Extraterrestrial Life

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This thing suddenly popped up in my mind. There must be other planets for some reason. I mean why would there be billions of planets, simply empty without any use? They must have some use, or must have some life but its not probably within our capacity to 'see' or find it. How can Earth be the ONLY planet in this HUGE universe the ONLY place to have life? Maybe the chemistry of other planet inhabitants are totally different from those on Earth therefore, using the data relevant to Earth might be misleading. Just think about it.
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I agree, and have had this feeling for most of my life.

It's a little crazy to think this is the only planet in the entire universe with life on it. When you consider the vastness of this galaxy alone, the statistical odds of there not being life somewhere else is absurdly low.

Though given how far away everything is, it's also unlikely we'll find and/or make contact with any life anytime soon.
We probably are missing something. Like polar bears are suited to live in very cold places at -20 degree C without dying, 'aliens' (just assume) on Neptune may be adapted to live in that environment. Same goes for Venus and other planets.
Yes but Neptune and Venus are both very far away.

We still haven't discovered all of the life in the deep oceans of Earth yet.
I don't think Venus is that much far. In fact, it is the closest planet to Earth ;).
By "close", you mean "~23 million miles away" (rounded down). And that's when they are closest to each other in orbit -- usually it is much farther away than that.

To put that in perspective, The deepest known point of the Marianas trench (deepest point known on Earth) is ~7 miles (rounded up)

So... unexplored areas on Venus = 23000000 miles away
Unexplored areas on Earth = 7 miles away



Yeah... Venus is closer than other planets. But it's still EXTREMELY far away.
But humans have successfully sent probes to the surface of Venus already. Traveling long distances is much easier then building something to survive the weight of a 7 mile vertical column of water.
There must be other planets for some reason. I mean why would there be billions of planets, simply empty without any use?


These are two very dangerous sentences. We see cause and effect, actions have that reasons, however absurd and we seek purpose and meaning in everything we see.
These are very human traits. The universe does not care what you think. Things in the universe exist with reason only if we place reason upon them. Do be very careful not to project human ideals, ideas and emotions onto too wide a world.

We probably are missing something. Like polar bears are suited to live in very cold places at -20 degree C without dying, 'aliens' (just assume) on Neptune may be adapted to live in that environment. Same goes for Venus and other planets.


The reason we look to worlds like the Earth is not because we see life on Earth and assume all life must be like that, but because the universal laws of physics and chemistry place restrictions on what kind of life can exist and where.

Traveling long distances is much easier then building something to survive the weight of a 7 mile vertical column of water.


Are you quite sure of that?

Edit: And I agree with Disch, there must be life out there and Venus is super far away.
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Yes and no.

Space travel isn't so simple. It is rocket science after all =P. It's not like you can just throw a rinky-dink probe to Venus (which is a particularly hostile and violent planet) and expect to get worthwhile results.


My point is this...

Life as we know it cannot exist on the nearby planets in our solar system. It is entirely possible there are other forms of life that exist outside "life as we know it", but that makes it even harder to search for when we don't really know what we're looking for.

Add onto that the fact that we cannot explore these heavenly bodies in person, but instead have to send clunky robotic drones ("clunky" might be unfair, as they're quite sophisticated... but you get what I mean hopefully).

It's an extreme challenge. It's worse than looking for a needle in a haystack --- it's like looking for a certain strand of hay in a stack filled with different kinds of hay.... and using robot arms to do it with.

Maybe we'll get lucky. But realistically, I kind of doubt it.
Disch wrote:
Add onto that the fact that we cannot explore these heavenly bodies in person, but instead have to send clunky robotic drones ("clunky" might be unfair, as they're quite sophisticated... but you get what I mean hopefully).

Instead of building the robots on earth and then sending them to other planets, we should send a self-contained robot-building robot that can monitor the environment, and then human engineers could send instructions to build the ideal robot using materials mined from the planet itself. That would take away a lot of guesswork. Plus, if that robot-building robot could build more robot-building robots and send them to other planets, we could explore the galaxy at an exponential rate (well, assuming a constant average distance for each child-robot to travel to the next planet).
Sounds like Skynet.
@ Mats: Yes, I am very confident about that statement. I've seen the Alvin submersible in person when it was docked in Cape Cod and that thing is built like a tank but not even it can operate at that kind of depth.

I know that getting into space is no trivial task I happen to be looking into getting my High Power Rocketry certification and I know that even with that I wouldn't be able to break the Kármán line. But that's mostly due to the US's NFA, and probably a few FAA restrictions that I really should know about for this cert, but it is not because a lack of technical skill on my part. We have the "Tyranny of the Rocket" problem butting heads with Neanderthals who can't bother themselves to write a law correctly or who have this asinine thought that attacking my hobby somehow protects children.

EDIT: Sorry about the rant toward the end there, but I need to vent just a little bit more so feel free to glance over this part. This is one of things I absolutely hate about the all of the anti-firearm people, they are so short sighted and terrified of their own shadow that they green light ineffective laws that have a negative impact on completely unrelated things. For those of you who didn't know the National Firearms Act impacts model rocketry by classifying anything with at or more then 4 ounces of propellant as a destructive device. Yes, I did write that correctly, this retarded law is based on the physical weight of the fuel and not it's specific impulse, volatility or any other metric that might be useful for describing what it is capable of. I've gone as far as considering applying for my class 6 FFL, but the BATF requires that DD's are stored at a non-residential property that is secured and open to random inspection and inventory. Between that and the licensing fees it's too much money for me to dump into what is essentially a hobby.
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Moons probably would be a better candidate for life.
By "close", you mean "~23 million miles away" (rounded down). And that's when they are closest to each other in orbit -- usually it is much farther away than that.

To put that in perspective, The deepest known point of the Marianas trench (deepest point known on Earth) is ~7 miles (rounded up)

So... unexplored areas on Venus = 23000000 miles away
Unexplored areas on Earth = 7 miles away



Yeah... Venus is closer than other planets. But it's still EXTREMELY far away.


Yeah but there are different reasons why it is difficult to probe the deep ocean and distance isn't one of them.

23000000 is actually not very far at all in terms of raw space because you can travel at extremely high speeds in space, and high travel speed isn't difficult or expensive for us to achieve. It's getting out of Earths atmosphere which is expensive, and designing and building the probes.

We have a probe out their right now which is about 10 billion miles away from earth which we are still in communication with.

And I don't think that probing for life is necessarily that difficult either. One of our first times on Mars, Viking missions ( late 70's) , we looked for microbial life, and we found something which they couldn't tell whether it was life or not.

The primary scientific objectives of the lander mission were to search for biosignatures and observe meteorologic, seismic and magnetic properties of Mars. The results of the biological experiments on board the Viking landers remain inconclusive, with a re-analysis of the Viking data published in 2012 suggesting signs of microbial life on Mars.[23][24]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploration_of_Mars#Viking_program

As far as I understand, since then we have not looked for life on Mars, even the recent exploration in 2012, they conducted no tests for biological life. I'm actually not sure if we have conducted tests for biological life off this planet since then at all. And the tests they did even during Viking was only a scratch on the surface.

I personally think that it is likely that there is microbial life on Mars; maybe even on most relatively stable planets in some niche in some form. Mars certainly is promising at least.

The question is whether or not they will make the information public when they do find life on other planets, if they have not already. I know that question was a serious concern when we began space exploration. I think they probably erred on the side of leaving it an optional to not disclose. But that's kind of hard to achieve. Who knows what the internal policies are now days about these things.

The fact that we have only conducted one set of inconclusive test almost 40 years ago, makes me think that in the recent past they have either been doing this in secret, or have decided to not look in order to prevent finding it and causing a shift in human perspective with unpredictable consequences. But it looks like there are missions to look for life on Mars again planned for 2018.
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A really bad problem is Venus' atmosphere... I'd say that we spend most of the money on strength, then when we can tag it along on the next satellite we shoot into orbit.

Since solar panels are out of the question due to the thick atmosphere we could possibly put some sort of small reactor inside the probe.
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@Computergeek01 : Do you not think a great deal more time, money and effort has gone into getting things into space than to the sea floor?
Since solar panels are out of the question due to the thick atmosphere we could possibly put some sort of small reactor inside the probe.

We have been doing this for over 50 years. And powering stuff has never really been much of an issue.
Well if you'd like to keep the probe there for an extended period of time you should want to have a reliable source of power. We still don't know much about Venus, and due to it's hostile nature a certain activity could block out the sun, or send debris flying, effectively hitting the panels and breaking them.
@ Mats: Yes, but that kind of proves my point doesn't it? We know what we need to send someone into space and so we know what it costs and are able to budget and produce equipment accordingly. The restrictions to getting into space are economical, not technological. We also know where we want to go and what we want to accomplish since we have been watching planetary bodies since the beginning of time. We've never even been able to glimpse the bottom of the ocean until recently so we're still getting an idea of what we want to accomplish when we get down there. You need to define an objective before you plan a mission, you need to plan the mission before you start designing equipment for it and you need those designs before you know how much money you need to spend on it.
@ Lumpkin: We actually do know a lot about the surface of Venus and what to expect if we were to send ANOTHER probe down there. Spoiler Alert: the USSR won the space race http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venera
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