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Livable Worlds Abound


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http://www.world-science.net/othernews/060906_planets.htm

 

Livable worlds abound, simulations find

 

Sept. 7, 2006

Courtesy University of Colorado at Boulder

and World Science staff

 

New com­pu­ter sim­u­la­tions by as­tronomers have found that Earth-like pla­n­ets, warm and wet enough for life, should be common.

 

The si­m­u­la­tions fo­cused on a com­mon type of so­lar sys­tem iden­t­i­fied be­fore, fea­tur­ing pla­n­ets called Hot Ju­pi­ters. A third of these sys­tems al­so pro­duce Earth-like worlds in the com­put­er re­en­act­ments, the re­searchers said.

 

The Hot Jupiter­s—gas gi­ants that or­bit scorch­ing­ly close to their sun—are be­lieved to ori­g­i­n­ate fur­ther out from the star, then mi­grate in­ward. This churns up ma­te­ri­al along the way in the dust­y, plan­et-forming disk of ma­te­r­i­al en­cir­cl­ing the star.

 

Tra­di­tion­ally, as­tro­no­mers thought this jour­ney would dis­rupt the for­m­a­tion of oth­er pla­n­ets in the path.

 

The sim­u­la­tions found the op­po­site: as they tra­vel in­ward, Hot Jupiters fling rock­y de­bris out­ward, where it eas­i­ly clumps in­to Earth-like plan­ets. Mean­while, tur­bu­lence in clouds slows down small, icy bod­ies or­biting far off, so they spir­al in­ward and dump wa­ter on the young worlds. These can even­tu­al­ly ac­cu­mu­late oceans miles deep and set­tle in­to a life-friend­ly “ha­b­it­able zone.”

 

The ha­bi­t­able zone is a theo­rized re­gion nei­ther too close, nor too far, from the sun for temp­er­a­tures to sup­port life.

 

“These gas gi­ants cause quite a ruckus,” said Sean Ray­mond of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Col­o­rad­o at Boul­der, a mem­ber of the re­search team. But “we now think there is a new class of ocean-covered, and pos­si­bly hab­it­a­ble, plan­ets in so­lar sys­tems un­like our own.”

 

In the Sept. 8 is­sue of the re­search jour­nal Sci­ence, the sci­en­tists de­s­cribed si­m­u­la­tions last­ing more than eight months each on more than a doz­en desk­top com­put­ers. The crea­tors plugged in data re­flec­ting cur­rent the­o­ries on pla­net form­a­tion, start­ing with “proto-plan­etary disks” con­tain­ing more than 1,000 moon-sized, rocky and icy chunks. They played out some 200 mil­lion years of plan­et ev­o­lu­tion.

 

Hot Jupiters make up some 40 per­cent of pla­n­ets found to date be­yond our So­lar Sys­tem, Ray­mond said, though this num­ber is so high pro­ba­bly be­cause their size and lo­ca­tions make them easy to find.

 

“I think there are def­i­nite­ly hab­it­a­ble plan­ets out there,” he ad­ded. “But any life on these plan­ets could be very dif­fer­ent from ours.”

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I have a sneaky suspicion that our galaxy alone harbors a fantastic number of living things. As to whether or not any of it has developed intelligence is, I think, a different kind of assertion. I think that we have many surprises ahead of us. Perhaps when we truely know that we are not alone in this universe, we may begin to stop all the petty quarreling that takes place on this rock we call Earth.

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I have a sneaky suspicion that our galaxy alone harbors a fantastic number of living things. As to whether or not any of it has developed intelligence is, I think, a different kind of assertion. I think that we have many surprises ahead of us. Perhaps when we truely know that we are not alone in this universe, we may begin to stop all the petty quarreling that takes place on this rock we call Earth.

 

Have you seen the Discovery movie, Alien Planet? They talk about what this would do to our view of ourselves and our place in the universe. They kept comparing it to the great Copernican revolution and how it would change everything. We'll be buying it soon for our son's birthday! I'm just as excited as he is! lol...

 

http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/alien...lienplanet.html

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Hey there Reverend. I don't believe that I have seen "Alien Planet." I think that I've seen ads for it though.

 

I am fairly certain that if we found life on another world that it would change things dramatically here. I keep hoping that maybe we might even discover life on Europa. I mean, if it turned out that there was life in our own cosmic backyard then that too would change things too I think. We need a good kick to the system like that I think.

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Hey there Reverend. I don't believe that I have seen "Alien Planet." I think that I've seen ads for it though.

 

I am fairly certain that if we found life on another world that it would change things dramatically here. I keep hoping that maybe we might even discover life on Europa. I mean, if it turned out that there was life in our own cosmic backyard then that too would change things too I think. We need a good kick to the system like that I think.

 

I'd like to see how the major religions would evolve in reaction to such a finding. You know there'd be bickering and quarreling amongst the sects as to what it meant in relation to their god. This would mean further fragmentation!

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I'm pretty confident that life exists on other worlds, possibly intelligent. Actually, it would seem incredible to me if we were the only intelligent life in the universe. I think this recent findings in the hot-Jupiter theory seem to add more weight to the idea life exists elsewhere.

 

I think I can already predict how fundies would react to the news if we did discover any kind of advanced life out there:

 

1) God created it. And since god gave us dominion, we can do anything we want with it.

 

2) Satan did it. It's all part of a plot to undermine the faith of the church, like dino bones.

 

3) Stick fingers in ears and go "La-la-la-la! I can't hear you!" :HaHa:

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New com­pu­ter sim­u­la­tions by as­tronomers have found that Earth-like pla­n­ets, warm and wet enough for life, should be common.

 

Cool. Next step: To pull our weird species together to find and populate at least one of those planets, to take care for what will happen sooner or later (global disaster, like one niflheluvan asteroid impact, yellowstoone going boom or similar), so that our species doesn't get lost.

 

Just a little bit difficult, but hey, there's always a catch...

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I had thought the prevailing belief was that evolved alien lifeforms would be vaguely humanoid. I didn't realize that the belief now was that other life would be significantly different from humanoid.

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I suppose Reverend that it would be difficult to anticipate all the effects that the discovery of organisms on another world would generate within humanity. I can't help but think though that given our propensity for us-them kind of thinking that this discovery would be a unifying force on humanity. After all, suddenly there would be a legitimate distintion to be made between us, Earth life, and them, non-Earth life. In addition we would see that we are not so special anymore. It might be a powerful force towards deflating our collective egos.

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y'all should check out SETI and the "Drake Equation."

 

Also, I read a book in an undergrad astronomy class entitled What if the Moon didn't exist?, and in there somewhere is a chapter about how human evolution and planet Earth would be very different if not for the influence of the moon.

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You are so right. Because the Moon causes the tides, it is possible that without the Moon there would be no life on this planet, even though most of us credit the Sun with everything.

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the moon also slowed the planet's rotation due to its gravitational pull.

 

the book I mentioned speculates that if there were no moon... the average wind speed on earth would exceed 300 mph. humans would probably look more like rabbits and live underground. pretty crazy!

 

farfetched, maybe?

 

i like the moon alot more than the sun, so I'm biased.

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I'm pretty confident that life exists on other worlds, possibly intelligent. Actually, it would seem incredible to me if we were the only intelligent life in the universe. I think this recent findings in the hot-Jupiter theory seem to add more weight to the idea life exists elsewhere.

 

I think I can already predict how fundies would react to the news if we did discover any kind of advanced life out there:

 

1) God created it. And since god gave us dominion, we can do anything we want with it.

 

2) Satan did it. It's all part of a plot to undermine the faith of the church, like dino bones.

 

3) Stick fingers in ears and go "La-la-la-la! I can't hear you!" :HaHa:

 

Jerry Falwell said this about alien beings:

 

"The decline in American pride, patriotism, and piety can be directly attributed to the extensive reading of so-called 'science fiction' by our young people. This poisonous rot about creatures not of God's making, societies of 'aliens' without a good Christian among them, and raw sex between unhuman beings with three heads and God alone knows what sort of reproductive apparatus keeps our young people from realizing the true will of God."

 

["Can Our Young People Find God in the Pages of Trashy Magazines? No, Of Course Not!", Reader's Digest, , p.142-157, August 1985]

 

It looks like he's strongly with #2! lol...

 

New com­pu­ter sim­u­la­tions by as­tronomers have found that Earth-like pla­n­ets, warm and wet enough for life, should be common.

 

Cool. Next step: To pull our weird species together to find and populate at least one of those planets, to take care for what will happen sooner or later (global disaster, like one niflheluvan asteroid impact, yellowstoone going boom or similar), so that our species doesn't get lost.

 

Just a little bit difficult, but hey, there's always a catch...

 

 

I'm with you. The more planets we can populate, the less chance we'll be extinguished. Our species will be alive somewhere in the universe.

 

I suppose Reverend that it would be difficult to anticipate all the effects that the discovery of organisms on another world would generate within humanity. I can't help but think though that given our propensity for us-them kind of thinking that this discovery would be a unifying force on humanity. After all, suddenly there would be a legitimate distintion to be made between us, Earth life, and them, non-Earth life. In addition we would see that we are not so special anymore. It might be a powerful force towards deflating our collective egos.

 

Or it might be the end if they are the ame or more intelligent. We have enough war between us without adding other beings to the mix. I really hope it ends up being just lower life forms. Perhaps, though, I'm being too pessimistic. Perhaps if we met another intelligent life form we'd learn volumes from each other and grow from the experience.

 

 

y'all should check out SETI and the "Drake Equation."

 

Also, I read a book in an undergrad astronomy class entitled What if the Moon didn't exist?, and in there somewhere is a chapter about how human evolution and planet Earth would be very different if not for the influence of the moon.

 

Very interesting! It's a life probability generator!

 

Yeah, I wish we had enough variables in the equation to where we could just plug them al into a evolution simulator to see what came out. Hell, that'd make a great game!

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When I consider all the mechanisms by which our intelligence arose, I wouldn't be too surprised if we were the only intelligent beings, or one of a very few such species in the universe. Pretty sure there's a lot of life elsewhere though, just not intelligent.

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You are so right. Because the Moon causes the tides, it is possible that without the Moon there would be no life on this planet, even though most of us credit the Sun with everything.

 

Well, if abiogenesis occurred in the ocean and resulted from the sloshing around of the chamical soup, as has been hypothesized, I would think that take the tides away would drastically reduce the likelihood that life would arise. If, however, one of the other hypotheses are correct and it happened somwhere else, life would arise and just turn out different as a few variables would change.

 

the moon also slowed the planet's rotation due to its gravitational pull.

 

the book I mentioned speculates that if there were no moon... the average wind speed on earth would exceed 300 mph. humans would probably look more like rabbits and live underground. pretty crazy!

 

farfetched, maybe?

 

i like the moon alot more than the sun, so I'm biased.

 

Wow! Perhaps we'd all be creatures of the air then. Our entire planetary ecosystem would be suspended in the air! An interesting thought!

 

 

When I consider all the mechanisms by which our intelligence arose, I wouldn't be too surprised if we were the only intelligent beings, or one of a very few such species in the universe. Pretty sure there's a lot of life elsewhere though, just not intelligent.

 

I think it's better that way, actually. With intelligence comes a lot of responsibility. Civilization requires suppressing a lot of the urges that got your species there in the first place. If we were to come into contact with said intelligent life, what's to say they wouldn't be in some sort of religious Dark Ages? Think of the clash between our earthly religion and one of the aliens! Talk about Holy Wars!

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Very interesting! It's a life probability generator!

 

Yeah, I wish we had enough variables in the equation to where we could just plug them al into a evolution simulator to see what came out. Hell, that'd make a great game!

Have you heard of the game Spore? Not necessarily the most scientific game, or so it seems now, but it's close (sorta).

I had thought the prevailing belief was that evolved alien lifeforms would be vaguely humanoid. I didn't realize that the belief now was that other life would be significantly different from humanoid.
Logically there is no reason to think that other life would be humanoid when it isn't even very common here currently, let alone over the entire time life has existed on Earth.
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Have you heard of the game Spore

 

Actually, I had. I read about this in Discover magazine. This is the first time I've seen the game in action, though. Quite amazing!

It does like amazing. There are a couple of online flash games similar to the unicellular part of the game. I've played a couple, but I don't have the website anymore. I'll check digg and see what I can find.

 

Edit: I found one.

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I suppose Reverend that it would be difficult to anticipate all the effects that the discovery of organisms on another world would generate within humanity. I can't help but think though that given our propensity for us-them kind of thinking that this discovery would be a unifying force on humanity. After all, suddenly there would be a legitimate distintion to be made between us, Earth life, and them, non-Earth life. In addition we would see that we are not so special anymore. It might be a powerful force towards deflating our collective egos.

 

Or it might be the end if they are the ame or more intelligent. We have enough war between us without adding other beings to the mix. I really hope it ends up being just lower life forms. Perhaps, though, I'm being too pessimistic. Perhaps if we met another intelligent life form we'd learn volumes from each other and grow from the experience.

 

 

If the proportions of life forms on Earth can act as any kind of guide then I imagine that most life in the universe is single cellular. I suppose that I can understand your pessimism regarding a war between the worlds. I think though that it is us that are the warlike organisms. I think that perhaps if we encountered an intelligent species, they would have more to fear from us than we from them. I think that a large possibility exists that we would be in stark terror of them. I mean really, if you ran into a non-humanoid intelligence would you not freak out a little? I think that I would.

 

Who knows though? Perhaps we will run into some pretty cool cats out there. I just hope that we survive long enough to get the chance to explore a little.

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