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How many stars are there in the Milky Way ? About 100 billion (= 1011).
Are there planets around other stars ? At least 80 had been found by January 2002.
How many galaxies are there in the visible universe ? Over 2 million have been counted, but there could be about 100 000 million.
...Or is it really just the case that the a priori probability assumed by scientists of alien radio detection is higher than that assumed for atmospheric detection? Is this a priori probability differential between radio versus atmospheric detection logically defensible? Or do we lack sufficient information to make anything but a wild guess, a guess contaminated by incentive, dogma, and mere habit? Why do so many scientists, including Tipler and Fermi, argue that interstellar travel would be feasible for advanced civilizations whose productivity growth has created such vast wealth that journeys are less expensive than they would be for us humans?
Do we know what alien energy resource stocks are? Even right now, we have the technology to mount a journey at 10% of the speed of light and arrive at the nearest star in 40 years. How "extraordinary" is it to consider that, several billion years ago, one culture might have mounted a gradual expedition that took them to our solar system and many others? We sure don't know whether this is "extraordinary" or the natural outcome of technological advancement, but many scientists wish to believe, simply due to heavily entrenched ideologies with absolutely no basis in logic nor fact, that such interstellar expansions are far less likely than the human interception of alien radio signals.
Originally posted by Drexon
That's one of the points I'm trying to prove. We don't know what the future holds in terms of technological and scientific advances, so why do we assume that we do by saying that "Yes, we do believe in there's probably alien life out there, they're just not here"?
It's hypocritical to think that we're the pinnacle of achievement in this universe.
Originally posted by Gazrok
Even some of the most hardcore skeptics and scientists would agree that there is extraterrestrial intelligent life....
Where they differ is in their opinion of how feasible it is that they've been able to traverse the stars and get here....
Honestly though, considering we've gone from riding horses to going into space in less than a century, you'd think they'd be a bit more flexible in such beliefs, especially considering the likelihood not only of extraterrestrial intelligence, but the likelihood that said intelligences might have been around a lot longer, and thus increased their technology at a similar exponential rate.....and be capable of what we deem to be impossible.
Do you think Alexander Graham Bell would believe it if you told him that we'd all be walking around with portable phones? I doubt it....
Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.
Sir Arthur Eddington
English astronomer (1882 - 1944)
"These are places I'd want to live if God were to put our planet around another star,"
"The analysis shows that about half of the known exoplanetary systems could have an 'Earth' which is currently orbiting in at least part of the habitable zone, and which has been in this zone for at least one billion years," the Royal Astronomical Society said in a press release.
Its common sense to assume once we can detect smaller objects we will find many, many more planets. I mean there are many more smaller fragments out there than objects the size of Jupiter right?
Can We Find Another Earth?
NASA is betting that we can, and a team of Princeton astronomers has a clever design for a telescope that could do it within 20 years
While astronomers have been mired in plans for an exotic array of space-based telescopes, a small, creative team of scientists and engineers based at Princeton University has come out of intellectual left field with a new idea that could cut years from NASA's schedule and cost far less than anyone had believed possible. The key is a revolutionary kind of telescope, invented by Princeton astrophysicist David Spergel, a theorist who didn't know much at all about telescopes until he taught himself optics from a textbook two summers ago. "This is a completely new idea," says Michael Littman, an eminent Princeton optical engineer, "and yet once you see it, you realize how simple and elegant it is. I'm kicking myself that I didn't think of it first."
Simplicity and elegance were the last things astronomers could hope for as they began planning the Finder back in 1996, only six months after planets of any kind were found outside our solar system. The first few planets discovered were huge alien gas balls, much bigger than Saturn or Jupiter, and clearly unfriendly to life. But where there are huge gas planets, astronomers reasoned, there may also be other Earths.
The best way to find small planets, everyone agreed, was to move away from conventional telescopes and build an interferometer, a series of telescopes that has tremendous power by taking advantage of a principle of optics. For example, if several telescopes are positioned 10 miles apart and the images gathered by each are digitized and fed together at the same time, the final image would have the resolution of a telescope with a single mirror measuring 10 miles across. The largest telescope mirror on Earth is 33 feet across. About a year ago NASA funded the conversion of the twin Keck telescopes—the world's largest—into an interferometer with an image area about 300 feet across that will ultimately be able to find planets as small as Jupiter.
An infinite set of mirrors was out of the question, of course, and even three or four pairs of scopes would be too complicated and too expensive. But the multiple mirrors gave Spergel an idea: If you trace the overall shape described by that idealized, infinite series of mirrors, it looks something like a cat's eye—a bulge in the center that tapers off at points on the right and left. So instead of building a lot of individual mirrors that approximate this shape, why not, he wondered, just make a single mirror with that shape? Even better: Why go to the trouble of making an oddly shaped mirror? You could achieve precisely the same effect simply by putting a mask over the opening of an ordinary telescope, making an opening shaped like a cat's eye.
Now, granted, this is an Earth-centric, anthropomorphic view.
Originally posted by toreishi
perhaps it would do well to take into consideration the possibility that an earth-like member of another planetary system need not be located in the same habitable zone as Earth (i.e. specific distance from the system's dominant star), an earth-like environment is also possible among the natural satellites of the system's gas giants (jovian planets) provided they are far enough away from the sun.
just wondering, is it possible to have planets in a binary star system? two sunsets anyone?
Originally posted by emjoi
The reason I am a bit of a skeptic about the classic view of UFOs is that it seems such a "small" view of ET life. Sort-Of-Human creatures flying around in spaceships.
Think of where you imagine Humanity to be in 10,000 or 100,000 years time.
Do you really think it'll be some sort of George Jetson future?
My theory is that eventually Humanity will escape it's Meat Bodies. Go Software/Pure Energy/Pure Spirit/Whatever. We will reach a stage where flying around in metal spaceships seems irrelevant.
Which is why we don't see evidence of Alien Civilisations.... they are out there, but they are in a form that we can't observe.
Originally posted by Argos
I'm very interested in this got any links? I always thought it was a bit odd that there's only a small habitable zone in solar system. As Gazrok points out about Mars and Europa there's many ways life can evolve. Who knows there could be creatures like dolphins in the seas of europa. Would that class as an itelligent alien being? I guess so, just not technologically advanced!
Optimistic astronomers say it is inevitable that, with improvements in observational techniques and accumulating years of data monitoring stellar wobbles (aliens would have to watch our sun for 12 years to see it wobble because of Jupiters tug), Jupiter-like planets in circular long-period orbits will eventually be found. And then astronomers will surmise that terrestrial planets are protectively nested inside the giants orbit.
"It's interesting to ask whether a solar system like ours is a requirement for technological life."
... such planets might have moons that are habitable. "If these Jupiters are in stable orbits, which they seem to be, then although the planet might not be suitable for life, any moons that might orbit around them might be," says Bally, who adds that this is "pure speculation."