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Life on Other Worlds

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Author Topic: Life on Other Worlds  (Read 187 times)
Jennie McGrath
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« on: January 21, 2007, 05:45:36 am »

The purpose of this topic is to investigate the idea of life on other worlds:

Which worlds are most likely to have life?
What do the ancient texts, psychics & NASA all say?

Let's all see.

Extraterrestrial life

Extraterrestrial life is life that may exist and originate outside the planet Earth. Its existence is currently hypothetical: there is as yet no evidence of extraterrestrial life that has been widely accepted by scientists.

Most scientists hold that if extraterrestial life exists, its evolution would have occurred independently in different places in the universe. An alternative hypothesis, held by a minority, is panspermia, which suggests that life in the universe could have stemmed from a single initial distribution of spores that provide the basis for living beings to develop. If true, this theory would suggest that life in various forms might exist throughout the universe.

Speculative forms of extraterrestrial life range from humanoid and monstrous beings seen in works of science fiction to life at the much smaller scale of bacteria and viruses.

Extraterrestrial life forms, especially intelligent ones, are often referred to in popular culture as aliens or ETs. The putative study and theorisation of ET life is known as astrobiology or xenobiology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrial_life


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Jennie McGrath
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2007, 05:57:04 am »

Ancient and Early Modern ideas/Cosmic pluralism

Belief in extraterrestrial life may have been present in ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Sumer, although in these societies, cosmology was fundamentally supernatural and the notion of aliens is difficult to distinguish from that of gods, demons, and such. The first important Western thinkers to argue systematically for a universe full of other planets and, vicariously, possible extraterrestrial life were the ancient Greek writers Thales and his student Anaximander in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C.E. The atomists of Greece took up the idea, arguing that an infinite universe ought to have an infinity of populated worlds. Ancient Greek cosmology worked against the idea of extraterrestrial life in one critical respect, however: the geocentric universe, championed by Aristotle and codified by Ptolemy, privileged the Earth and Earth-life (Aristotle denied there could be a plurality of worlds) and seemingly rendered extraterrestrial life impossible.


Giordano Bruno, De l'Infinito, Univirso e Mondi, 1584When Christianity spread through the West the Ptolemaic system became dogma and although the Church never issued any formal pronouncement on the question of alien life [2], at least tacitly the idea was heretical. In 1277 the Bishop of Paris, Etienne Tempier did overturn Aristotle on one point: God could have created more than one world (given His omnipotence) yet we know by revelation he only made one. To take a further step and argue that aliens actually existed remained dangerous. The best known early-modern proponent of extra-solar planets and widespread life off Earth was Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake for this and other unorthodox ideas in 1600.

The Church, however, could not contain the storm that accompanied the invention of the telescope and the Copernican assault on geocentric cosmology. Once it became clear that the Earth was merely one planet amongst countless bodies in the universe the extraterrestrial idea moved towards the scientific mainstream. In the early 17th century the Czech astronomer Anton Maria Schyrleus of Rheita mused that "if Jupiter has…inhabitants…they must be larger and more beautiful than the inhabitants of the Earth, in proportion to the [size] of the two spheres;" he did not dare to confirm the existence of Jovian beings due to potential theological difficulties. Later, this bold step would be taken. William Herschel, the discoverer of Uranus, was one of many 18th-19th century astronomers convinced that our Solar System, and perhaps others, would be well populated by alien life. Other luminaries of the period who championed "cosmic pluralism" included Immanuel Kant and Benjamin Franklin. At the height of the Enlightenment even the Sun and Moon were considered candidates for hosting aliens. The Christian attitude towards extraterrestrials turned from denial to ambivalence. Theological criticisms had been partially stalemated by a critical counter-argument that had remained in the background since the pronouncements of 1277: God's omnipotence not only allowed for other worlds and other life, on some level it necessitated them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrial_life

Extraterrestrials and the Modern era
This enthusiasm towards the possibility of alien life continued well into the 20th century. Indeed, the roughly three centuries from the Scientific Revolution through the beginning of the modern era of solar system probes were essentially the highpoint for belief in extraterrestrials in the West: many astronomers and other secular thinkers, at least some religious thinkers, and much of the general public were largely satisfied that aliens were a reality. This trend was finally tempered as actual probes visited potential alien abodes in the solar system. The moon was decisively ruled out as a possibility, while Venus and Mars—long the two main candidates for extraterrestrials—showed no obvious evidence of current life. The other large moons of our system which have been visited appear similarly lifeless, though interesting geothermic forces observed (Io's volcanism, Europa's ocean, Titan's thick atmosphere) has underscored how broad the range of potentially habitable environments may be. Finally, the failure of NASA's SETI program to detect anything resembling an intelligent radio signal after four decades of effort has partially dimmed the optimism that prevailed at the beginning of the space age and emboldened critics who view the search for extraterrestrials as unscientific. [3]

Thus, the three decades preceding the turn of the second millenium saw a crossroads reached in beliefs in alien life. The prospect of ubiquitous, intelligent, space-faring civilizations in our solar system appears increasingly dubious to many scientists ("All we know for sure is that the sky is not littered with powerful microwave transmitters" in the words of SETI's Frank Drake). At the same time, the data returned by space probes and giant strides in detection methods have allowed science to begin delineating habitability criteria on other worlds and to confirm that, at least, other planets are plentiful though aliens remain a question mark.

Amongst the general public belief and interest in extraterrestrials remains high and skepticism towards galaxy-exploring alien civilizations is not shared by many individuals. At present, some enthusiasts in the topic believe that extraterrestrial beings regularly visit or have visited the Earth. Some think that unidentified flying objects observed in the skies are in fact sightings of the spacecraft of intelligent extraterrestrials, and even claim to have met such beings. Crop circle patterns have also been attributed to the actions of extraterrestrials, although many were later found to be hoaxes. While at least one recent scientific paper published in a respected, peer-reviewed, journal has urged a re-evaluation of the UFO phenomenon (Deardorff et al., 2005) [4], as of this time mainstream scientific opinion holds that such claims are unsupportable by the evidence currently available and unlikely to be true.

The possible existence of primitive (microbial) life outside of Earth is much less controversial to mainstream scientists although at present no direct evidence of such life has been found. Indirect evidence has been offered for the current existence of primitive life on the planet Mars; however, the conclusions that should be drawn from such evidence remain in debate.
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Brooke
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2007, 11:16:42 pm »

India space capsule returns to Earth
POSTED: 10:11 a.m. EST, January 22, 2007
Story Highlights• Orbiting capsule splashes down in the Bay of Bengal
• Capsule blasted into space on January 10
• This is India's first foray into deploying reusable spacecraft
• India plans for a lunar mission in 2008



CHENNAI, India (Reuters) -- India's space agency said on Monday an orbiting capsule had been successfully returned to Earth, marking a major step towards the development of a highly-prized manned space program.

The capsule was blasted into space as one of four payloads on January 10 from a launch pad 60 miles north of the southern city of Chennai. It splashed down in the Bay of Bengal 11 days later, boosting plans for a lunar mission in 2008.

"(It) landed in the Bay of Bengal ... as per schedule. The mission is a great success," said A. Subramoniam, head of the team that designed and built the capsule at the Indian Space Research Organization.

"This mission is a stepping stone to design and build our very own reusable spacecraft, and eventually (carry out) manned missions into space, too," he said.

Coast guard boats had already fished the capsule from the sea, another scientist said.

Though India has for years been building communication and remote-sensing satellites, this was its first foray into deploying reusable spacecraft, joining an elite club led by the United States, Russia, China, Japan and France.

The success of the mission is a morale booster for Indian space scientists who are busy preparing for the country's first unmanned lunar mission scheduled for launch in February 2008, to be powered by a locally built rocket.

India hopes to put an astronaut into space by 2014 despite limited funding for its fledgling programme.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/01/22/india.space.reut/index.html
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2007, 02:00:53 am »

Hubble's main camera shuts down -- again
POSTED: 3:43 p.m. EST, January 29, 2007
Story Highlights
• Main camera on popular space telescope shuts down over the weekend
 
BALTIMORE, Maryland (AP) -- The main camera on the popular Hubble Space Telescope shut down again over the weekend, the third outage in less than a year, NASA said Monday.

The orbiting observatory entered a protective "safe mode" Saturday morning. An initial investigation determined the backup power supply for the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the 16-year-old telescope had failed.

The ACS, installed in 2002, increased Hubble's vision greatly and has provided the clearest pictures yet of galaxy formation in the very early universe.

The Hubble was recovered from safe mode Sunday morning, and observations are expected to resume this week using the Hubble's other instruments. Engineers are also looking into whether the ACS can be switched back over to the primary power supply for operation in a reduced mode, NASA said in a statement.

The ACS had been switched over to the backup in June when its main power supply malfunctioned.
In September, the ACS automatically shut down again as operators were switching between two of its three instruments. Investigators believe debris stuck in a switch caused a voltage drop that shut down the instrument.

In October, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin announced the scheduling of a 2008 space shuttle mission to repair and upgrade the telescope.

Without the mission, batteries and stabilizing gyroscopes would run out of power near the end of the decade, bringing to an end the life of the popular space telescope.

The servicing mission is currently scheduled for September 2008, said Preston Burch, associate director and program manager for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/01/29/hubble.camera.ap/index.html

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Brooke
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2007, 02:38:55 am »

Scientist snoops in astronauts' journals
POSTED: 9:30 a.m. EST, January 30, 2007


 
 
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- Dear Diary, the astronauts write.
Well, maybe not in those exact words. But three times a week, the two U.S. astronauts aboard the international space station write down their secret thoughts in their personal journals.

They write about their moods, their whines, how they feel, what they miss, whether they're sick of the food or aren't getting along with their roommates up in space.

It may sound like high school, but it's really for science.
These diaries will be reviewed by a researcher in California who wants to measure how spending six months cooped up with just two other people at a time, 220 miles above Earth, can affect outlook and morale.

"It comes out looking like a gossip column, I'm sure," said astronaut Sunita Williams shortly before she arrived at the space station in December. "But the point is to identify characteristics that will make expeditions successful."

Williams and Michael Lopez-Alegria, the station's other current U.S. crew member, are told to be brutally honest. While astronauts also typically keep public journals that are available on NASA's Web site, these entries will be read only by Jack Stuster, a Santa Barbara, California-based researcher who has been downlinking space station journal entries once a month since 2003.

The results of Stuster's investigation will help NASA and other space agencies plan for and train astronauts for even longer stays on the moon and Mars in the future.

According to the Bioastronautics Roadmap, the document NASA uses for identifying and reducing risks in space, some U.S. and Russian crew members periodically fail to work well with each other.

"Interpersonal distrust, dislike, misunderstanding and poor communication have led to potentially dangerous situations, such as crew members refusing to speak to each other during critical operations, or withdrawing from voice communications with ground controllers," the Bioastronautics Roadmap said.

Often the gripes have to do with logistical issues and inefficiencies on the ground and in space.
The Russian cosmonauts appear to have a more antagonistic relationship with their mission controllers on the ground than Americans do, the U.S. astronauts have commented.

"Some of (the Russians) feel obligated to argue about every little thing," Stuster said. "But that might be more of a cultural thing."

Stuster, who has a doctorate in anthropology, breaks down the prose descriptions into measurable data by dividing the entries into 18 categories and noting whether the tone is positive, negative or neutral.

He also notes how many days into the mission the entry is made so he can divide the information into quarters of time. Astronauts suffer what might be described as the third-quarter blues; their positive entries drop during the third quarter of their stay. Stuster noticed a similar pattern in an earlier study he did of French doctors living in Antarctica.

Former astronaut Leroy Chiao, who lived at the space station in 2004 and 2005, found the journal-writing helpful.
"I used it almost as a therapy for myself -- if I were upset about something or frustrated, I'd write that out," Chiao said.

Sometimes those entries were long, he said.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/01/30/astronaut.diaries.ap/index.html

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Matt
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2007, 03:44:34 am »

Space station may get support past 2016 By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer
 


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -  NASA may fly its next-generation space vehicle to the international space station through 2020, four years longer than the agency had originally planned to fly to the outpost, an official said Tuesday.

 
NASA is now building the capsule-shaped Orion with the assumption that the spacecraft will visit the space station twice a year through 2020 to rotate out crews or service the orbiting lab.

"We're going to assume that the station carries on," said Jeff Hanley, manager of NASA's Constellation Program, which is developing the vehicle and rockets to go to the moon and later to Mars.

Astronauts are scheduled to start flying Orion by 2014, about four years after the space shuttles are grounded permanently in 2010.

NASA and its international partners hope to finish construction on the space station in 2010.

No decision has been made to extend the space station's operation past 2016, but NASA wanted to make sure Orion could fly to the station past that year in case the outpost remains in use, said NASA spokeswoman Kylie Clem.

"We're focused on assembly right now, but at the same time, we're also able to look ahead," Clem said.

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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2007, 08:14:52 am »

Mercury - underground inhabitants.

Venus - inhabited

Earth - inhabited

Mars - Underground inhabitants.

Tiamat/asteroid belt - uninhabitable.

Jupiter -  doubtful, the moons most likely.

Saturn - inhabited

Uranus - inhabited

Neptune - inhabited

Pluto-Charon - inhabited

Nibiru - inhabited

Y - inhabited

Z - inhabited.
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Volitzer
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2007, 08:17:04 am »

If a way to the moon could be devised in which it would only take under a day to get there would anyone here go?
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Matt
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2007, 01:31:29 am »

I sure would.

"To the moon, Alice!"

- Jackie Gleason, "the Honeymooners"
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2007, 01:33:02 am »

One small step for man, one giant leap for womankind

POSTED: 8:57 a.m. EST, February 5, 2007
Story Highlights
• NEW: Female astronaut has spent more time in space than any other woman
• NEW: Sunita Williams of the U.S. spacewalked for 22 hours and 27 minutes
• She and crew mate upgraded international space station's cooling system
• Williams and Michael Lopez-Alegria will do third spacewalk Thursday

 
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams has now spent more time in space than any other woman, setting the record on Sunday as she and a crew mate upgraded the international space station's cooling system.

Williams broke the previous female spacewalking record of more than 21 hours when she and Michael Lopez-Alegria completed the second of what could be a precedent-setting three spacewalks in nine days.

The new record is 22 hours and 27 minutes.
During the spacewalk, which lasted more than seven hours, small amounts of toxic ammonia leaked from a fluid line.
The liquid ammonia, which freezes into flakes when it hits the vacuum of space, did not appear to touch either astronaut.

Mission Control told them to continue their task of hooking up ammonia fluid lines from a temporary cooling system to a permanent one.

Once they were back in the space station's airlock, Mission Control made the astronauts test for contamination. The test was negative.

A tiny bit of ammonia also leaked during Lopez-Alegria's and Williams' first spacewalk Wednesday. Mission Control ordered them to take precautions since ammonia could cause respiratory problems for the three-person crew if enough of it got into the space station.

"They look like pinpoints," Lopez-Alegria said of the flakes Sunday. "They don't look like what we saw the other day, but they are coming out with some velocity."

Lopez-Alegria and Williams hooked up the permanent cooling system, covered an obsolete radiator that was retracted by remote control from the ground and stowed a fluid line that was connected to an ammonia reservoir.

They then moved on to other jobs ahead of schedule: removing a sun shade, photographing a solar array that will be retracted during space shuttle Atlantis' mission next month and making electrical connections for a new system that will allow power from the station to be shared with a docked shuttle.

Lopez-Alegria originally was supposed to jettison the sun shade, but NASA engineers instead had him fold it up and stow it away inside the space station.

The third spacewalk is set for Thursday, marking the first time three spacewalks will have been conducted in such a short period at the space station without a shuttle docked to it.

Lopez-Alegria planned to conduct a fourth spacewalk with Russian flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin on February 22.
After Sunday's spacewalk, Lopez-Alegria moved up to third on the list of the most time spacewalking.
He is expected to surpass Jerry Ross' U.S. record of more than 58 hours over nine spacewalks by the end of the month.
Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyov has more than 771/2 hours over 16 spacewalks.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/02/04/spacewalk.ap/index.html [/color]
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2007, 10:57:14 am »

Eh Big deal for what NASA thinks they're accomplishing they are thousands of years behind our Venusian neighbors. Roll Eyes
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