planet of water, or even a gas giant, that was actually teaming with non-organic life? maybe even intelligent forms?

    but as of now, I don't think we can figure that out. we don't know exobiology and we don't have the ability to see other life yet. we don't even know if when we see them, we'd recognize them as "lifeforms". all we can do is stay lonely, and assume that the entire galaxy is just as barren as we can detect it being.

    never saw The Abyss though, the thought jsut sorta came to me

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  22. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    Ouch! Don't tell the dolphins anyone!! Or those whales we still have left.
     

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