Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

Apr 24, 2014 by Andrew Snyder-Beattie, The Conversation
Let’s hope it’s barren. Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-CalTech, CC BY

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth orbiting in the "habitable zone" – the distance from a star in which we might expect liquid water, and perhaps life.

What did not make the news, however, is that this discovery also slightly increases how much credence we give to the possibility of near-term human extinction. This because of a concept known as the Great Filter.

The Great Filter is an argument that attempts to resolve the Fermi Paradox: why have we not found aliens, despite the existence of hundreds of billions of solar systems in our galactic neighbourhood in which life might evolve? As the namesake physicist Enrico Fermi noted, it seems rather extraordinary that not a single extraterrestrial signal or engineering project has been detected (UFO conspiracy theorists notwithstanding).

This apparent absence of thriving extraterrestrial civilisations suggests that at least one of the steps from humble planet to interstellar civilisation is exceedingly unlikely. The absence could be caused because either intelligent life is extremely rare or intelligent life has a tendency to go extinct. This bottleneck for the emergence of alien civilisations from any one of the many billions of planets is referred to as the Great Filter.

Are we alone?

What exactly is causing this bottleneck has been the subject of debate for more than 50 years. Explanations could include a paucity of Earth-like planets or self-replicating molecules. Other possibilities could be an improbable jump from simple prokaryotic life (cells without specialised parts) to more complex eukaryotic life – after all, this transition took well over a billion years on Earth.

Proponents of this "Rare Earth" hypothesis also argue that the evolution of complex life requires an exceedingly large number of perfect conditions. In addition to Earth being in the habitable zone of the sun, our star must be far enough away from the galactic centre to avoid destructive radiation, our gas giants must be massive enough to sweep asteroids from Earth's trajectory, and our unusually large moon stabilises the axial tilt that gives us different seasons.

These are just a few prerequisites for complex life. The emergence of symbolic language, tools and intelligence could require other such "perfect conditions" as well.

Or is the filter ahead of us?

While emergence of intelligent life could be rare, the silence could also be the result of intelligent life emerging frequently but subsequently failing to survive for long. Might every sufficiently advanced civilisation stumble across a suicidal technology or unsustainable trajectory? We know that a Great Filter prevents the emergence of prosperous interstellar civilisations, but we don't know whether or not it lies in humanity's past or awaits us in the future.

For 200,000 years humanity has survived supervolcanoes, asteroid impacts, and naturally occurring pandemics. But our track record of survival is limited to just a few decades in the presence of nuclear weaponry. And we have no track record at all of surviving many of the radically novel technologies that are likely to arrive this century.

Esteemed scientists such as Astronomer Royal Martin Rees at the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk point to advances in biotechnology as being potentially catastrophic. Others such as Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark and Stuart Russell, also with the Cambridge Centre, have expressed serious concern about the exotic but understudied possibility of machine superintelligence.

Let's hope Kepler-186f is barren

When the Fermi Paradox was initially proposed, it was thought that planets themselves were rare. Since then, however, the tools of astronomy have revealed the existence of hundreds of exoplanets. That just seems to be the tip of the iceberg.

But each new discovery of an Earth-like planet in the , such as Kepler-186f, makes it less plausible that there are simply no planets aside from Earth that might support life. The Great Filter is thus more likely to be lurking in the path between and flourishing civilisation.

If Kepler-186f is teeming with intelligent life, then that would be really bad news for humanity. For that fact would push back the Great Filter's position further into the technological stages of a civilisation's development. We might then expect that catastrophe awaits both our extraterrestrial companions and ourselves.

In the case of Kepler-186f, we still have many reasons to think might not emerge. The atmosphere might be too thin to prevent freezing, or the planet might be tidally locked, causing a relatively static environment. Discovery of these hostile conditions should be cause for celebration. As philosopher Nick Bostrom once said:

The silence of the night sky is golden … in the search for extraterrestrial life, no news is good news. It promises a potentially great future for humanity.

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Returners
1.1 / 5 (33) Apr 24, 2014
What exactly is causing this bottleneck has been the subject of debate for more than 50 years. Explanations could include a paucity of Earth-like planets or self-replicating molecules. Other possibilities could be an improbable jump from simple prokaryotic life (cells without specialised parts) to more complex eukaryotic life – after all, this transition took well over a billion years on Earth.


This is where evolutionists can be shown to be absurd.

The leap from Prokaryote to Eukaryote is so large as to be preposterous to suppose that it happens by accident, misfortune/fortune, or mere stimulus.

Look at this, starting with Prokaryote:
Remove Glycocalyx
Add Mitochondria* and/or Chloroplasts or equivalent structures
Add Nucleus.
Add Chromosomes.
Add ER and associated lipid transport sys
Add cell wall (plants, some microbes and other organisms)

Each of those steps is more complicated than going from random chemicals to a Prokaryote, with the possible exception of Chromosome
Returners
1.2 / 5 (33) Apr 24, 2014
The expectation that you are actually going to find a Eukaryote-like cell on another planet by random chance is simply unimaginably foolish. It's about as absurd as expecting to find a Pontiac Firebird sitting on a distant planet by random chance. It's just not going to happen.

If scientists ever find another type of life, an alien with eukaryote-like properties on another planet, and unrelated to us, it would be the strongest evidence of special creation that anyone could possibly imagine finding, short of God physically appearing to everyone and announcing himself to the world all at once...

I hope people don't actually expect to find actual "Eukaryotes" with Earth-like mitochondria in them, but if they do exist, you'd have to admit that is not random chance.

It would be absolutely the smoking gun of special creation of the universe and all life in it...

I'd like to find it, because it would expose atheists as the complete idiots that they are...
eric_in_chicago
1 / 5 (10) Apr 24, 2014
Why did Presidents Carter and Reagan both claim that they saw UFO's that were aerial vehicles that could not have been (based on flight characteristics) of human origin?

Reagan said it landed, something came out and told him to run for president. This was before his neurological condition set in.

Why?
Modernmystic
4.7 / 5 (17) Apr 24, 2014
It would be absolutely the smoking gun of special creation of the universe and all life in it...


No, it wouldn't. It would be a smoking gun in the sense that "this is just the way life happens". In the very same naturalistic sense that this is the way every other phenomena in the universe happens. The only "smoking gun" for special creation I can think of...well I really can't think of one at the moment.

I'd like to find it, because it would expose atheists as the complete idiots that they are...


Matthew 5:22
hurricane25
1.5 / 5 (10) Apr 24, 2014
I believe that on a world "intelligent life" tyipically develops unevenly(like our species) and a species has a choice...1. Do as we're doing and help the lesser and slowly devolve as the lesser will out produce the mores, or 2. will value higher iq probably do unspeakable things to the lesser. I believe most species will choose our course as compassion is a key trait to intelligence. The thing is the more developed portion normally gets destroyed and things turn around.

See how we threw our advancement into space away the past 40 years? What I am saying is the advancement societies(Europe, Japan, China, etc) will be wiped out as our attempts to equalize our world typically fails. We're being out bread 4-5 to one.
Returners
1 / 5 (18) Apr 24, 2014
Matthew 5:22

Psalm 14:1
Modernmystic
4.7 / 5 (12) Apr 24, 2014
Matthew 5:22

Psalm 14:1


Actually the Hebrew words that mean fool in Psalms translate as one who is morally deficient. It doesn't mean what you imply it means in this context.

But it is interesting that you take no responsibility for your lack of respect for other people, but instead try to make two "wrongs" into a "right in your own mind.
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (17) Apr 24, 2014
Why we haven't found alien intelligences if such exist:

1) Intelligences that are spacefaring will come in contact with one another
2) Intelligences that are spacefaring will have to (at least will want to) communicate with one another
this leads to:
3) Spacefaring intelligences will agree on some common modus operandi in some areas.

If such a modus operandi includes "leave non-spacefaring species alone" (which is plausible - just like birdwatching scientists make sure not to be noticed by the birds so as not to disturb them) then that's it: All the probability math we do about discovering other species goes out the window as it is now a deterministic process.
Returners
1.3 / 5 (12) Apr 24, 2014
We're being out bread 4-5 to one.


I assume you are talking about Africa and certain Mid and Far-Eastern Muslim countries...

http://www.iqtest...try.html

Look how low African and Islamic nations score...
OttJ
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2014
I think the article tilts a wee bit to the fear-mongering side, don't you think? Some of what was posited is decent enough: there are a whole lot of variables that contributed to us being here. Just because we found a planet means absolutely nothing.

With respect to finding life on other planets that are similar to life forms here: I would be really surprised if that did not happen. The universe has a funny way of finding solutions to problems and then using those solutions as templates for solving similar problems.

With respect to coming into contact with other civilizations: we are being a bit presumptuous. We have no idea what the probabilities are. Also, how do we know other species are willing to move from their homes in favor of floating around in some big ship (that solves the gravity problem, by the way). And what about tech? Once the first machine becomes the smartest thing on earth, we are done. This is a probable outcome in my opinion.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (7) Apr 24, 2014
On a related note let me pretend to be a crackpot for a change.

Please note in the following pic:
http://mars.jpl.n...DXXX.jpg

-a clump of fossilized seaweed
http://michael-tr...sea-weed

-as well as a little stack of pebbles which could only have been placed by a sentient or a god (whichever is smarter) with some sort of superglue.

-And in this one
http://mars.jpl.n...DXXX.jpg

-you will note the segmented Funisia dorothea fossil in the flat rock.
http://complex.li...node/129

-See Lrrkrr the earth is not the center of the universe.
Returners
1.6 / 5 (11) Apr 24, 2014
Once the first machine becomes the smartest thing on earth, we are done. This is a probable outcome in my opinion.


Not really. A brain is only as powerful as the access it has to other tools and resources. If you don't allow the machine direct access to keystone abilities and technologies then it can't threaten your life.

Example:

Don't let the super intelligence have direct access to manufacturing capabilities or food or resource management.

In the movie "transcendence", Will was able to grow exponentially because he had access to machines to keep making better versions of his own hardware, and eventually do biomedical/bio-mechanical research to develop nanotechnology and augmented biology to create new bodies for himself.

This can be prevented by not allowing command access from the super-intelligence, which this can also be prevented by hardware requiring physical locks...
dramamoose
4.2 / 5 (10) Apr 24, 2014
I think the point about other spacefaring civilizations leaving certain planets alone is extremely accurate. They would clearly be more advanced than us, and even as somewhat unadvanced beings we still worry about and regret destroying past cultures of peoples not as advanced technologically.

It could even be that faster than light travel is, in fact, completely impossible, and that terraforming is easier than travel, leading to civilizations colonizing very small portions of the galaxy in their local neighborhood and not expanding much further. If you weren't targeting a massively powerful transmitter at a very specific point, it's unlikely we'd just "overhear" alien communications, especially if they don't use the EM spectrum.

An additional possiblity is that these great engineering and communication projects exist, and we have discovered their properties but not their purpose. Pulsars come to mind, as do unexplainable supernovas.

Humanity isn't done quite yet.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (12) Apr 24, 2014
The expectation that you are actually going to find a Eukaryote-like cell on another planet by random chance is simply unimaginably foolish.
But Lrrrkrrrrrr

EVEN IF this were true, and it made any sense at all to jump to the conclusion that, because we dont YET know exactly how life arose, some creator god was in fact responsible, then this would in NO WAY mean that it was created by YOUR god. You know, the same god who described all those things in the bible that we KNOW never existed and never happened and never were?

Nor could we conclude that life was created by the same god who created a son who was his own father; nor the one who cares what foods we eat or whether our genitals are mutilated or not or who we have sex with and in what positions or whether our womenfolk can speak up in church or not or just how we go about selling our daughters into slavery. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Because THAT god has been DEBUNKED.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (6) Apr 24, 2014
The possibility that there might be a deist creator entity does give any theist the right to conclude that it was HIS particular god. And the evidence we have accrued over the last century about the books and the nonsense they describe, eliminates THAT possibility entirely.

Re the article, the only solution to the fermi paradox that makes any sense to me is that organic sentience is very quickly replaced by machine sentience. Machine singularities form which have no interest in conversing with anyone besides themselves, which they can do very efficiently.
Scottingham
5 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2014
Im with dramamoose and Antialias...

Faster than light travel is impossible. In order to get to speeds that are appreciable fractions of the speed of light relativity pretty much prohibits any contact with species that aren't going at least that fast.

Our entire civilization is but a mere instant from the perspective of the relativistic space traveler.

Perhaps if we get up to a decent speed ourselves we'll be contacted by another and will be able to set up a meeting place both in location and time. (Ship A goes 70% speed of light, Ship B goes 30%)
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.2 / 5 (10) Apr 24, 2014
Matthew 5:22

Psalm 14:1
Lets print out Lrrlrrs little missive against unbelievers...

"1 The fool says in his heart,
"There is no God."
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good."

Wiki 6:66
"Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust or hatred on the basis of a person's ethnicity, evaluative orientation, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, opinion, or other characteristics."

-The people who concocted your phony gods sought to exploit your natural propensity to distrust your neighbors for the purpose of destroying their enemies with your enthusiastic participation.
http://en.wikiped...errorism
Returners
1.3 / 5 (10) Apr 24, 2014
Try to imagine how big a ship needs to be in order to support 1000 people or so for 40 years it would take to reach the nearest stars at 0.1c, and how much energy it would take to accelerate and later "decelerate" the ship.

The ship needs to be 10s of thousands of times larger than the Space Shuttle, and would use many billions of times the energy for fuel.

It is obvious that you could Terraform Mars, totally, for far less resource investment, by using some combination of solar sails and solar-powered ion drives to move comets and other elemental resources around in the solar system at solar system velocities, compared to the insane waste of resources of accelerating a ship to 0.1c.

While it is not "impossible" to reach another star at 0.1c, the fact is we aren't going to see that done very often by the human race no matter how long we are here, unless something truly radically disruptive is discovered in physics...
Returners
1 / 5 (9) Apr 24, 2014
Ty put it in perspecitve, you'd need the energy equivalent of ~3.5 million gallons of gasoline to push just 1 kilogram payload up to 0.1c, or that would be how much you'd need to "brake" if you were moving 0.1c...

In order to get the ship and all of THAT fuel up to speed, you need another 3.5 million gallons per kilogram of ship plus braking stage fuel in the accelerating stage for fuel, which comes to a total of 186 trillion gallons of gasoline equivalent....per kilogram payload...

Your needed payload is somewhere around 70,000 times the mass of the space shuttle orbiter, in order to support 1000 people for 40 years...
adave
5 / 5 (6) Apr 24, 2014
We are making a mistake about our definition of intelligent life. Up until eight thousand years ago our species was unable to get out of the stone age. That stone age had a duration of at least 2.2 million years. We became intensely inventive only in the past few thousand years. Richard Leakey Jr. wrote in "Origins Revisited", that our greatly changed behavior observed in any other species would be the emergence of a new species. This is consistent with catastrophic evolution. Our aliens would have to be like intensely inventive humans. The other aware creatures on the earth are not. Hundreds of thousands or millions of years in the future other intelligent life will arise from our hands or from natural genetics. You can have life without the filter. Our modern life could have occurred during Greek, Roman or Arabic times but did not. We have only invented and found the Universe in the past few decades. Our death is driven by the greed of the few. It is not the will of the many.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (9) Apr 24, 2014
Try to imagine how big a ship needs to be in order to support 1000 people or so for 40 years it would take to reach the nearest stars at 0.1c, and how much energy it would take to accelerate and later "decelerate" the ship
Well if they were religious they would be ascribing to Psalm 127:3-5 and Genesis 1:28, and would devolve into warring factions which would end up consuming each other before they ever got anywhere, wouldnt they?

Luke 22:19-20
http://www.thecat...ism.html
http://en.wikiped...er_Party
Returners
1.6 / 5 (9) Apr 24, 2014
There is another way to move human life and the entire biosphere to another planet, not in bulk, but in miniature.

Quite simply, the Titan A.E, "Modern Ark" concept is how it would be done for a far lower price.

You put many copies of a digitized DNA code of many individual specimens of every species that ever lived, as well as an atomically precise blueprint of gametes (or other most basic cell) of all of these including humans, in a ship full of computers and all the fully automated machinery required to recreate life from nothing but this information, and materials it will find on the destination planet. Additionally, all human knowledge is sent with the computer, in order to teach the human clones who they are and what their purpose is.

Advantages here:

-No food needed.
-speed is less important, so max speed might be 1/100 or even 1/1,000 of light speed.
-No water or oxygen needed.
-No recycling needed
-No environmental control needed
-low energy, w/ non-volatile memory comp..
Scottingham
5 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2014
Returners, your energy requirements are right, but using gasoline for comparison falls way short. Think nuclear-level energies.

Fission/Fusion can get crazy amounts of energy from breaking or combining the atoms together.

Hydrogen fusion helps to solve the initial mass problem, and there is a fair amount of interstellar hydrogen to keep the whole thing going. Although, you'd need to scoop them up with a giant (seriously, moon level huge) laser/funnel combination.

Perhaps start off with a large amount of fissile material. You convert the mass directly to energy so you're mass decreases as you accelerate. Then switch to fusion when those stores run low.

Not sure how, but it'd be neat to be able to extract mass from velocity of the ship (ie momentum energy) to slow down the ship.
Caliban
5 / 5 (6) Apr 24, 2014
Another point that always gets overlooked during these speculations is that, life, as defined for the purpose of this debate, must be essentially human in nature, and arise upon an earthlike planet in the habitable zone around a star.

I agree that this is probably the only type of (intelligent) life we can empirically describe, but this doesn't rule out other possibilities, just as tool-use/technology doesn't of necessity constitute intelligence --just "human-like" intelligence.

Furthermore --if we are going to constrain "intelligent life" to be essentially human-like, then that also constrains its evolutionary environment to be earthlike.

As we all are aware, the humanity has been nearly wiped out more than once, and our planetary environment should be understood to be "high risk" in terms of catastrophic threats, which would also necessarily obtain in most similar "habitable zone" extraterrestrial planetary environments.

But we expect to find intelligent life right next door?
Caliban
4.6 / 5 (11) Apr 24, 2014
As far as the question as to why we haven't been contacted by intelligent life is concerned --why would any advanced life form want or need to contact us?

If such beings are capable of interstellar --or intergalactic-- travel, then it follows that they are advanced enough to supply their own needs, and wouldn't have to rely on us --directly-- for anything.

Making contact would only be the result of either curiosity or some type of psychopathic, megalomaniac drive for conquest or extermination. How's that for "Good News and Bad News"?

And, of course --there is the possibility that contact already has or is occurring.

This is an area where the old saw exactly applies: Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

Assigning some negative meaning to this current lack of evidence betrays the patience of a child and the attention span of a gnat.
Returners
1 / 5 (7) Apr 24, 2014
If an intelligent civilization was 1000 light years away and had advanced at the exact same rate as us in every respect, our first television broadcasts would still be ~920 years from reaching them and vice-versa. Moreover, I am sure that the broadcasts would likely be too weak and disassociated to be meaningful when they arrive at their planet.

The other assumption that is wrong is when people think there might be a more advanced civilization somewhere relatively nearby in the galaxy.

In all likelihood, we are the most advanced species in the galaxy. They talk about the aliens being thousands or millions of years ahead of us? bull. In all likelihood, if aliens exist, we are just as likely to be the ones who are thousands or millions of years ahead of them, (Biblical Angels and such not included I guess).

We should be able to detect a type 2 civilization. Civilizations do not abandon communications media just because something more advanced is developed. It stays around anyway.
Returners
1 / 5 (6) Apr 24, 2014
So if there was a type 1 or type 2 civilization very close to us, we'd notice them somehow.

Type 1:
They would be a bit more advanced than us, but they'd still have radio and other EM communications. We'd detect that with SETI or our other radio telescopes.

Type 2 (True with Dyson Swarm/Sphere:
We'd detect the spectral red shift effect from infrared due to waste heat, and/or transits of these megastructures around the host star...

Type 2: Interstellar, w/ no Dyson Sphere/Swarm in any one system:
They'd most likely be using very powerful EM communication, which we'd detect any stray signals. Otherwise they'd be using something like Quantum Entanglement or wormholes, we might not be able to detect the entanglement, but we might be able to detect wormholes...
It seems unlikely that a civilization could be interstellar and not have Dyson Swarms, since those are easier to make than an interstellar colony ship...We'd probably detect any realistic "warp" drive via LIGO...
Returners
1 / 5 (6) Apr 24, 2014
What if WE are the Master Race?
What if WE have dominion over pretty much everything, just like the Earth?

Maybe it is WE who get to seed intelligent life on other planets, and make Romulans, Vulcans, and Klingons, all with neat little bar-coded messages in their DNA telling them we were here first...
Huns
5 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2014
"We haven't heard any RF signals we deem (in our opinion) unusual or mechanistic for the cosmic nanosecond we've been listening for them, nor are green aliens cracking whips over us, therefore there is no intelligent life."

What if there is intelligent life, with RF generation technology, but it wasn't generating any at the right time and distance for us to have heard it in the last few decades? What if they used RF, but stopped 5,000,000 years too soon for SETI to hear it - for example, what if they switched to quantum entangled particles, directed RF (not pointing at us), coherent light, etc.? What if the environment on their planet is nasty enough to require intelligence, but not enough to demand high tech (they never discovered electricity or Leyden jars, etc.)? What if they did have high tech, but regressed (deliberately or otherwise) to a preindustrial society? What if their entire race is digitized in one "computer" and doesn't need/want to send RF transmissions anywhere?
Huns
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2014
What if WE are the Master Race?
What if WE have dominion over pretty much everything, just like the Earth?

What if being religious is a case of having Stockholm syndrome, and all this dreck about evolution being "wrong" is because you prefer defending lies and going to Heaven over defending the truth and going to Hell? Personally, I would lie all day long if I seriously believed that telling the truth would lead to eternal punishment. I wouldn't go up against a pandimensional space being who could punish me forever, not for any truth, not if 500 tons of evidence were laid at my feet. Would you?
dvdrushton
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2014
we aren't going to see that done very often by the human race no matter how long we are here, unless something truly radically disruptive is discovered in physics...


You just use dilithium - until it's time to engage the warp drives - then the matter/antimatter drives take over. You have to be careful to avoid a breach of the containment core. I thought everyone knew that.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2014
Personally, I would lie all day long if I seriously believed that telling the truth would lead to eternal punishment. I wouldn't go up against a pandimensional space being who could punish me forever...
@Huns
so... you would break a fundamental law of said "pandimensional space being" which would garner you eternal punishment for the sake of avoiding eternal punishment? This is the folly of religion
In all likelihood, we are the most advanced species in the galaxy
this speculation is completely without merit, especially in conjunction with
We should be able to detect a type 2 civilization
because it makes an assumption that all technology is like our own, or that it is equivalent to what we have. Lately, our own technology is working towards efficiency, which uses less power for more/better accuracy. True, no advanced civilisation will abandon communication, but we cannot also assume they communicate the same way that we do either...
to be continued
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2014
if we look at the argument from Dr. Tyson here : http://www.wimp.c...enhuman/ and take it into consideration, it should change our entire outlook on intelligence as well as what aliens might be considering. Even with the fact that the numbers are slightly off (being that we have a better adjusted number of different DNA from chimps now).
Given that argument, it is entirely possible that we are surrounded by alien communication and we cannot decipher it.
Otto has a good point too. It is entirely possible that aliens have entered into a technological sentience and that biological aliens might not truly exist as space-faring entities. Although I don't prescribe to that particular outlook (mostly out of ego or a desire to be self aware as long as possible) it is very logical. I can admit my desire to remain alive and biological is due to an irrational fear, but I also believe this is inherent in the species as well...
to be continued
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2014
all in all, this may be the only possibility that CAN be logically used because of the capabilities of survival in space are limited to biological species especially given out limitations and need for gravity and other things that must be taken with us for all space travel.
is it possible that space-faring species can be biological? possible, yes. but even humans are at the point now that they understand that mechanical probes are more likely to succeed than human exploration due to the hostility of space. Otherwise we would already be on mars or even the moon IMHO.
I feel if biological species are space-faring, it is far more likely that they are ignoring us as the roach in the corner (ignorant but with potential for survival) more than anything else. Communication would be difficult especially at first because we cannot even communicate with the CHIMP, let alone the roach, and considering Dr. Tysons vid above, that is a HUGE consideration with intelligent life to take into account
Drjsa_oba
not rated yet Apr 25, 2014
This article starts of with "habitable " which is a long way from the truth. What they meant I hope was potentially habitable by Humans. These addition of potentially makes the world of difference. Pun unintended.

The other key points of this story relate to the problems of if we can do it so can they. Although completely true this is another "potentially" situation.

As pointed out by many comments above - just because something can be done does not mean it will be done. The so called filters may be more numerous than has been considered.
Drjsa_oba
not rated yet Apr 25, 2014
1 Filters of surviveability of the intelligent race is - to advance to a level of ability without becoming extinct.
2 Then we have desire. Does an intelligent race have the collective desire to go technological just because they can.
3 Then we have coincidence of concurrence in that they and we have to exist at the same relative time.

Even on this planet if you take away the humans do we have a candidate on the horizon to take our place?

Before the great extinction events in the past - were there any technological advanced species?

Dinosaurs had 100's of millions of years - to go techno. and didn't.
Drjsa_oba
not rated yet Apr 25, 2014
Even humans may not have ever advanced much beyond throwing sticks and spears - even given more 1000's of years - if it was not for assistance of geography (large continent) and climate change.
marraco
not rated yet Apr 25, 2014
Is reasonable to assume that we are nothing special.

So the galaxy should be full of civilizations.

It follows logically that the sample should include warriorlike species. The others have 3 choices: escape, fight or die.

Galactic wars should be the most common outcome, and we should be surrounded by the ruins of countless civilizations.

That's the logic outcome from "we are nothing special". The real question should be why we survived the wars.
Maybe our butchers are already on the road to here. Maybe Sun's oscillation around the galactic plane temporarily isolated us from the last war. Maybe we were not prioritary enough to be wiped.
aksdad
5 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2014
this discovery also slightly increases how much credence we give to the possibility of near-term human extinction.

Or not.

I didn't see the obvious suggestion that even if the universe is teeming with intelligent life but inhabited planets are hundreds of light years apart, it is virtually impossible to detect others--much less communicate with them. A little math and General Relativity explains this. No doomsday scenarios required.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2014
RF signals:
a) there may be something better that is related to space travel (so no one out there may be using them)
b) even our stray signals are too weak to detect far out (even by theoretically optimal amplifiers) - and our technology is getting more power efficient, so we're becoming less visible over time in the RF spectrum
c) if someone is using RF they're using DIRECTED communications becaused anything else would be wasteful (read: dumb) over cosmic distances. In that case the universe could be full of chatter, but since we're not part of the network we don't get any.
d) if you have the power to move at a fraction of c then it's better to go somewhere and take a look rather than set up a beacon and be at the mercy of the goodwill of whatever may see it. You may just be putting up a 'free food here' sign (j/k).
vlaaing peerd
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
I could think of a number of reasons, which I believe still holds up with current knowledge.

1. the "starfleet code of conduct" mentioned by Antialias P.
2. close to light speeds are maybe indeed impossible to reach. Yet I think 0.2 ~ 0.3C should be possible, making it at least possible to fly to stars within a 5~10ly distance.
3. our planet could be hard to find or just perhaps in a desolated neighbourhood.
4. Life doesn't need to be intelligent or spacefaring to survive, perhaps intelligence isn't so common, on earth we are still the only one.
5. traveling in space might be extremely dangerous to planetary bound life.
6. the nearest salien life could simply be too far away.

Aksdad point is valid, lightspeed communication is actually too slow to communicate over +10LY.

we should not assume:
- that there is need to reach an exoplanet within a lifetime (in reply to Antialias Physorg).
- that aliens have the same life-span as ours, they could become as old as Metusalem
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2014
- that there is need to reach an exoplanet within a lifetime

Completely agree. However we should also not assume that beings that can survive for such lengths of time in space (i.e. more than their 'lifetime') even want to go back to living on planets. Why would they?

But as to the article: I'm getting to be convinced that arguing about ET using probabilistic measures (be they the Drake equation or whatnot) is fundamentally wrong.
Stochastic processes used here presuppose a memoryless and independently random process of life (or its effects) being visible to us.

Neither of these two aspects hold true as soon as advanced life starts to go spacefaring.
(Intelligent) life can actively decide to modify its past behavior (e.g. become more or less visible). So it's not a memoryless process.
Intellgient life can interact. So it's not a independently random process.
AJW
not rated yet Apr 25, 2014
A lot of opinion, very little science.
Modernmystic
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2014
The faster than light argument is a red herring. They can send Von Neumann probes at sublight speeds that would "colonize" (or at least give evidence of their existence) the entire galaxy in tens of millions of years.

The Fermi Paradox is still on quite solid ground.
marcush
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
If our reaction so far to climate change is typical then everything is making perfect sense....
Modernmystic
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 25, 2014
If our reaction so far to climate change is typical then everything is making perfect sense....


Actually we can survive a 12 degree increase in temperature. During the PETM mammals flourished and it was 12 degrees hotter than it is now. So, we've actually got some time to survive AGW as a SPECIES. That's not to say it isn't going to create a hell of a lot of havoc on civilization if we have a 2-3 degree rise...

I'd be very surprised if in 40 years we don't have mature nanotechnology and don't really need the Earth to survive...again as a species.

Note to ALL the reactionaries out there. I'm NOT saying we don't need to do anything and I'm NOT saying "screw the Earth we don't need it"...I'm simply pointing out what will be possible and an estimate of when.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
They can send Von Neumann probes at sublight speeds that would "colonize" (or at least give evidence of their existence) the entire galaxy

For what point and purpose? Yes, vonNeumann probes would expand exponentially, but there's only so many probes you need per solar system to gather data (and why would they be large/make themselves obvious?)
Sending 'unlimitedly replicating probes' would be extremely stupid - and I don't think spacefaring intelligences are stupid.

The 'colonizing' argument makes no sense at all to me. If you can live in space why terraform a planet?

Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2014
For what point and purpose? Yes, vonNeumann probes would expand exponentially, but there's only so many probes you need per solar system to gather data (and why would they be large/make themselves obvious?)
Sending 'unlimitedly replicating probes' would be extremely stupid - and I don't think spacefaring intelligences are stupid.


They'd send them out to get resources and use them for whatever purposes they have. It's not stupid, that's YOUR opinion and you putting human motivations on an alien intelligence. I think that in 4 billion years ONE of them for whatever reason would have done it. They haven't. Moreover we don't see engineering of ANY kind no matter how far our or where we look. You mean to tell me not ONE of the supposed trillions of species has never done that...ever..ever ever ever?

Again the Fermi paradox is still a big problem for those who believe there might be intelligent life out there.
BaconBits
5 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2014
Cool article. Quirky discussion.

Taking the chain of events that led to our evolution and determining they are unlikely with a sample size of 1 is very difficult to justify. At present detecting ET is greatly limited by our measurement and detection technology and I wouldn't put much weight in the lack of signal detection. Look at how many iterations of technology were required to detect minute nuances in the CMB.

Distance is handled by greater instrument sensitivity and clever instrument design. Of, course, not knowing what kind of signal to measure for is what makes the ET search incredibly hard and not directly comparable to the CMB.

On the flipside, it's surprisingly easy to show that once a civilization gets a little more advanced than we are (100-200 years more advanced) they quickly develop the capability to populate the galaxy without requiring major new scientific breakthroughs. Can all be done from efficiency and automation gains in existing technology.
BaconBits
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
Cool article. Quirky discussion.

Taking the chain of events that led to our evolution and determining they are unlikely with a sample size of 1 is very difficult to justify. At present detecting ET is greatly limited by our measurement and detection technology and I wouldn't put much weight in the lack of signal detection. Look at how many iterations of technology were required to detect minute nuances in the CMB.

Distance is handled by greater instrument sensitivity and clever instrument design. Of, course, not knowing what kind of signal to measure for is what makes the ET search incredibly hard and not directly comparable to the CMB.

On the flipside, it's surprisingly easy to show that once a civilization gets a little more advanced than we are (100-200 years more advanced) they quickly develop the capability to populate the galaxy without requiring major new scientific breakthroughs. Can all be done from efficiency and automation gains in existing technology.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
On the flipside, it's surprisingly easy to show that once a civilization gets a little more advanced than we are (100-200 years more advanced) they quickly develop the capability to populate the galaxy without requiring major new scientific breakthroughs. Can all be done from efficiency and automation gains in existing technology.


^^^This, a thousand times this.
tadchem
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
This gloomy argument is not considering the prerequisites for interstellar civilisation, above and beyond those for intelligent life. Communication speeds between 2 or more planets are limited to SOL. A dialog between 2 planets X light years apart would take 2*X years per exchange. If this exceeds the life span of one of the participating species, conversations would get even more awkward than a CNN Atlanta airing of a live on-the-spot report from Indonesia.
Also, it is hard to have a civilization without trade and travel. Maybe they just never worked out a means of interstellar travel.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2014
They'd send them out to get resources and use them for whatever purposes they have.

Name one such conceivable purpose.
The 'megastructures' os often encountered in SciFi are cool - but make no sense. Intelligent behaviour tends towards more efficient use of resources (which means SMALLER not bigger). Long haul spacefreight on works on TV.
you putting human motivations on an alien intelligence.

Quite the opposite. I'm removing the bias that everyone seems to have which is: "future huamns will be like today's humans only with more tech". That seems excessively naive. It's portrayed like that in the movies so that you have something to relate to - but it's not something that matches with observed evidence.

The Fermi Paradox isn't a paradox at all. It's just using simplifications/assumptions from a human bias view that aren't merited.
sstritt
not rated yet Apr 25, 2014
Wouldn't discovery of a civilization on Kepler 186-f elliminate the Fermi Paradox altogether?
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2014
Name one such conceivable purpose.


You're asking me to put a human motivation to a super advanced alien civilization? Really?

The 'megastructures' os often encountered in SciFi are cool - but make no sense.


Correction, they make no sense to YOU.

Intelligent behaviour tends towards more efficient use of resources (which means SMALLER not bigger). Long haul spacefreight on works on TV.


Application of human ideas, trends, and mores to aliens...tsk tsk tsk

Quite the opposite. I'm removing the bias that everyone seems to have which is: "future huamns will be like today's humans only with more tech". That seems excessively naive.


That's a lovely human, western European cultural bias...now what does that have to do with aliens?

It's just using simplifications/assumptions from a human bias view that aren't merited.


Well a lot of very intelligent people think otherwise...including the genius Fermi himself. However, you're welcome to your opinion.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2014
The 'megastructures' os often encountered in SciFi are cool - but make no sense. Intelligent behaviour tends towards more efficient use of resources (which means SMALLER not bigger). Long haul spacefreight on works on TV
@AA_P
I have to support this conclusion with this: it's also what we "know" and are familiar with on Earth... we have long haul truckers etc wiling to sacrifice time/family etc in order to sit in a truck all day and see new horizons daily
future humans will be like today's humans only with more tech
it is difficult to step outside this paradigm for many people and attempt to look at another viewpoint that is so utterly foreign to them, which is why so many people disagree on simple things and why religion is so popular. Take Germany vs the US in personal space. the US needs much more room whereas Germans (and most Europeans) dont mind being a little closer... a simple cultural difference but utterly disturbing for some
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
The 'megastructures' os often encountered in SciFi are cool - but make no sense

Correction, they make no sense to YOU
@MM
I can see his point though. Our modern tech is striving for smaller and more efficient technology, not larger and bulkier... we tend to advance/push towards familiar horizons in this case, so we can extrapolate into the future with that bias in mind and it works (for modern humans anyway)
although I can also see the making of a huge ship for long haul transport to save a civilization, like in Battlestar Galactica or something, It is unlikely mostly due to the power requirements to move that kind of mass and make quick adjustments
Application of human ideas, trends, and mores to aliens
its all we have to work with without another point of view. its hard to step outside our own beliefs to speculate... after all, we say there could't be intelligent aquatic spacefaring civ. because making fire underwater etc etc etc...
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2014
we have long haul truckers etc wiling to sacrifice time/family etc in order to sit in a truck all day and see new horizons daily

Exactly. Transposing trucks into space makes little sense. Especially in the light of 3D printing (which WE already have). The step to 3D DEconstruction (and reuse on an atomic level) isn't that outrageous. At that point 'ferrying in raw materials' becomes obsolete.

There could be a gazillion probes sleeting through our solar system right now and we'd never know. I find it not plausible to assume they'd be as big as moons so that we could spot them (or have 'fiery exhausts'). Space is big (how big is something most people underestimate to an enormous degree), and our ability to see anything in it that doesn't give off copious amounts of radiation is still very limited.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2014
and our ability to see anything in it that doesn't give off copious amounts of radiation is still very limited.


We could spot asteroids about 1 kilometer in diameter before they hit Jupiter.

There could be a gazillion probes sleeting through our solar system right now and we'd never know.


Could? Sure.

As a slight aside ever heard of a Bracewell probe?
Stop
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
It's so nice to filter out these creationist and other anti-science comments.
eric_in_chicago
5 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2014
A.A. right!

And, with our just beginning to design circuits that use quantum entanglement with no imagination as to what would be the next level beyond that, it's quite a bit of anthropomorphic hubris to assume we can expect to discover re-run triple-breasted baywatch on transmitted FM radio from 10,000 years ago.

Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2014
It's so nice to filter out these creationist and other anti-science comments.


I just wish you could filter by user too.
randomwalk_
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
There could be a gazillion probes sleeting through our solar system right now and we'd never know. I find it not plausible to assume they'd be as big as moons so that we could spot them (or have 'fiery exhausts'). Space is big (how big is something most people underestimate to an enormous degree), and our ability to see anything in it that doesn't give off copious amounts of radiation is still very limited.


thought the same, the limited scope our instruments have in picking up any relevant signal from the background noise only means we should give it another one or two decades before jumping to conclusions. we know nothing about the physical presence advanced intelligence would generate.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
As a slight aside ever heard of a Bracewell probe?

Yeah. But I can't really see the sense in them.

We could spot asteroids about 1 kilometer in diameter before they hit Jupiter.

Yes. Asteroids that made absolutely no attempt at camouflage and were HUGE. If we're talking advanced species why would you suppose their probes would be that big. It'd be more likely to be on the cubic millimeter scale. Much more efficient.
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2014

Yeah. But I can't really see the sense in them.


Well anything that you or I think about them is going to be anthropomorphized, but out of curiosity why do you think they make no sense. I think they'd make perfect sense given the limitations of relativity.

Yes. Asteroids that made absolutely no attempt at camouflage and were HUGE.


You and I have different definitions of huge relative to space and our ability to spot things. I think that an ability to spot something that small at that distance is actually quite impressive.

If we're talking advanced species why would you suppose their probes would be that big. It'd be more likely to be on the cubic millimeter scale. Much more efficient.


Who knows, again we're anthropomorphizing. I tend to agree with you, but an advanced alien with virtually no limitations with materials or energy could find, for whatever reason, that making one as large as Pluto makes more sense to them.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2014
For what point and purpose? Yes, vonNeumann probes would expand exponentially, but there's only so many probes you need per solar system to gather data (and why would they be large/make themselves obvious?)
Sending 'unlimitedly replicating probes' would be extremely stupid - and I don't think spacefaring intelligences are stupid
Uh self-replicating machines need not replicate endlessly nor do they have to be only one type of machine.

"...unlikely that this would all be contained within a single structure, but would rather be a group of cooperating machines or an automated factory that is capable of manufacturing all of the machines that comprise it."
trucks into space makes little sense
If by truck you mean matter mover, there is a great and pressing need to move all menacing matter in the form of asteroids and comets from impact trajectories. That is perhaps the first large-scale thing we will do in space.

And we will do it with some form of matter mover ie truck.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2014
Matter movers can be used to terraform planets by purposely dropping matter onto them. Kim stanley robinson proposed using equatorial asteroid impacts to spin mars up to an earthlike day/night cycle.
Why live on planets??
Because its easier and more comfortable to live on planets. If humans continue to exist for any length of time they will by and large prefer to do so where they have gravity, standing water, cool, breezes, foliage, and the possibility of open space and privacy. This all is much easier to accomplish on, or below the surface of, planets.

The question is 'why would they want to leave the surface?' Smart machines wil soon be able to do anything that needs to be done in space; moving, mining, and processing asteroids and comets, constructing power stations, etc,
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2014
I just wish you could filter by user too
you can, just not automatically with the slider tool built into the site. It's called ignore the comments you dont want to respond to :-)
We could spot asteroids about 1 kilometer in diameter before they hit Jupiter
how would we filter out the background noise of asteroids/debris/trash/etc if the probe is, say, only a few feet accross? We just put cracker size probes into orbit http://phys.org/n...bit.html and if we extrapolate alien tech based upon our own means of manufacturing, then we can assume that aliens will have probes just as small and evenmore functional than ours

tracking something THAT small around a solar system would be a nightmare, as we have issues just tracking our own debris around our own planet

I can see AA_P's point about not knowing about probes in our own solar system
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
As a slight aside ever heard of a Bracewell probe?
here is another aside to consider... why would a spacefaring intelligent species contact the monkeys on our backwater planet? (hyperbole and satire in collusion with Hitchhikers guide reference)
I think they'd make perfect sense given the limitations of relativity
in the video I posted by Dr. Tyson, he brings a good point up. Our most brilliant physicists may just well be only on par with their kindergarten children! WHY would an intelligent species want to make contact unless they want pets or they like fresh meat, because I find it equally as difficult to assume that any intelligent species that is spacefaring is benign or wanting just to "spread the knowledge" (anthropomorphizing, I know, but I also reserve judgment until actions support the communication)

it is something to consider though. we could also be surrounded by attempts at communication but we are not advanced enough to see/hear/decipher them yet
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
You and I have different definitions of huge relative to space and our ability to spot things. I think that an ability to spot something that small at that distance is actually quite impressive
actually, this is VERY impressive, especially at our current level of technology... but it is MORE likely that probes sent to research our solar system/galaxy would be much smaller rather than even 1 mile across. (again, I may be anthropomorphizing too much)
but an advanced alien with virtually no limitations with materials or energy could find, for whatever reason, that making one as large as Pluto makes more sense to them
true. but why waste that much space/size? perhaps the function would dictate the size, like with our probes?
something Pluto sized would have to contain manufacturing/life support/etc IMHO as there is no reason to make a huge probe to do what a little one can do (resource limitations)
I know... anthropomorphizing

This is a great stimulating discussion though, thx
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
And we will do it with some form of matter mover ie truck
@Otto
I see where you are coming from, and it makes sense, but it is also a waste of energy to move something that can be easily avoided.
We consider matter movers/trucks because we are used to them, but WHY move an asteroid with an elliptical orbit that can be plotted and tracked when you can avoid all that with a simple slight trajectory change billions of miles out? (yeah, I know. for materials/resources)
If humans continue to exist for any length of time they will by and large prefer to do so where they have gravity
true unless we evolve differently in/under different conditions (example: space travel). but I also thing that given the symbiotic nature of our current relationship with technology we will likely stay on planets while we send machines to work for us.

Like you said... why leave the surface? its a very good point. Likely we will continue to share our relationship with technology IMHO
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2014
[If humans continue to exist for any length of time they will by and large prefer to do so where they have gravity true unless we evolve differently in/under different conditions


I think people tend to forget that we are not really subject to evolution anymore as natural or artificial selection is no longer working on our species. Genetic drift perhaps but not selection except for the gravest of diseases (stupidity in some cases). People who would have been incapable of successful reproduction even 100 years ago can easily have a family these days. Slow kids don't get eaten by tigers anymore, and the blind/disabled can have productive lives independently. So, IMHO I think it's a mistake to think we will adapt to space living any time soon short of direct and targeted alteration of our DNA. Naturally occurring factors have little impact on our survival and reproductive success anymore, and most people would consider it immoral to invoke artificial selection.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2014
So, IMHO I think it's a mistake to think we will adapt to space living any time soon short of direct and targeted alteration of our DNA

Yes, but I don't think we'll mess with DNA to do that. Everything about DNA is aimed at surface living at 1g (and all the other ubiquitous things on a planet which decidedly lack in space).

Better to design from scratch or dump bodies altogether.
After all: what is the point of a body in the end? Food, survival and sex. That's what it's honed for by evolution. None of these drives are needed if you want to live in space. There's no food there. Survival will have to come by artificial means (protective shells of craft or similar), and once you dump DNA (or can manufacture it at will) the procreation drive is no longer necessary, either.
The most 'space adapted' body would be a self repairing mechanism made of materials found in any debris there, and that can live on pure energy (e.g. solar or fusion) housing an intellect.
Huns
4.3 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2014
"Megastructures" - like what? Dyson spheres? Ringworlds? Making these things requires enormous quantities of matter. You would have to pulverize a solar system's worth of stuff to build one of these things, and to what end? We might like more land or to capture lots of energy, but why do aliens need to? Even assuming they can build a megastructure, how do WE see it from Earth? Unless it intermittently blocks starlight from the other side, how do we pick it up without a telescope the size of a planet, if at all?

What would make a species want to colonize? For us, it's resources and wanderlust. If an alien species has no trouble confining its population to available resources - unlike us, they don't reproduce with careless disregard - they need not exceed their homeworld's capacity to support them. If they don't share our wanderlust (or irresponsible reproduction and consumption of resources), they might not care even to leave orbit, much less colonize their system - let alone another.
Huns
not rated yet Apr 26, 2014
Further, if a species makes the decision, "Let's turn some or all of our homeworld into computronium, digitize ourselves, and live off geothermal heat and solar energy" - they could fit trillions of human-level intelligences in that computronium with ease. They could set up a hyperrealistic VR that simulates their "Brains" (whatever they think with) and functionally infinite space. Each member of such a species could be the ruler of an entire virtual galaxy, have a virtual spaceship that flies at 1x10^9999999999999999999C, and lives for a billion simulated years (which could occupy far less time in the real universe.) Hell, that could be US in a hundred years.
EnricM
5 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2014


This is where evolutionists can be shown to be absurd.



Sorry, but NOPE .

You are doing a mayor failure as you are de-facto accepting all the science behind planetary formation an all the science that has actually made it possible to detect exoplanets. And this implies a lot of things that don't match too well with creationism.

OR you can try to sell us an "old earth" creationism which doesn't makes much sense as there is an easier answer and in an extended period of time even with a creation and design and whatever you want natural selection would act anyway and therefore evolution as animal, platns and the whole ecosystem would have to adapt... or you would raise a whole wealth of new questions trying to explain how humanity has been on the planet for 4000 millions of years and why we are still here (which BTW contradicts the Great Filter hypothesis).

;)

EnricM
5 / 5 (2) Apr 26, 2014
Hell, that could be US in a hundred years.


And this is the moment the Canadians have been preparing for to invade your country with their hordes of bararian moose-riders, bwaahahaaa!

Returners
1 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2014
d) if you have the power to move at a fraction of c then it's better to go somewhere and take a look rather than set up a beacon and be at the mercy of the goodwill of whatever may see it. You may just be putting up a 'free food here' sign (j/k).


How is it reasonable to spend 10000 times more energy than humans have in our existence just for one one-way trip?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Apr 26, 2014
avoid all that with a simple slight trajectory change billions of miles out?
And as we are both aware there are many ways of doing this, many of which can be loosely defined as 'trucking'.
http://en.wikiped...rategies

I remember reading a 50s comic as a kid about cyborgs engineered to live on the moon. These were normal humans who had organs replaced and added, and wore a skintight pressure suit.
http://en.wikiped...ity_suit

-you could envision such a suit being printed on the skin and containing multiple layers to serve different functions. As this suit evolved and we became accustomed to wearing it, the parameters for terraforming mars for instance would be reduced. We might be able to take a stroll, kick the sand, feel the sun on our face and the breeze on our skin.
http://mars.jpl.n...37M_.JPG
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2014
None of these drives are needed if you want to live in space. There's no food there. Survival will have to come by artificial means (protective shells of craft or similar), and once you dump DNA (or can manufacture it at will) the procreation drive is no longer necessary, either.
-And very soon there will be very little need for humans, reengineered/augmented or not, to be there. You talk about building from scratch - we will be building intelligent machines to do all we need to do in space. The more capable and independent they become, the less need there will be for us to accompany them.

And there is no reason to assume that our numbers will continue to grow. Western culture has already achieved zero growth. Religions which force growth cannot survive the future. And so if we're not forced to inhabit uncomfortable niches, why bother?

And space IS very uncomfortable for anything but machines. Humanity would want to spend its retirement on a nice beach somewhere I should think.
freeiam
3 / 5 (2) Apr 26, 2014
It's difficult to understand cause and effect.
Statistics say nothing about a particular case.
freeiam
3 / 5 (2) Apr 26, 2014
Maybe news for you Otto1923, but we are machines, reinforced by Carbon we could beat all machines imaginable.
Returners
1 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2014
Even assuming they can build a megastructure, how do WE see it from Earth? Unless it intermittently blocks starlight from the other side, how do we pick it up without a telescope the size of a planet, if at all?


You see it because the star's spectra will be red-shifted to infrared. Waste heat escapes the megastructure, which can't be prevented due to second law. If you can see the star you should be able to tell the difference.

A "swarm" is much easier to build than a ring or sphere. We have enough material in our Asteriod belt to make many swarm structures, and collect enormous amount of material and energy from the Sun.

Why do this? You need something for fuel. You need ever increasing energy supplies for the super computers we keep building. You can do a lot with a solar array the size of a city, including directed energy for protection from comets and meteors, off-board propulsion for ships within the SS, and more, like terraforming and such.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Apr 26, 2014
Waste heat escapes the megastructure, which can't be prevented due to second law. If you can see the star you should be able to tell the difference
@returners
if we are talking about a swarm (per your next paragraph) then maybe yes, but IMHO I doubt that it would happen if a solid dyson sphere was constructed. IF they had the technology to construct said device, they would also most likely have ways/methods of utilizing waste heat and turn it into usable functional power. IMHO it only makes sense that any race that reaches the technological ability to make a dyson sphere would also be as efficient as possible (to me, anyway)
given that level of tech, it also makes sense to have the ability to mask/cloak/whatever you want to call it. Redirect the ability to see/track the sphere (anthropomorphizing here, I know, but it makes sense too, because we are learning about it now, so early in our technological development)
ShotmanMaslo
not rated yet Apr 27, 2014
If intelligent life is common in the galaxy and is anything even remotely similar to humanity we should already see lots of interstellar signals targeted at us, if not already being visited by them. The fact that we see none (altough I am not sure we can reliably detect them) does imply intelligent life is rare.

Fermi Paradox is the only real piece of evidence we have, negative evidence is still evidence. And it does seem to rule out Star Trek like universe.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 27, 2014
we should already see lots of interstellar signals targeted at us, if not already being visited by them.

Why?
Name one reason why they'd use EM (if something better is available)
Name one reason why they'd want to talk to humans
Name one reason why they'd want to make their presence known.

We have nothing they could possibly be interested in. Nothing.
toddjnsn
not rated yet Apr 27, 2014
Why would other civilizations, or shall I say populations, be so determined to explore the stars?

Like pointed out, the Dinos has millions of years to go tech -- and they didn't. So random accidents are a key ingredient to have a shot at a species developing. Just like a planet to have more than just microbial life, a planet's more likely going to have to have a setting that's not too paradise-like and not too crushing -- and better put, have variances to allow cultures and such to evolve which aims to allow science & invention to breed. We DID luck on our sides as pre-humans and modern-day humans to get to the point where invention & discovery pushed through. It's NOT a given, even with species about as intelligent as us.

In the end, it's not that popular to have us around. At all. I would bet $10,000 that there is/has been species of our caliber of discovery -- at some point in time / location. That doesn't mean you'll be able to communicate.
11791
Apr 28, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 28, 2014
Why would other civilizations, or shall I say populations, be so determined to explore the stars?

Survival for one (note: the dinos didn't. But until we are as successful as them we have quite a ways to go). Once you grow self aware and aware of the universe the notion of 'local disaster' gets to have a new meaning (local GBRs, asteroids, the sun burning out, etc. ). So spreading a bit seems prudent.

(Note that I don't think this means spreading to planets or other solid bodies. Once you are in space - in a form able to survive there indefinitely - there is very little reason to go planetside ever again).

Also there is the issue of other intelligent agents able to have an impact on your sphere of residence. It's a good idea to know who is out there and with what motive. Planet-locked species aren't interesting in that regard.
Operative word: 'know'. Not neccessarily 'make yourself known to'.

I would hazard that these notions are not unique to us.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2014
Looking at our lawyers and politicians, and some of the posts on this website, it is a fair bet that intelligent life has not evolved anywhere in our Universe yet.
prokosh
not rated yet Apr 28, 2014
Désolé, fausse manip, suite et fin : aucun risque de contact avec des peuples hyper-puissants sur le plan technologique, parce qu'ils se l'interdiront pour des raisons éthiques et par égoïsme collectif bien pensé : pour que l'univers soit le plus divers et le plus riche possible sur le plan civilisationnel.
The Alchemist
1 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2014
Planets with water in them may just have life underneath it. Hard to develop electronics underwater.
I think, however, they all discover fracking, there land is eroded away, and they die of beach front property syndrome.

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