A planet has been discovered that is virtually identical to Earth and it's highly probable to be able to sustain life.
This is freaking cool! I wanna go! It could be like that Twilight Zone episode where the astronauts land on a planet they think is Earth when it's really on the opposite side of the sun, or something like that.
Any thoughts? (...besides the obvious one that I am a nut.)
I believe. If nothing else, I refuse to believe humanity is the best and brightest, the universe has to offer. It would nice if past generations actually gave a damn about the space program that instead of several generations maybe two to three generations if not one to get there. But, we beat those Ruskies and that is all that matters.
It's interesting, but they're making a lot of assumptions. Just because life evolved on Earth with its large quantities of water and reasonable temperatures and atmosphere doesn't mean it has to happen on every planet that has that.
If life isn't carbon-based on other planets (and there's no reason to assume it is), then the same amount of water may not even be necessary.
Besides, it's a moot point at anything beyond a theoretical level. 20 light years might as well be 1,000,000 light years. The fastest rocket ever made by mankind traveled at 36,000 miles per hour and is going to take 9 years to reach Pluto. Mankind will have blown itself all up (or destroyed the Earth) before anything could reach that planet.
I must admit, I am not a believer in the whole "there must be life because there must be" belief system.
I am personally fascinated by the fact that an intelligent being cannot be true because there is no evidence for Him (or Her if you wish)(even though I personally find it difficult to believe how our system just "happened" and find creation/engineering to be a more logical explanation), but the fact that other beings (and of course smarter and more intelligent than us, but not gods of course) must exist.
I see a lot of evidence for an engineered world around around me, but I see no evidence of other (non-god) beings. Until one or the other is disproved, I believe I will stand pat.
I do enjoy this "scientist" displaying a statement of faith regarding the planet. His faith is admiral.
We'll be back right after order has been restored here in the Omni Center.
That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy - Swift
What is fascinating to me is that space is the closest thing we have to a working "time machine".
When we see the light from a star 100 light years away, we are seeing it how it was 100 years ago. It could have blown up by then. It could blow up now and no one here would see the supernova for 100 years.
What if we DID find a planet like this and got some nice photos by some new higher resolution photos of this place 100 years ago. We would be peering 100 years into the past every time we focus our telescopes at them.
Originally posted by AWArulzI am personally fascinated by the fact that an intelligent being cannot be true because there is no evidence for Him (or Her if you wish)(even though I personally find it difficult to believe how our system just "happened" and find creation/engineering to be a more logical explanation), but the fact that other beings (and of course smarter and more intelligent than us, but not gods of course) must exist.
I think there are a lot of red herrings in this statement, (and the need to take this as some affront to your faith in God isn't something I entirely understand...)
From what I've read (and in my very dumbed-down understanding of theoretical physics explained to me mostly by people who study it - usually involving a fair amount of cocktails), whether the universe "just happened" or not is still very much up for debate (Hawking's book notwithstanding).
As to whether there are other beings in the universe, and whether those beings are smarter than us - the sheer number of stars coupled with the age of the entire universe means that there are likely some form of life out there and that an even smaller percentage will be smarter than us.
I have no idea why that is so controversial to some of those who believe in God.
(edited by Leroy on 30.9.10 1604) "Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it." -- Tom Lehrer
Originally posted by CerebusAny thoughts? (...besides the obvious one that I am a nut.)
First thought: I don't think you're nuts.
Second thought: After reading the rest of this post, you may:
A) not take much solace in that, because;
B) you may conclude that I'm nuts.
EDIT - Yes, I'm putting the edit here rather than at the bottom because I think it's a better fit here. After reading through this thread several times, I see that my post is really more of a response to AWArulz's post than to Cerebus' original remarks. However, rather than doing a whole re-write, I decided to leave this post as is, in the hope that perhaps others may find something of interest here as well.
As background, allow me to state that that I believe in the Biblical creation story. Could you say I believe the book of Genesis literally? Yes, you could; but, keep in mind that there are probably at least a hundred different ways that Genesis could be interpreted "literally"; so that my "literal" interpretation of the book could variate wildly from many others' "literal" interpretation.
I say all that to say this: while I believe that humans were created by an Almighty Being, began their existence on planet Earth, and are the only "intelligent" beings in the universe (i.e., the only creatures with a soul), I don't think this viewpoint is incompatible with the belief that intelligent creatures could also be populating other planets, even well beyond our solar system. The method I have for reconcilement of this two ideas would require that one be open to the possibility that mankind had created space travel prior to recorded history.
Is such a concept possible? Is it conceivable that ancient humans traveled in space ships? I believe so. Mind you, I don't believe it to be probable, and I'm not stating that it was definitely so. On a scale of one to one thousand, with one thousand being "it definitely happened" and zero being "it's totally impossible", I would place the possibility at less than one; but still greater than zero.
For those who would dismiss the idea completely out of hand, I would simply ask that one consider those spectacular constructions which predate modern times; the "Wonders of the Ancient World", if you will. Consider the engineering know-how and scientific knowledge required to plan and design such things as the Great Pyramid of Giza, or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Or, for that matter, consider the creation of Stonehenge. Can we really state with one hundred percent certainty that the society with the scientific knowledge required to create the equipment needed to move those stones is incapable of having the scientific knowledge required to design a spaceship?
Anyway, that's the big hurdle (and "big" is an enormous understatement). If one can accept the possibility that mankind could have created space travel in an era long since lost to history, then one can be open to the belief of other intelligent life in even the most remote areas of the universe, by accepting that these others are descendants from the original humans created by the Almighty.
Now, just so that I make my own personal position as clear as possible, allow me to repeat again that the possibility that ancient man had conquered space travel is barely above zero percent. My own personal opinion is that it takes quite a leap of faith to believe such a theory (actually more like three leaps and a really big jump). But my purpose in this post was to show that I don't think that the belief in the Biblical creation story is completely at odds with the belief in intelligent life on other planets. It takes a lot of faith and a good stretch of the imagination, but (hopefully) I've shown that the two concepts are not totally irreconcilable.
The article didn't say that the planet was "virtually identical" to Earth. My goodness, it didn't even come close to saying that. It said that Gliese 581g lies within its star's habitable zone, conditions are favorable for liquid water on the surface, and that to the best of our knowledge it has favorable size and mass for an atmosphere.
For all we know, the atmosphere's comprised of ammonia, carbon monoxide and fluorine. So let's not jump to conclusions just yet.
Having said that, I absolutely believe there's other intelligent life in the universe. The Milky Way Galaxy alone is 100,000 light years across, 1,000 light years thick, with anywhere from 100 billion to 400 billion stars. And there are probably 170 billion galaxies just in the observable universe alone. How could we be the only planet in all of that vastness that has life on it? I kinda hope we're not, because it seems very lonely to me.
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In my first post in this thread, I was going to mention how surprised I was that they had located an "earth-like" planet given my understanding of how they are located. A lot of the time, it's based on recognizing gravitational fluctuations in the movement of the star as the planet moves around it. As such, it's easiest to find planets that are (1) very large, or (2) very close to their star.
In fact, look at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Exoplanet_Period-Mass_Scatter.png . It shows where all the extrasolar planets rank in terms of distance from their star (to left and right) and size (up and down). They also mark Mercury, Venus, the Earth, and Mars down in the bottom portion. Notice the distinct lack of planets of similar size and distance located around them. And the units on either axis are logarithmic, so those planets located at -2 are still like 5x as large as the Earth (excluding the purple one smaller than Mercury. I don't know what that one is).
Anyway, I really blame the astronomer who brought this up, and made the "chances for life on this planet are 100 percent" claim. He needs to be reminded that it's sometimes good to only say the facts that you know to be true.
Because the Academic left can't leave well enough alone: UMass offers Whiteness Studies classes because "white Americans are so accustomed to being part of a privileged majority they do not see themselves as part of a race.