Search for EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL LIFE:

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by paddoboy, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    https://www.universetoday.com/137736/using-atmospheric-beacons-search-signs-extra-terrestrial-life/

    USING ATMOSPHERIC BEACONS TO SEARCH FOR SIGNS OF EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL LIFE:

    Despite the thousands of exoplanets that have been discovered by astronomers in recent years, determining whether or not any of them are habitable is a major challenge. Since we cannot study these planets directly, scientists are forced to look for indirect indications. These are known as biosignatures, which consist of the chemical byproducts we associate with organic life showing up in a planet’s atmosphere.

    A new study by a team of NASA scientists proposes a new method to search for potential signs of life beyond our Solar System. The key, they recommend, is to takes advantage of frequent stellar storms from cool, young dwarf stars. These storms hurl huge clouds of stellar material and radiation into space, interacting with exoplanet atmospheres and producing biosignatures that could be detected.

    The study, titled “Atmospheric Beacons of Life from Exoplanets Around G and K Stars“, recently appeared in Nature Scientific Reports. Led by Vladimir S. Airapetian, a senior astrophysicist with the Heliophysics Science Division (HSD) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the team included members from NASA’s Langley Research Center, the Science Systems and Applications Incorporated (SSAI), and the American University.

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    “We’re in search of molecules formed from fundamental prerequisites to life — specifically molecular nitrogen, which is 78 percent of our atmosphere. These are basic molecules that are biologically friendly and have strong infrared emitting power, increasing our chance of detecting them.”

    much more at
    https://www.universetoday.com/137736/using-atmospheric-beacons-search-signs-extra-terrestrial-life/
     
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  3. Xmo1 Registered Senior Member

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    It's a money sink hole. Even if we detected an advanced colony it would take 8 years minimum to get an answer to the meaning of life. If you can't find anything better to throw your money at you haven't looked hard enough. I'm pretty sure there are medical facilities around the world that could use it to buy medicine.
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    He's talking about life, not intelligent life. This is a worthy goal in science, not a waste of time and money like SETI.
     
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Is it? Or perhaps even more appropriate we could divert the trillions of dollars spent world wide on military endeavours, to improving the lot for third world nations, and even your medical facilities. Now wouldn't that be a lot wiser then diverting any money from scientific endeavours, which help advance mankind in many respects? And of course probably the greatest question asked by humanity is "are we alone"? You don't believe that should be answered? You don't believe that perhaps some advanced civilisation may give us pointers to a better way of life? and/or overcoming the many human follies and frailities we indulge in?
     
  8. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    Tell that to the folks who spend millions on their NASCAR toys.
     
  9. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I avoid the use of term intelligent life, preferring the term technological culture, which results in less squabbling about the definition.

    While I consider it extremely likely that life exists in many places in the universe, I expect technological cultures to be much rarer.

    Note the life came into existence on Earth not long after conditions suitable for it occurred, strongly suggesting that it will appear elsewhere.

    However : Also note the following.

    The Neandertals & Denisovans seemed to have the potential for evolving a technological culture, but became extinct while still in the Stone Age.

    Dinosaurs existed for billions of years & the last of them were not much (if any) closer to developing a technological culture than the first of them.

    The primate body design seems the best suited for the development of a technological culture, but only one branch of it actually did so.​

    The above suggests that technological cultures are rare.

    I would expect many galaxies to have no technological cultures & few (if any) to have more than one.
    Considering the large number of galaxies, I do not expect us to be the only one in the universe, but we might be the only one in our galaxy.

    BTW: Galaxies, as well as solar systems, have a habitable zone.

    To far from the center, there are not enough of the elements necessary for life forms.

    Too close to the center, there is too much radiation & it is much less likely for a star to have conditions conditions suitable for the existence of planets with orbits stable long enough for life to evolve.​
     
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Of course Technologically advanced cultures would be rarer then less advanced life: But in reality whether it arises once in a galaxy or a hundred times, depends on many variables, and once per galaxy or a hundred or even a thousand times per galaxy, is at this stage simply guess work and dependent on position. Note also that position will change over time.
     
  11. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    Dinosaurs did not last "billions of years".
     
  12. Boris2 Valued Senior Member

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    I've always thought it a tad optimistic to even consider talking about whether there is life in other galaxies. We are unlikely ever to find out. Much more useful to just consider our own galaxy and forget about the rest of the Universe.
     
  13. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    Well, our chances will get better when Milkdromeda happens, right? Two galaxies merging, double the chances of another intelligent life form out there. So all we have to do is wait a bit.
     
  14. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Just a note for chemically literate readers.........

    I did not initially understand this comment about searching for molecular nitrogen by infra red. N2, notoriously, has no IR spectrum, due to its lack of any transition dipole when the molecule stretches (the only IR mode it has).

    However on reading the full article, what this person apparently means is that they look, not for nitrogen itself, but for the reaction products of molecular nitrogen that has been dissociated into atoms by particles from these stellar storms, and which have then reacted with other species, forming a cascade of radicals, such as NO, OH etc, which do absorb and emit in the IR.

    However all this method does is detect atmospheres containing mixtures including nitrogen and water, or possibly even oxygen. Of these, only free oxygen would really suggest a likelihood of life. It is a long, long way from detecting extraterrestrial life. It is about detecting planets with atmospheres that suggest they could be habitable for some sort of life.
     
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    It is a process for narrowing down potential life supporting habitats, that's all...type of star, planet in goldilocks zone where liquid water can exist, detection of atmosphere, detection of type of atmosphere etc.
     
  17. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    Yep, narrowing down the list of planets that need further inspection.
     
  18. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Not to mention that "intelligent" life may not ever produce technology. Example: Dolphins may be incredibly intelligent, but due to the lack of an opposable thumb, I suspect they will never develop "technology".
     
  19. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Yep, that's a good point.
     
  20. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    From Gawdzilla Sama Post 8
    Mea culpa: You are correct,

    I was way off: They only lasted circa 165 million years.​

    I think my point is still valid: They are an example supporting the notion that The evolution of a technological culture is not inevitable.

    In their 165 million years of existence the last of them were no closer to developing technology than the first ones.​
     
  21. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    From Gmiliam Post 16
    Opinions like the above & quibbles over the definition of intelligence are the reasons I prefer discussing the evolution of technological cultures rather than intelligent creatures.

    BTW: How does a person determine how intelligent a dolphin or an octopus is?
     
  22. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    By observation.
     
  23. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah, only humans have developed the capacity to do damage far exceeding their numbers.
     

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