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Forum » SpaceEngine » Off-topic Discussions » Life in the Universe (Any and all hypothetical discussions about life elsewhere)
Life in the Universe
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 17.12.2011, 13:00 | Message # 16
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If a species is intelligent enough to collaborate together as nations and design ICBM's carrying one of the most powerful forces of the universe they will not stupidly eradicate themselves like apes.

The development of nuclear weapons was mostly a matter of national, rather than international, desire. The desire to posses nuclear weapons stems from fear, aggression, territoriality, and lust for power: primal emotions. The people in charge of these weapons are governments and militaries, not institutions often noted for wisdom and rationality.
No rational people would destroy themselves without good reason. But humans are not very rational.

(Talisman)
Being at that technology level describes the extreme urge for life to prosper and expand and want to live. Even if for example the Cuban Missile Crisis went horribly awry by some crazy ruler and they started global nuclear war, even mass targeting of capitals attempting to eradicate life it would not extinct the world.

The technology that humanity has advanced in only the last several generations is astonishing (from waterwheels and windmills to nuclear reactors and microtransistors), but that is independent of our biology/psychology. We are still the same humans that we were several generations ago, with the same failings and imperfections.
If the Cuban Missile Crisis led to total nuclear war (which it came closer to doing than many people realize) of course it would not have caused the extinction of all life on Earth, and probably not that of the human species either. But it would have led to the collapse of our CIVILIZATION, which is what the key point in the Drake equation is: how long a civilization is extant and communicating with their technology over interstellar distances. Aside from nuclear war, there are other threats as well: an errant bioweapon, a planetary catastrophe while humans inhabit only Earth, etc. And humans are prone to random and planned acts of violence on a global scale, and it would just take one wrong person with one wrong piece of technology at just the wrong time to end our civilization. If Adolf Hitler had come to power during the Atomic Age, we might not be sitting here right now to talk about it.
Planets and biospheres are hardy. Civilizations are fragile. The fall of Rome led to a thousand-year dark age in Europe. It is not out of the question that some calamity or social upheaval could temporarily set back our civilization as well. It's unlikely, but the possibility should not be ignored.
One possibility in the Drake equation is for a civilization of sentient beings that does not have (or does not employ) the technology of interstellar communications (radio etc.) So the number of societies of sentient lifeforms in the galaxy may be much higher than the equation would suggest; it only focuses on those that we are capable of communicating with at the present.

(Talisman)
Personally, there's most likely around a 25,000 to 400,000 civilizations that are at around our level of intelligence in the universe right now, perhaps 500 or so in the milky way.

Why such a large fraction for the Milky Way? 1 out of every 800 civilizations in one galaxy, in a universe that has at least several tens of billions of galaxies, would be quite extraordinary.

On the subject of life, I think the issue of whether or not civilizations tend to self-destruct isn't nearly as important as the issue of whether life arises easily and frequently, or only very rarely. I find myself without a solid opinion on this issue, as there are compelling arguments for both sides. I hope for the former case though smile Maybe within the next century we shall know for sure.
Also there is the difficulty of the development of complex life (eukaryotes and multi-cellular forms). This goes back to the issue of the Great Filter (it took nearly 4 billion years to occur on Earth).

(Talisman)
It's only a matter of time before we advance enough to explore them.

A matter of time, and a bit of luck that we'll last that long and be willing to go. But I think we will. Our expansion into space will soon gain a lot of inertia. I believe this decade is the most critical point yet in the history of human spaceflight: it is the time we start opening space up to the masses. Where commercial enterprise leads, people follow. And thus old frontiers become new homes. This is an exciting time to be alive.





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TalismanDate: Saturday, 17.12.2011, 19:40 | Message # 17
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(HarbingerDawn)
Why such a large fraction for the Milky Way?

Oops! I don't know where I got that number, I've changed it to billions for now. cool

(HarbingerDawn)
The desire to posses nuclear weapons stems from fear, aggression, territoriality, and lust for power: primal emotions.


And these all tie down to primal instincts of survival, and living.

(HarbingerDawn)
If Adolf Hitler had come to power during the Atomic Age, we might not be sitting here right now to talk about it.


Well I don't know about that. Lets say Adolf Hitler somehow managed to mass produce ICBM's, which had the combined power of 1 megaton each(from a few MIRV's).

He would need 14,000 of them to cause any substantial damage. With 14,000 of those weapons detonated at once It would cause a nuclear winter of roughly 3 years, and even if he managed to get that many, it wouldn't extinct all "modern" humans, and like all "fallen" civilizations they seem to pick up technology from where the others left off usually. After the fall of rome they didn't go back to sticks and stones.

Remember that the most nuclear weapons we ever had back in the day was 30,000. And most of those were very small scale weapons (Like the hiroshima bomb).

(HarbingerDawn)
a planetary catastrophe while humans inhabit only Earth


I think this is far more likely then self-extermination. There are many chances for asteroid collisions or gamma ray bursts or star fluctuations, planetary collisions and such.

(HarbingerDawn)
It is not out of the question that some calamity or social upheaval could temporarily set back our civilization as well. It's unlikely, but the possibility should not be ignored.


Yes, I agree with this.

(HarbingerDawn)
Also there is the difficulty of the development of complex life (eukaryotes and multi-cellular forms). This goes back to the issue of the Great Filter (it took nearly 4 billion years to occur on Earth).


Yes, it's probably unlikely to happen very fast, but we can assume we're in the average time for life to occur, however the range of that number can be very great.

Maybe it takes 2-6 billion years to occur, maybe 0.1-10 billion years.

And imagine if crows or dolphins had opposable thumbs and digits, perhaps they will eventually develop human like intelligence in a thousand or billion years. They're not that far off.

(HarbingerDawn)
A matter of time, and a bit of luck that we'll last that long and be willing to go. But I think we will. Our expansion into space will soon gain a lot of inertia. I believe this decade is the most critical point yet in the history of human spaceflight: it is the time we start opening space up to the masses. Where commercial enterprise leads, people follow. And thus old frontiers become new homes. This is an exciting time to be alive.


Yes, I'm not sure if humans will ever manage to conquer spaceflight, settle on another planet, or witness evidence of extra-terrestrial life but I really do hope so.







Edited by Talisman - Sunday, 18.12.2011, 02:11
 
DoctorOfSpaceDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 07:00 | Message # 18
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
then it will probably allow for the formation of satellites.


Mass and orbit of those satellites is also very important for a stable rotation of the planet.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
It may take a long time since even if we find such a world it would not be easy to determine its atmospheric composition.


I still think we will locate a planet much like Earth eventually but once again not for a while. I am also highly skeptical towards this idea of finding intelligent life because the circumstances for humanity being here are also very unlikely, we really did get lucky.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 07:11 | Message # 19
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I am also highly skeptical towards this idea of finding intelligent life because the circumstances for humanity being here are also very unlikely, we really did get lucky.

This I totally agree on. In the nearly 4 billion year history of life on Earth only one species has arisen to a level of intelligence and anatomical capability that led to the development of high technology, and there is no evidence to suggest that there is some sort of evolutionary imperative to that effect. For most of life's history there weren't even any macroscopic organisms. It may be that complex life, never mind intelligent life, is exceedingly rare. I would be surprised if we ever found other technical beings in the Milky Way.





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Edited by HarbingerDawn - Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 08:38
 
DoctorOfSpaceDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:12 | Message # 20
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For most of life's history there weren't even any macroscopic organisms. It may be that complex life, never mind intelligent life, is exceedingly rare. I would be surprised if we ever found other technical beings in the Milky Way.


Specific geologic events led to weather changes which allowed our species to survive and not only geologic events but we had a huge drop in population down to as little as 1000 individuals. All of these things could have been the end of us long before we even started broadcasting radio signals and yet here we are.

As I said previously, we got lucky. We've avoided major planetary collisions, haven't been hit by any gamma ray bursts, haven't destroyed ourselves, and in our current technological stage we haven't had any pole switching or terribly severe solar storms.

All of that in mind plus potential other unknown catastrophes a civilization faces, we may very well be the only ones in the entire Milky Way and if I may go so far to say, the only ones in our galactic local cluster.

I still think there is intelligent life out there but most likely nowhere near us. sad





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Edited by DoctorOfSpace - Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:17
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:29 | Message # 21
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in our current technological stage we haven't had any pole switching or terribly severe solar storms.

Good thing too, though a pole reversal may already be underway (there's another thread about it). And just imagine if the Carrington event happened today. Society would be set back by decades or more.

Quote (DoctorOfSpace)
I still think there is intelligent life out there but most likely nowhere near us.

Agreed.





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:33 | Message # 22
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Good thing too, though a pole reversal may already be underway (there's another thread about it). And just imagine if the Carrington event happened today. Society would be set back by decades or more.


And if both were to happen at once we'd be thrown back by at least a century. I just hope we don't let our space program decay because we are going to need it if we plan to survive the next century.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:41 | Message # 23
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And if both were to happen at once we'd be thrown back by at least a century

Pole reversals take thousands of years to complete, and the overall magnetic field strength does not drop, so it would probably not adversely affect our society to any significant degree. But a major geomagnetic storm would be absolutely devastating.

At this point it doesn't matter as much what the government space programs are doing, or what their future might be. We are now crossing a threshold into a new era of spaceflight, and the momentum that has been built in the commercial space industry, combined with the forward thinking and beneficent outlook of some of its key players, ensures that even if NASA, ESA, Roscosmos and the rest go under, humanity will still leave Earth. That said, I hope that the government space programs continue to exist and that they prosper in the future.





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:46 | Message # 24
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
At this point it doesn't matter as much what the government space programs are doing, or what their future might be. We are now crossing a threshold into a new era of spaceflight, and the momentum that has been built in the commercial space industry, combined with the forward thinking and beneficent outlook of some of its key players, ensures that even if NASA, ESA, Roscosmos and the rest go under, humanity will still leave Earth. That said, I hope that the government space programs continue to exist and that they prosper in the future.


I meant more in terms of an Earth collision event. If a large object were on a collision trajectory it would be bad news. As for private industry I don't know why i think like this, but I imagine a business basically holding the governing bodies of the world hostage for large sums of money to deflect/move the object. That is unless we keep government space agencies as I'd like to see. Personally though I'd like to see more cooperation between nations space programs and private space industries.

I feel like my posts are half nonsense or jumbled ideas. Haven't slept in a while though so I may be wrong wacko





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Edited by DoctorOfSpace - Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:47
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:53 | Message # 25
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As for private industry I don't know why i think like this, but I imagine a business basically holding the governing bodies of the world hostage for large sums of money to deflect/move the object.

I think that the odds of that ever happening would be extremely remote. Government space programs are already dependent on private industry anyway, they contract all their work to them. Not to mention that it would be great press for a company to say that they helped to save the world. They'd make much more money by enthusiastically helping than they would by price gouging.

Quote (DoctorOfSpace)
Personally though I'd like to see more cooperation between nations space programs and private space industries.

As would I. This is already happening with commercial-government cooperation, though what the nature of that relationship might be in 20, 50, or 100 years is less clear. Also, international cooperation between gov't space agencies has been increasing as well, though not very quickly and not under the best of circumstances (largely driven by budget cuts).





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:56 | Message # 26
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Also, international cooperation between gov't space agencies has been increasing as well, though not very quickly and not under the best of circumstances (largely driven by budget cuts).


Even though the US disagrees with many of China's practices I still think in the spirit of exploration we should allow them on the international space station.

This whole discussion makes me wonder what kind of societies would evolve elsewhere in the cosmos. I wonder if alien cultures would have global societies or go through the same kinds of paths we have.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
I think that the odds of that ever happening would be extremely remote


Most likely

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
They'd make much more money by enthusiastically helping than they would by price gouging.


I guess my tired mind is just imagining the stereotypical capitalist.





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Edited by DoctorOfSpace - Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 09:58
 
AerospacefagDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 17:56 | Message # 27
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Is there a black cat in a dark room?
 
TalismanDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 18:05 | Message # 28
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Is there a black cat in a dark room?


That's not a very good analogy. cool

Maybe something like, you only see one fish in the ocean. Are there more fish?





 
HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 29.08.2012, 18:22 | Message # 29
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Maybe something like, you only see one fish in the ocean. Are there more fish?

That is a good analogy, assuming that we don't know anything about fish or biology at all, or very very little. Then it is hard to determine whether there might be other fish or not, since there is not enough data on which to base an estimate. That is like our current situation regarding exobiology.





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Antza2Date: Thursday, 30.08.2012, 10:22 | Message # 30
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Is there life in the Universe?
My answer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpaQpyU_QiM





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