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Life on planet Gliese?

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Disgustipated, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Bluemofia

    Bluemofia F=ma

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    Not necessarily. Evolution isn't anywhere near stagnant if you are on the borders of survival. Those that evolve fastest are those systems in high strain environments, because selection is strongest there. This is a very well supported concept, as pampered organisms do not evolve very quickly. Evolution isn't like energy points left over to be spent into evolving.

    After oxygen came about, it pretty much nuked everything, causing microbes to either adapt to ignore it, use it, or die. It was a huge selection pressure to survive oxygen initially, not because it suddenly was a gift to allow complex metabolism. That came later after the survivors were competing for the edge amongst themselves.

    I wouldn't say domestication of animals for food, but rather a high enough degree of specialization in farming crops allowing the populace to specialize into non-food gathering jobs. (Aztecs did not have significant domestication of animals as far as I know, and yet they had a fairly vibrant civilization before the Spanish came)

    Likewise, those that have domestic food animals don't always develop great civilizations, such as Egypt, whose rise to greatness started with abandoning large scale animal domestication with the desertification of Africa, and adopted a grain based agriculture.
     
  2. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    elephant cells are more efficient energy wise than mouse cells, therefore the other life could be more efficient
     
  3. Millman

    Millman Mark the Magnificent

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    This is all great feedback. You can only talk about politics specifically for so long. And lets discontinue the name-calling. It's not so important to win an argument about astronomy on one forum.

    If you have an idea, a philosophy, a math equation that gets us to the planet faster go ahead and post it. You'll bedazzle the scientific community if it works.

    Since we're all speculating about life I would simply argue the right set of circumstances must be met whatever they might be.

    There could be a simpler gas-like lifeform on a planet somewhere that didn't take as long to evolve. You kinda have to 'imagine' a feasible situation.

    Mars, Venus, and parts of Earth and many other places prove infeasability. As far as we know we could have a solar system where all nine planets but the third have life. The third could be a gas we haven't identified that supplies the other eight with the sun's heat working with it.

    Unless you want to believe all gas is hydrogen based. It's a combination of many complex factors already mentioned like orbits, moons, chemicals, etc.,.

    Edit-specific. We don't have enough data to guess how life could form in other places in the universe unless someone is holding back on us.

    We don't even know everything about our own planet and solar system.
     
  4. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    We don't even know exactly how life formed on this planet. All attempts to try and reproduce life from nothing and other forms of abiogenesis have failed. The only prove life exists on earth because we see it around us. We have been looking everywhere and we have not found any forms of life, so the first thing that has to proven is how life began to exist here on this planet.
     
  5. Bluemofia

    Bluemofia F=ma

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    Absence of proof is not proof of absence. Just because we are unable to reproduce it with a test tube smaller than a planet with time scales less than billions of years doesn't mean it is impossible to do so.

    And no, we have not been "looking everywhere" for life. The only places not on Earth we looked for life seriously is the Moon and Mars, in a few restricted places.

    The Mars one was hardly a full planet survey, in addition to the Viking tests being shown to be inaccurate due to a presence of a particular compound in the soil invalidating the initial test results. (I don't recall the compound off the top of my head, but it might be Perchlorates of some sort.)

    However, we have been looking everywhere on Earth for life, and we have found it everywhere. Buried inside rocks half a mile inside the continental crust, in massively acidic lakes more acidic than battery acid, nuclear reactors, in stasis inside salt crystals that have been dated to have formed in the Triassic period (and successfully revived), deep within the Antarctic ice, hydrothermal vents of temperatures greater than 100 degrees C, the list goes on. This is why life is believed to be rather probable in the universe. A "just right" situation is unnecessary for life.
     
  6. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Moderator

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    That's not quite accurate. There are many ideas concerning how life might arise somewhere else.

    Lots of misunderstanding in there...
    As Bluemofia mentioned, just because we don't yet know the exact chemical events that lead to life on earth doesn't mean that we have no ideas about how it could have happened. In fact, I just spent a good part of last week lurking a conference sponsored by the NASA's astrobiology institute. There were at least a half dozen talks specifically dealing with the early chemistry that could give rise to the sort of life we see around us.

    And you're also wrong to say that the only proof that life exists is what we see around us. This is limited to proving that the type of life we're looking for exists around us. Life that isn't based on DNA isn't going to show up unless they're looking for chemical emissions... and if you're not testing for the right emissions, you're going to miss the signal. This is what happened with Viking - they threw out the results because they weren't expecting them.

    And don't forget - they recently re-analyzed the vials from the original Miller-Urey experiment and found tons more variety than the initial analysis.

    My personal opinion is that life is just about inevitable if there are certain conditions such as a rich chemistry, energy gradient, etc. And I also expect that we'll find proof of non-terrestrial life within my lifetime. What I worry about most, actually, is that we'll find DNA-based life on Mars. That would be disappointing because it would seem likely to not be an independent instance of abiogenesis, but cross-contamination from impact debris exchange.

    If you're interested in the talk I watched, I recommend it highly. And there's really no point in trying to argue against Abiogenesis without familiarizing yourself with the current state of research. Spending a few hours on the conference is a good way to come up to speed.

    They recorded the event, but haven't apparently posted it yet. In any event, here's the link to the main page:
    http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/ool-www/
     
  7. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    Quoting myself here, because recently the first trapping of antihydrogen has been demonstrated:

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101117/full/468355a.html
    Spoiler :

    For physicists, a bit of antimatter is a precious gift indeed. By comparing matter to its counterpart, they can test fundamental symmetries that lie at the heart of the standard model of particle physics, and look for hints of new physics beyond. Yet few gifts are as tricky to wrap. Bring a particle of antimatter into contact with its matter counterpart and the two annihilate in a flash of energy.

    Now a research collaboration at CERN, Europe's particle-physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland, has managed, 38 times, to confine single antihydrogen atoms in a magnetic trap for more than 170 milliseconds. The group reported the result in Nature online on 17 November. "We're ecstatic. This is five years of hard work," says Jeffrey Hangst, spokesman for the ALPHA collaboration at CERN.

    An antihydrogen atom is made from a negatively charged antiproton and a positively charged positron, the antimatter counterpart of the electron. The objective — both for ALPHA and for a competing CERN experiment called ATRAP — is to compare the energy levels in antihydrogen with those of hydrogen, to confirm that antimatter particles experience the same electromagnetic forces as matter particles, a key premise of the standard model. "The goal is to study antihydrogen and you can't do it without trapping it," says Cliff Surko, an antimatter researcher at the University of California, San Diego. "This is really a big deal."

    The ALPHA claim is the first major advance since the creation of thousands of antihydrogen atoms in 2002 by a forerunner experiment called ATHENA and by ATRAP (see 'A brief history of antimatter'). Both experiments combined decelerated antiprotons with positrons at CERN to produce antihydrogen atoms. But, within several milliseconds, the atoms annihilated with the ordinary matter in the walls of their containers.

    To prevent that from happening, the ALPHA team formed antihydrogen atoms in a magnetic trap. Although not electrically charged like antiprotons and positrons, antihydrogen — like hydrogen — has a more subtle magnetic character that arises from the spins of its constituent particles. The ALPHA researchers used an octupole magnet, produced by the current flowing in eight wires, to create a magnetic field that was strongest near the walls of the trap, falling to a minimum at the centre, causing the atoms to collect there. To trap just 38 atoms, the group had to run the experiment 335 times. "This was ten thousand times more difficult" than creating untrapped antihydrogen atoms, says Hangst — ATHENA made an estimated 50,000 of them in one go in 2002. To do spectroscopic measurements, Surko estimates that up to 100 antihydrogen atoms may need to be trapped at once.

    ATRAP still hopes to reach that goal first. In a paper due out in Physical Review Letters, the collaboration reports that it has efficiently separated antiprotons from the cold electrons that are used to cool them down, a step towards creating slower-moving antihydrogen atoms that might stay trapped for longer. "Rather than trying to demonstrate that we can confine 38 antihydrogen atoms for a small fraction of a second, we are working on new methods to produce and trap much larger numbers of colder atoms," says Gerald Gabrielse, ATRAP's spokesman. "We shall see which approach is more fruitful."

    Two other collaborations aim to study antihydrogen. In 2003, the international ASACUSA experiment at CERN proposed a scheme to create a beam of antihydrogen atoms. Yasunori Yamazaki, an atomic physicist at the Advanced Science Institute in Saitama, part of Japan's RIKEN network of research labs, now says the group has produced such a beam and may be able to use it to study the energy levels in antihydrogen without needing to trap the atoms. Another CERN experiment called AEgIS is starting to compare the effect of gravity on antihydrogen with that on ordinary hydrogen. Antimatter is almost certain to fall at the same rate as normal matter, but if it doesn't the results could help scientists to distinguish between alternative approaches to unifying quantum theory with general relativity.


    original paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature09610

    They use a magnetic trap and can store the antimatter for 0.2 s. This isn't much, yet, but once you have antimatter trapped you "just" have to improve the trapping.

    Of course, there is still the problem of how to produce large quantities of antimatter.
     
  8. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    I would say trapping is actually just as big a problem. It is impossible to create a magnetic field which has a stable point (div(B) = 0 always). You can get around that by keeping stuff very very cold and using a mixture of both electric and magnetic fields but it really isn't all that great. Note also that for storing neutral matter you need vastly bigger fields for it to have any effect at all and these become much harder to control.

    That said, 0.2s is a respectably long time frame.
     
  9. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    No. (static) Electric fields are pointless for neutral atoms as they have no charge. And for magnetic traps you only need a local minimum of the magnetic field and low-field seeking atoms. And there is nothing new to that. BECs are regularly trapped in magnetic traps since over ten years.

    The problem is the low trap depth for neutral atoms (a few millikelvins at most) so the atoms must indeed be very cold. But once the atoms are cold (which they achieved in this experiment) you only have to keep them cold, which is usually much easier. Neutral atoms cannot be trapped as long as ions, but trapping times of minutes are possible right now. So I think they will be able to improve the storage time for antihydrogen pretty quickly.
     
  10. Harvin87

    Harvin87 The Youth

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    Even if there was life in this planet... what are we going to do about it? , travel 20 light-years ? yea, sure.

    It's virtually impossible to study life in another distant planet.
     
  11. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

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    just bumping my thread for the hell of it. :) I think you all know why. So we have two Gliese threads on the first page. One says 581g, and the other is 581d? Is that correct? Are we talking about the same planet, or different planets in the system?
     
  12. Bluemofia

    Bluemofia F=ma

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    Different planets in the same system.

    Yes, that system is a hot topic for astronomers.
     
  13. Abaddon

    Abaddon Deity

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    So the name of planet isn't Gliese.. its 581g or something?
     
  14. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Moderator

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    Gliese is the star. The planets are the ones designated with letters. Earth could be renamed Solg, for occupying the third orbit. But I think these extrasolar planets are designated in chronological order - in which case Earth would be Sola
     
  15. Abaddon

    Abaddon Deity

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    Ok. So who gets to actually give these planets a real name?
     
  16. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

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    when someone lands on them? :) The problem with these planets is no one has actually seen them with their own eyes.
     
  17. Leifmk

    Leifmk Deity

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    Or rather, Gliese 581 is the star; so called because it is indexed as number 581 in a catalogue of nearby stars published by an astronomer named Wilhelm Gliese back in the 1950s.

    The vast majority of stars that have been studied don't really have individual proper names outside of a catalogue number, that is mostly reserved for ones that are particularly bright and notable to the naked eye (and these have mostly had their names since antiquity).
     
  18. Abaddon

    Abaddon Deity

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    What??? They are both mammalian cells.. virtually identical..
     
  19. Millman

    Millman Mark the Magnificent

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    Lets be glad to embrace difference. All the stars in the universe could have been the same. They all could have been medium, blue stars. Yet, the stars we observe have various colors, shapes, and sizes.

    Life could form in an identical-starry universe when you take gravity and distance into account.

    There could be an undetectable circumstance about the location of our sun in the milky way. Take oort who began to think outside the box. What scientific elements make us special/right?

    The question to consider is not only life on gliese but anywhere. Do we hope there's another civilization out there to meet that's been as luck as us? You might have read the physicists objections too.
     

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