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Old 12-01-2010, 11:46 AM   #1
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Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

2 days ago NASA posted a very interesting media advisory for a press announcement clicky due for 2pm EST tomorrow. It will also be streamed live on the internet. The most interesting part:

Quote:
"an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life"
Here is an article with some mild speculation which interestingly details the roles of the participants.

OK so my thread title may be a big over dramatic (got you to look eh?) obviously they will not be announcing they have found little/big, green/blue/pink or polka dot creatures but (going on past records) more likely the possibility of life or maybe, just maybe the seeds of the most primitive life (bacteria possibly?) on Titan.

Whatever it is though the most interesting thing about this for me is that a one of my favourite Sci-Fi books Titan by Stephen Baxter explores the possibilities that life on Titan may actually exist albeit not as we know it. Won't say any more about the book to avoid spoilers if anyone decides to read it but some of his ideas have already been borne out by the Cassini probe.

Well lets wait and see might be an anti-climax but I'll sure be watching with great interest.

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Old 12-01-2010, 01:30 PM   #2
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

interesting story Minkey. Another interesting thing about NASA's desires is that some of their probes are already outside of our galaxy, or close. I think I read on their website that they will be able to receive radio signals from their satellites for another 20 or so years. If I remember right, by that time those distant probes will be closer to the next star than they will be to our own Sun. That's unreal!
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:29 PM   #3
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

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Originally Posted by the_net_2.0 View Post
interesting story Minkey. Another interesting thing about NASA's desires is that some of their probes are already outside of our galaxy, or close. I think I read on their website that they will be able to receive radio signals from their satellites for another 20 or so years. If I remember right, by that time those distant probes will be closer to the next star than they will be to our own Sun. That's unreal!
How long do you think it will take for those radio signals to reach us at that point? That's crazy!

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Old 12-01-2010, 02:36 PM   #4
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

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How long do you think it will take for those radio signals to reach us at that point? That's crazy!
probably longer than the earth will be around.

Do any of you follow the research that's going on with the center of the galaxy right now? There's a super massive black hole in the center. They've already confirmed almost 100%.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:03 PM   #5
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

I think it would be a far more important announcement that they found intellegent life on Earth.

(c'mon, you knew this one was coming).

Radio signals travel at the speed of light. I don't believe any probes have even reached one light year from Earth as of yet. The nearest star is how many light years from Earth?
The thought that a man-made object is anywhere near INTERGALLACTIC space is to laugh at. The Voyagers that were launched in the 1970s are only now venturing into inter-stellar space.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:37 AM   #6
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

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Radio signals travel at the speed of light. I don't believe any probes have even reached one light year from Earth as of yet.
No where near in fact just looked it up Voyager 1 is approx 17,400,000,000 km away from Earth - seems like a long way? not in light years, that's 0.0018 light years

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The nearest star is how many light years from Earth?
Alpha Centauri system - again I looked this up the nearest star (discounting the Sun of course) is Proxima Centauri which is 4.2 light years away, that's 39,735,067,984,839 km away give or take a few km
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:39 AM   #7
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

Does anyone really care? What will it achieve?

Wouldn't the billions be better spent elsewhere? Like New Orleans? Or is that still a no-go area for politicians.

D

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Old 12-02-2010, 02:48 AM   #8
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:14 AM   #9
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

More speculation:

Quote:
One of the four participants in NASA's press conference tomorrow is NASA astrobiology research fellow Felisa Wolfe-Simon, who has spent two years researching Yosemite Park's Mono Lake, which has one of the highest natural concentrations of arsenic of any site in the world
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:23 AM   #10
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

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Like New Orleans? Or is that still a no-go area for politicians.

D
Any area that is poor is off limits to them Dave. Assuming you're at least a little bit aged, you should know that by now. Lesson of life that's easy to learn.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:33 PM   #11
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

Very very interesting from what I understand (and I need to do more research) but the key point is that they have discovered a microbe that can 'substitute' one element for another. In this case arsenic for phosphorus, so what's the big deal about that, well it was believed that there are 4 major common elements required for the formation of life as we know it carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen though 2 further 'minor' elements are also required to being crucial in the formation of DNA and RNA – phosphorus (in particular) and sulphur.

This microbe does not require phosphorus as it can substitute arsenic with phosphorus in the formation of DNA – this is unique and goes against all other forms of life on Earth.

So what impact could this have?, what benefits can it potentially bring? Well 2 things spring to mind:

1. (lets get the ET one out the way first) – It means life can potentially exist in different environments not just those that have the previously agreed fundamental building blocks of life present. It essentially give us an much larger chance of finding life elsewhere in the universe as it's now not restricted to a 'New Earth'.

2. A microbe that can substitute on element for another !!! well this could open up huge possibilities, I'm only an interested amateur but imagine if we could understand how this works, imagine if we could we find other microbes or organisms that do the same thing with different elements erm that’s a form of alchemy!!

I'm glad I did not reply to Davep until this was broadcast, honestly the situation in New Orleans was/is (excuse my ignorance) pathetic and yes there should be more help given to them but this type of science is one that can fundamentally change preconceived ideas and open up new possibilities and ultimately benefit everyone (yes albeit in the long term).

You never know something like this could save the lives of the entire human race, ok that may be a bit far (certainly atm) but it would be ill conceived to dismiss this type of science as a waste. It could pave the way for cheap biofuels, renewable energy, elimination of certain pollutants etc. who knows!

If we never ventured out of the cave would we still be there now?
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:24 PM   #12
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

As a New Orleans native who endured Katrina and her aftermath, I have as much of an axe to grind as any other citizen. However, ...

Spending billions ANYWHERE is good as long as it is SPENT and not dropped into a low-interest venue that doesn't contribute to a bank's lending margin. Money spent is money in circulation. When we talk of space research, let me assure you, we don't send ONE DOLLAR out into space. We sent aluminum, plastic, copper, etc. that was turned into an electrical circuit board by someone who got paid a salary to assemble it. And the raw materials were mined by folks who drew a salary to do so. It was designed by engineers who were paid a salary... you get the idea. We don't shoot money into space. What we shoot into space was the result of spending money.

Now, if you want to talk about benefits to New Orleans, the thing that really hurt was when the NASA shuttle program reached the point where they no longer needed external fuel tanks. Because those were made in New Orleans, and that represented salaries and money in circulation in OUR area. Hell's Bells, if someone said they wanted to restart the shuttle and make a gazillion more fuel tanks that get shot off into space, I'd be all for it because of the jobs - and salaries - that would be generated.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:07 PM   #13
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

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Does anyone really care? What will it achieve?

Wouldn't the billions be better spent elsewhere? Like New Orleans? Or is that still a no-go area for politicians.

D
No actually not. NASA has one of the highest secondary pay offs of any government spending.

You're cell phone and yous GPS, to name but a sprinkling, can directly or indirectly trace their roots to space exploration.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:10 PM   #14
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

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Originally Posted by GalaxiomAtHome View Post
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
.
Actually do the math. It has been expanding faster than the speed of light.

I have a idea how.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:25 PM   #15
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Re: Has NASA found (potentially) extraterrestrial life?

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Actually do the math. It has been expanding faster than the speed of light.

I have a idea how.
I thought that was only possible in worm holes

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