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(Ars Technica)   Habitable exoplanets in my galaxy? It's worse for humanity than you think   (arstechnica.com) divider line 188
    More: Interesting, planetary habitability, geocentric orbit, Cygnus, tidal locking, fellow travelers, rare earths, Fermi, galaxies  
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6113 clicks; posted to Geek » on 23 Apr 2014 at 8:37 PM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-23 08:35:39 PM  
LOL
This is so funny.

The problem with the Fermi Paradox is that the number used for the life of a space traveling species is assumed to be insanely long.
"It would only take a million years to travel the galaxy at .1c"

why the hell would you assume that a species could maintain anything for that long??

Toss in the likelihood of two intelligent species existing at the same time in the same galaxy?
Close enough that they could travel or communicate with each other?
LOL - crazy tiny odds
 
2014-04-23 08:37:27 PM  
 
2014-04-23 08:41:09 PM  
The fact that other habitable planets may exist indicates that we are alone?

WTF am I reading?
 
2014-04-23 08:42:09 PM  

sendtodave: The fact that other habitable planets may exist indicates that we are alone?

WTF am I reading?


Wishful thinking.
 
2014-04-23 08:42:43 PM  
What a Great Filter may look like:
img3.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2014-04-23 08:43:06 PM  
So basically nobody knows nothin' about nothin'.
 
2014-04-23 08:44:27 PM  

namatad: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120821-how-many-alien-worlds-exist

super awesome drake equation calculator


Be sure to update it.

You'll also find a wealth of scientific discoveries discussed there mainstream astrobiology pretends never happened. Instead still relying solely on the simple minded 'goldilocks zone' from the 50's. I wonder why exactly that is.
 
2014-04-23 08:45:02 PM  

namatad: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120821-how-many-alien-worlds-exist

super awesome drake equation calculator


The Drake equation is full of shiat.

Given a bunch of unknowable variables, we get a number that would still be meaningless because it's a probability for a boolean issue.
 
2014-04-23 08:46:57 PM  
 
2014-04-23 08:49:58 PM  
Maybe we're first.  Someone had to be.
 
2014-04-23 08:52:35 PM  

J. Frank Parnell: namatad: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120821-how-many-alien-worlds-exist

super awesome drake equation calculator

Be sure to update it.

You'll also find a wealth of scientific discoveries discussed there mainstream astrobiology pretends never happened. Instead still relying solely on the simple minded 'goldilocks zone' from the 50's. I wonder why exactly that is.


Believe me, I use crazy high numbers, the problem is getting two intelligent species to exist close together at overlapping time periods.
You could easily have a million alien species, which last for only 1000 years each and they never overlap in time. And even if they did, they could be far enough apart that they would never overlap.

I expect that life exists pretty much everywhere it is possible.  But between species extinction and vast distances, well, they are out there, but just too far away.

/space is big, m'kay.
 
2014-04-23 08:52:40 PM  
What?

Or maybe because radio waves get insanely weak really fast. or maybe because by the time our radio waves reach them, they've moved past radio, or by the time their radio waves reach us, we've moved past Radio. Or hadn't reached it yet. Or ANY NUMBER of other possibilities
 
2014-04-23 08:52:47 PM  

kyleaugustus: Maybe we're first.  Someone had to be.


How awesome would that be.  Both the creationists and the evolutionists would be right.
 
2014-04-23 08:55:22 PM  

kyleaugustus: Maybe we're first.  Someone had to be.


0, 1, infinity

the chance of use being first is ~0, esp given that our sun and planet are pretty young 4by versus 12+ by for the milkyway
 
2014-04-23 08:55:32 PM  

doglover: The Drake equation is full of shiat.


imgs.xkcd.com 

Given a bunch of unknowable variables, we get a number that would still be meaningless because it's a probability for a boolean issue.

Probabilities for "boolean" outcomes are perfectly fine in Bayesian probability theory.  And even in frequentist theory, it's fine insofar as it represents a fraction of planets in an ensemble.
 
2014-04-23 09:08:15 PM  
Only human arrogance would assume we are an intelligent species.
 
2014-04-23 09:09:53 PM  

Sergeant Grumbles: What a Great Filter may look like:


I actually grimaced in rage at that.

/I may have played too much Mass Effect.
//I may also have seriously considered getting an N7 tattoo.
 
2014-04-23 09:11:14 PM  

namatad: Believe me, I use crazy high numbers, the problem is getting two intelligent species to exist close together at overlapping time periods.
You could easily have a million alien species, which last for only 1000 years each and they never overlap in time. And even if they did, they could be far enough apart that they would never overlap.


FTL travel could be discovered some day, the same way heavier than air flight was after so many experts thought it was physically impossible. The idea we could float metal objects weighting many tons through the air was almost universally called preposterous until we did it. We can't assume we're at the pinnacle of understanding. And after you expand your race to more celestial bodies it becomes increasingly hard to wipe you out. Could even be looking at a situation where every race that has ever mastered space travel has just been growing in numbers and occupying more and more celestial bodies. Might explain why some UFO people believe we as a race are being kept here until we grow up.
 
2014-04-23 09:18:11 PM  

J. Frank Parnell: namatad: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120821-how-many-alien-worlds-exist

super awesome drake equation calculator

Be sure to update it.

You'll also find a wealth of scientific discoveries discussed there mainstream astrobiology pretends never happened. Instead still relying solely on the simple minded 'goldilocks zone' from the 50's. I wonder why exactly that is.


Because you are either wrong or lying?
 
2014-04-23 09:21:12 PM  

kyleaugustus: Maybe we're first.  Someone had to be.


If the universe were closer to 5 billion years old, maybe.
 
2014-04-23 09:32:25 PM  
Then who's doing all those anal probes?
 
2014-04-23 09:32:53 PM  

BSABSVR: Because you are either wrong or lying?


I'm not the one putting out regular articles pretending the only chance for life exists on planets identical to ours in every way, which must also be the exact same distance from a sun. That is objectively false.
 
2014-04-23 09:38:28 PM  

SpdrJay: Then who's doing all those anal probes?


Your mom
 
2014-04-23 09:44:53 PM  

Ambitwistor: doglover: The Drake equation is full of shiat.

[imgs.xkcd.com image 437x391]
Given a bunch of unknowable variables, we get a number that would still be meaningless because it's a probability for a boolean issue.

Probabilities for "boolean" outcomes are perfectly fine in Bayesian probability theory.  And even in frequentist theory, it's fine insofar as it represents a fraction of planets in an ensemble.


I hate to agree with xkcd, but basically that sums up my opinion of the issue.

Here's what we know about extra-terrestrial life: It's not from Earth.

That's it. Everything else is up in the air.

Every few days there's an article about expplanets, meanwhile we still can't take a one day round trip to the moon. That's some serious mismanaged priorities. Of COURSE we're finding new exo planets. We have a whole array set up and an infinite sandbox to search in.

Science will be actually getting there and directly observing.
 
2014-04-23 09:47:52 PM  

namatad: LOL
This is so funny.

The problem with the Fermi Paradox is that the number used for the life of a space traveling species is assumed to be insanely long.
"It would only take a million years to travel the galaxy at .1c"

why the hell would you assume that a species could maintain anything for that long??

Toss in the likelihood of two intelligent species existing at the same time in the same galaxy?
Close enough that they could travel or communicate with each other?
LOL - crazy tiny odds


www.quickmeme.com
 
2014-04-23 09:53:51 PM  

BSABSVR: kyleaugustus: Maybe we're first.  Someone had to be.

If the universe were closer to 5 billion years old, maybe.


Maybe the first couple (or dozens) of generations of stars are required to fuse all of the heavier elements that "life as we know it" requires?
 
2014-04-23 09:59:40 PM  
BOOOOOL-SHIATTTT!

I know that you DON'T know what you're talking about. (And nobody does)
 
2014-04-23 10:02:26 PM  

Sergeant Grumbles: What a Great Filter may look like:
[img3.wikia.nocookie.net image 641x360]


You may think I am old fashioned for posting this but...

upload.wikimedia.org
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-04-23 10:11:45 PM  

namatad: kyleaugustus: Maybe we're first.  Someone had to be.

0, 1, infinity

the chance of use being first is ~0, esp given that our sun and planet are pretty young 4by versus 12+ by for the milkyway


And how much of that 12 billion years overlaps with the time period where conditions are stable enough for complex life to evolve? First-generation stars would have been too hot and short-lived to permit the arrival of life as we know it, barring an almost inconceivably fast rate of evolution. As it is, it took our planet 3 billion years to get to a state where our distant ancestors could crawl out of the seas and start breathing air, and you have to have a starting point for life that isn't scoured by solar radiation or the exotic conditions of a quasar/proto-galaxy. Even given that extensive history, our species came into being practically by accident. Time alone isn't enough of a factor to guarantee the arrival of a technological species. There may be a "Goldilocks epoch" in the history of the evolution of the universe wherein technological cultures can arise.

While the chance of us being the first is vanishingly small, I think it's pretty unlikely that we were born in a graveyard either.
 
2014-04-23 10:12:29 PM  

namatad: LOL
This is so funny.

The problem with the Fermi Paradox is that the number used for the life of a space traveling species is assumed to be insanely long.
"It would only take a million years to travel the galaxy at .1c"

why the hell would you assume that a species could maintain anything for that long??

Toss in the likelihood of two intelligent species existing at the same time in the same galaxy?
Close enough that they could travel or communicate with each other?
LOL - crazy tiny odds


I've gotten dissed like mad on Fark for asserting that human discovery/interaction with extra terrestrial life would most likely be not going to happen. People who believe in a Star Trek/Wars hyperpopulated universe are just full of woo.
 
2014-04-23 10:14:07 PM  

whither_apophis: Only human arrogance would assume we are an intelligent species.


To be fair intelligence is a relative thing.
 
2014-04-23 10:16:37 PM  
The Great Filter is an argument that attempts to resolve the Fermi Paradox: why have we not found aliens (or why have they not found us), despite the existence of hundreds of billions of exosolar systems in our galactic neighborhood in which life might evolve?


Maybe because we're still only indirectly observing the vast majority of these exoplanets - the ones which we can directly observe are so massive as to preclude any possibility of life as we understand it. As our ability to observe these smaller exoplanets improves, we might very well discover signs of civilization.

J. Frank Parnell: namatad: Believe me, I use crazy high numbers, the problem is getting two intelligent species to exist close together at overlapping time periods.
You could easily have a million alien species, which last for only 1000 years each and they never overlap in time. And even if they did, they could be far enough apart that they would never overlap.

FTL travel could be discovered some day, the same way heavier than air flight was after so many experts thought it was physically impossible. The idea we could float metal objects weighting many tons through the air was almost universally called preposterous until we did it. We can't assume we're at the pinnacle of understanding. And after you expand your race to more celestial bodies it becomes increasingly hard to wipe you out. Could even be looking at a situation where every race that has ever mastered space travel has just been growing in numbers and occupying more and more celestial bodies. Might explain why some UFO people believe we as a race are being kept here until we grow up.


The problem with that is that even before humans achieved heavier than air flight, there were examples that it was indeed possible in nature (in fact most of the early experiments with flight attempted to emulate these examples). FTL travel presents a different problem as not only is it impossible according to the most thoroughly tested theory in physics, there is nothing that we know of, in the entirety of the universe that travels faster than light.

We're far more likely to get to these far away places with something resembling the Alcubierre drive than by acclerating an object past light speed.
 
2014-04-23 10:21:30 PM  

Snapper Carr: The problem with that is that even before humans achieved heavier than air flight, there were examples that it was indeed possible in nature (in fact most of the early experiments with flight attempted to emulate these examples).


That's exactly why they thought it was impossible. The only physics of flight they knew of was to displace weight by pushing air down with wings like birds and insects do, and since you could never push down enough air to displace tons they concluded it was impossible, and began mocking anyone who disagreed.
 
2014-04-23 10:26:33 PM  

Sergeant Grumbles: What a Great Filter may look like:
[img3.wikia.nocookie.net image 641x360]


perhaps you meant this
twoheadednerd.com
 
2014-04-23 10:34:21 PM  
I think there's also another solution worth considering: Interstellar travel makes a fantastic backdrop for space opera, but while there are many civilizations in the galaxy capable of at least ramscoop or Project Orion type interstellar travel, all have decided against it.

Think about it: Based on Project Orion, we, humanity as it stands, right now, could launch a ~1000s of tons ship into orbit, go out and re-build a nickel-iron asteroid into a gleaming O'Neill colony, and it could launch itself to the stars within the span of 50 years. Why haven't we?  Because it provides no economic benefit to anyone here on earth!

The laws of physics are the same everywhere. Supernovae work the same everywhere. We're not going to find a distant world posessed of some hithero unknown atom. And even if we did, what investor will front trillions of dollars of capital on a project with (a) no guarantee of success/ROI and (b) a delay before any return so long that it's not entirely improbable that human civilization will have fallen in the meantime?

Vernor Vinge and Charlie Stross have both offered a similar and interesting hypothesis about this: The only physical matter valuable enough that anyone would be willing to pay its quite literally astronomical passage fee would be a few kilograms of crystal memory loaded with a one-time-pad several billion petabytes long, once quantum computation blows the lid off of all other key exchange mechanisms. Absolutely everything else, including uploaded minds of travellers, is simply scanned at one end and transmitted via laser link. (This is generally followed by observations about relativity, Matroshka/Jupiter brains, and the staggering asymmetry between their local and interstellar bandwidths making inhabitants unwilling to leave home)
 
2014-04-23 10:43:32 PM  
There are many barriers to FTL travel, one of them being the impact of a single proton hitting an object traveling faster than the speed of light.  The impact would be probably equal or greater than matter/antimatter annihilation.

Basically FTL would not be able to interact with normal matter at all, not even photons, otherwise big badda boom.

So if there is indeed civilizations using FTL, we will never know until we also develop FTL.
 
2014-04-23 10:55:17 PM  

Son of Thunder: So basically nobody knows nothin' about nothin'.


we all know about your mom.
 
2014-04-23 10:56:53 PM  

sendtodave: The fact that other habitable planets may exist indicates that we are alone?

WTF am I reading?


They're habitable, close enough for us to observe them, and we can't detect any signs of advanced civilization. It begs the question why not.

Perhaps it's because extinction level events are fairly common. Either natural ones(asteroid strikes, supervolcanoes, solar events, etc) or civilizations end up killing themselves off. It could be that most civilizations fail to survive the post industrial age because they fail to learn how to sustain their environment before it collapses due to pollution and mismanagement of resources.
 
2014-04-23 10:59:12 PM  

doglover: Given a bunch of unknowable variables, we get a number that would still be meaningless because it's a probability for a boolean issue.


That's fundamentally false -- it's like saying the weatherman is full of shiat for saying there's a "70% chance of rain" when there's only the possibility of "Rain" or "No Rain". What he's really saying is that there's a 70% chance that rain=true and the drake equation is similar* in that there is some non-zero percent chance that for a given habitable planet, life=true.

/*Not making any claims about the validity of the actual equation/variables
 
2014-04-23 10:59:15 PM  

MechaPyx: sendtodave: The fact that other habitable planets may exist indicates that we are alone?

WTF am I reading?

They're habitable, close enough for us to observe them, and we can't detect any signs of advanced civilization. It begs the question why not.

Perhaps it's because extinction level events are fairly common. Either natural ones(asteroid strikes, supervolcanoes, solar events, etc) or civilizations end up killing themselves off. It could be that most civilizations fail to survive the post industrial age because they fail to learn how to sustain their environment before it collapses due to pollution and mismanagement of resources.


Or it could be that most civilizations never achieve an industrialized state because civilizations tend to collapse and dark-age themselves.
 
2014-04-23 11:01:33 PM  
It is just as plausible that we are being kept in the dark intentionally by a widespread space-faring race as it is that that race does not exist at all.

So, don't lose hope just yet.
 
2014-04-23 11:06:12 PM  
For the first three billion years of life on Earth, there was nothing but single-celled organisms. I'm guessing that there's a big piece of your Great Filter right there. Billions of years to get past one cell. A century of radio and TV broadcasting so faint it couldn't be heard through the walls of a $500 a month apartment. And then cable TV and the Internet.

Here's what happens:  intelligent species stop broadcasting even faster than the Dumont network and move into their Mother's basement. Then virtual reality is invented and they never come out again.

The global warming needed to power all of those giant server farms for the VR-net heat their atmospheres to boiling and destroys all life on the surface. They become short, big-headed, balding, geekoids and forget how to reproduce.

Then they come here and anally probe yahoos for yuks. Or to rediscover the secret of reproduction. Judging from their technique, I'd say they were on a four year old's comprehension level where sex is involved.

But if that doesn't spin your dials, consider the odds against communicative life:  3,000,000,000 years of silence to 100 years of static, or 30,000,000 to 1 against based on the speed of evolution on Earth. On top of my broadcasting-cable-internet-VR theory.

In other words they realize that it is easier to fake a universe than it is to explore one. So they end up playing Space Invaders and forget to go out and invade space. Sad but not quite as lonely as a universe in which humans are the epitome of intelligence.
 
2014-04-23 11:06:13 PM  

Esroc: It is just as plausible that we are being kept in the dark intentionally by a widespread space-faring race as it is that that race does not exist at all.

So, don't lose hope just yet.


www.decipherperth.net

Assholes.
 
2014-04-23 11:09:18 PM  
There are as many problems with the Fermi Paradox as there are with the Drake equation. Drake assumes too much but Fermi discounts too much.

Space is big.


Maybe we haven't been noticed.
Maybe we're first.
Maybe there isn't a way to travel faster than c no matter what (our physics suggests this)
Maybe intelligent life is rare and/or many civilizations have come and gone as there is plenty of time for life to have flourished and gone extinct long before we came along.
Maybe the aliens have a prime directive.
Maybe we just aren't all that interesting.
 
2014-04-23 11:11:59 PM  
I blame the Inhibitors.
 
2014-04-23 11:13:01 PM  
Or it could be that assuming that all intelligent life progresses into civilizations, and moreover, that they can communicate and project themselves in ways that we understand, is only slightly more absurd than assuming that all humans can talk dolphin.

I figure there are three options, if we find ever find life elsewhere, and can make contact with it.  We find animal life, and make it our food, we find intelligent life, and make it our pets, or we find life like us, and we go to war with it.  Kinda like it is here on earth.

Honestly, the first two options almost seem better.

Oh, fourth option, we find life, but it's just a virus that kills us all immediately.
 
2014-04-23 11:13:19 PM  
Maybe they have noticed us.
static.fjcdn.com
 
2014-04-23 11:14:13 PM  

SpdrJay: Then who's doing all those anal probes?


IDK, but img.fark.net
 
2014-04-23 11:17:17 PM  
It's entirely possible we are one of the earliest inhabitable planets in our galaxy to develop intelligence (to be taken loosely when referring to humans) capable of transmissions, or at least in our area of it. Somebody, somewhere has to be the 1st and maybe it was us?

It's entirely possible that the nearest inhabitable worlds with radio using aliens have long since decided that beaming transmissions in all directions was just asking for aliens to come invade, drop off their diseases and sleep with their women, and simply turned them off. Maybe even invented something better to be used. Maybe they never invented it at all.

As others have mentioned, our first physical contact would be with unmanned probes (ours or theirs), which would take an insane number of years to get to their destination and report back. Simply due to the fact that you can't get near to the speed of light without being destroyed. Then when the aliens come (or we go), it would be in giant seed ships, carrying either a live in crew population and many generations to get to the destination (all the while praying the trip wasn't a bust, because that would really suck) or a robot controlled ship filled with either cryogenically frozen people (not likely for humans) or ones in a pre-embryonic state to be raised by machines on arrival.
 
2014-04-23 11:25:13 PM  
For a species that has been existing only for 2.2 million years out of the 13.8 billion, that's pretty smug to be saying what he is saying ...
 
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