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BBC's The Planets - Intelligent life appears to be very rare indeed

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by mrk, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. mrk

    Man of Honour

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    Realistically, the reasons outlined by the Cool Worlds video above, the only way we'd be venturing outside of our solar system is through autonomous crafts/probes or what some researchers/futurists think will eventually happen whereby human consciousness and computers become one. With AI growing as fast as it currently is, the long predicted technological singularity in the mid 2030s seems ever more likely.

    Biological bodies simply won't last through the timescales needed to travel even within our own galaxy, let alone the radiation they will have to endure. We're just not built for space travel, but machines are. I guess this is one major reason why one part of the scientific community think that intelligent life capable of space travel must be non biological as it's the only type of life that could survive in space.
     
  2. Angilion

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    We can't be stuck here for all eternity because Earth will become uninhabitable for humans in a while (about 1.5 billion years IIRC) regardless of what we do or don't do and uninhabitable for any life not long afterwards. In time, Earth won't exist at all.

    Even if we do put some people on Mars and bring them back alive, it won't matter in itself. It'll be a handful of people from billions. It won't make any difference to humanity. It'll be cool, but it won't be useful. Not directly, anyway. Solving the practical problems of doing it will probably have some benefits for technology and will probably increase human knowledge in some ways. I don't think Mars is necessarily a practical limit. The equipment needed to sustain people to Mars and back would be close to that needed for a longer journey within this solar system. If people could make a spaceship people can live in for long enough to get to Mars and back, it should be possible to build a spaceship people can live in for longer.

    But even if <insert sci-fi here> is invented and we build a ship that can accelerate from rest to 99.999999% of speed of light in a fraction of a second without ripping itself apart and smashing everyone in it to a very thin smears on the debris and which has a perfect self-sustaining environment and which has infinite fuel and which is large enough for people to live in it sanely...it still wouldn't matter. That way, the journey might be undertaken by a few thousand people from billions. The vast majority of humans will remain on Earth and the vast majority of humans afterwards would be born on Earth and remain on Earth. Also, those people in the magic spaceship would be effectively seperate from the rest of humanity. Time dilation would see to that. Even if extreme long range transmission of messages was possible, the delay would be hundreds, thousands, millions, even billions of years. We are closer to the ancient Sumerians than the people of Earth would be to the people on that magic spaceship.

    Even is supertechnomagic is invented and both time dilation and the speed of light are somehow evaded, it would stlll be the case that almost all humans would be on Earth. We open a portal to another world - just step through and you're instantly on the other world! Great! Is everyone going to go? "You are currently 4,936,825,425th in the queue. Estimated wait time is 78 years. Thank you for continuing to queue. Your journey is important to us." Up the technomagic level again and make the jouney to another world as quick, simple and cheap as a jouney of a couple of miles today. There are buses and taxis for it and the fare is a few quid. Even then, most people would stay on Earth. The effect on the population of Earth would be minor at best.

    I'm all in favour of research, both as a way of improving technology and as a goal in itself, the gaining of more knowledge. I think that improved technology is a crucial part of sustaining human civilisation on Earth. I think that it would be a good idea to have some humans on other worlds if that ever becomes possible. But there's no way it's going to enable all of humanity to all jump ship to another world and even if it did that would only delay the problems and then not by much. Putting all of humanity on another world right now would just move the existing problems to that world.

    As for taking care of this planet, I think Bill Wurtz's superb 20 minute video summary of the history of Earth from the beginning of the universe ("history of the entire world, I guess") covers that well near the end: "Let's save the planet" said everyone, not knowing how.
     
  3. BlueMerle

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    You're picking at nits. You're trying to define eternity while at the same time trying to explain how the Earth will end.

    We're, as a species, not ever going to colonize another planet. Discuss.

    I think you knew what I was getting at.
     
  4. Angilion

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    You mentioned eternity, not me. I'm not "trying to define eternity" because the word is already defined.

    The scale is large, but we're talking in the context of the entirety of the universe. The scale is already extremely large.

    EDIT:

    It's also directly relevant to the topic of offworld colonies. The choice is not stay on Earth for eternity or colonise. It's colonise or become extinct. In addition to the future changes in the sun, there's the fact that there were at least 5 extinction level events on Earth before humans existed. Another naturally occuring extinction level event might happen on Earth and human civilisation wouldn't hold up to even a relatively small one. At the worst end of the scale for naturally occuring extinction level events, all humans on Earth would definitely die.

    We might not be able to make colonies off Earth, but we should at least consider trying.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  5. BlueMerle

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    First, these two statements seem to be in direct opposition to each other. Perhaps I'm missing something.

    Second, there is no choice. Period. Full Stop. There's nothing for us to realistically colonize in our solar system. Unless you mean a few dozen people living in hamster balls on the moon or possibly Mars. And even then it's just borrowed time. Postponing the inevitable.

    As for extinction, that's been the fate of every species that's ever lived on Earth. There's no reason to think we'll be any different. :shrug:
     
  6. arknor

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    if you want some hardcore geek Isaac Arthurs got some pretty good videos on his channel.


     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  7. Angilion

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    I'm certainly missing something in your reply because I can't see any way to interpret my statements as being in direct opposition to each other.

    As far as we know, the entire universe will eventually become uninhabitable. So it is postponing the inevitable (if current understanding is correct) but the extent of the postponement is probably of some interest to some people. Simply doing nothing until something outside our control wipes out human civilisation on Earth is one option, but it's not the only one we could possibly even consider.

    It's theoretically possible to make part of Mars inhabitable to a far larger extent than "a few dozen people living in hamster balls". It might become possible in practice at some point. What is the point of forbidding even thinking about it?
     
  8. kinetic747

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    The more advanced we get, the more damage we seem to inflict on our home so I'd say intelligence is open to interpretation.
     
  9. MonkeyMan

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    Found this interesting, astronauts left human faeces on the moon to save weight on the return trip and now they want to retrieve it to see if any of the bacteria has survived.

    It is in sealed bags so not completely exposed but if bacteria is still alive then the idea that "life" could travel on asteroids becomes a bit more feasible.
     
  10. azazl187

    Wise Guy

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    We are the Aliens! Put that in your pipe and smoke it
     
  11. robgmun

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    There is a possibility (although unlikely in my humble opinion) that we're simply the first to evolve into advanced life, and all other planets that have life are simply glorified game reserves. although as the saying goes. I hope to god there's intelligent life in outer space because theirs bugger all here on earth :)
     
  12. Cern

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    Even if the assumption is made that there is intelligent life out there, right now, right this moment, the sheer distances involved make it unlikely we will even communicate, let alone meet. The edge of the Milky Way is 100k light years away, nearest next galaxy is 2.5M light years, furthest galaxy 13B light years.

    Even if there's life elsewhere in our own galaxy right now, which is possible given the Milky Way contains around 200B stars and an estimated 10B potential candidate planets, the distances are vast. If we picked up a signal that we could decode, it would be from a civilisation probably long dead by the time we managed to reply. Same with anyone receiving our signals.

    Perhaps there's a chance that our signals get picked up by an advanced civilisation that has mastered some form of rapid space travel as yet unknown to us. But if that's the case, would we really want to meet them? Perhaps Earth's version of life where everything eats everything else isn't typical, but it probably is. In which case, we might just be advertising our status as potential prey.
     
  13. Angilion

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    I think the issue is more one of success than intelligence. Humans were as intelligent (and as stupid) in the past as they are today, so there were a couple of hundred thousand years of humans with this much intelligence before humanity started doing significant damage to the environment on a global scale. I think the issue is that in the last couple of hundred years, mainly the last 100 years, humanity has won so hard that it's breaking the system and doesn't yet know how to fix it. That has to be a temporary situation because either people will fix it or it will become too broken to support human civilisation. That might be one of the filters for intelligent life - being able to survive the level of knowledge and technology we now have. Intelligence is required for the solution to that problem because we need more knowledge and better technology.

    Probably, but there might be civilisations close enough for a signal to travel the distance in a short enough time for the civilisation to still exist. There are a fair few star systems within hundreds of light years of here. It would be a very distant pen pal sort of communication, but advanced civilisations could well last more than hundreds of years. Not much in the way of communication, but it might be very useful. What if, to pick one example off the top of my head, a civilisation 200 light years away developed practical nuclear fusion power stations 210 years ago and broadcast the details?

    Or a potential threat. I doubt if they'd want to hunt us for food or sport. Too much trouble for food and not enough challenge for sport. But if they were of the "everything eats everything" mindset you refer to and they saw the extremely rapid development of knowledge and technology of humanity in the last couple of centuries, they might conclude that we might become a threat to them in the future and that it would be more effective to kill us off now so that we didn't. Or they might be extremely xenophobic and kill us off because we're not them. Or they might kill us off accidentally through disease. We can't say for certain that it's impossible for germs from one world to infect plants or animals from another world. Or they might destroy our civilisation accidentally simply by having far more advanced knowledge and technology than us, rendering humanity obsolete and despondent. Or they might take over in order to "civilise" us, protect us from ourselves and suchlike. Plenty of examples of that in human history and it's never gone well for the "primitives". So even if their motives are benign, they could still ruin human civilisation. I think "would we really want to meet them?" is a very tricky question to answer. It could be extremely good. It could be extremely bad. But it's unlikely to be uneventful.
     
  14. Cern

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    It's all certainly possible, but we're assuming that any advanced civilisation has developed along and possibly beyond similar lines to ourselves, i.e. using technology. So we tend to be searching for signals which are compatible with our own methods of detection and communication. Understandable of course, it's all we know. But whilst technology has been the solution (so far) for humans to look and explore beyond this planet, it does not necessarily follow that technology is also a solution for other lifeforms on other planets. Their solutions may have evolved into other forms, perhaps organic, perhaps technological. It's also possible that 'life' as we define it (i.e. carbon based) could be a very narrow definition on a universal scale.
     
  15. BlueMerle

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    Explain to me the 'theory' that says we can make Mars habitable. It's a dead planet so no atmosphere with ever "stick". Is there a plan to re-liquify the core and get it spinning again? Is the plan to cover the entire planet in a large ball? We know there's water ice on Mars but that doesn't really help unless you expect our species to live in a really big hamster ball coated in SPF 10,000... no matter how many people you can shove in it. Oh, one other important bit. Mars gravity is only 38% of Earths. This is very significant and detrimental for humans. Calcium will leech out of our bones for one.

    You're welcome to think about it, and I've never suggested otherwise. I'm simply pointing out where you're wrong.

    You know the old saying... Wish in one hand and **** in the other and see which one fills up first.
     
  16. Angilion

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    That's all possible too, but some of it wouldn't necessarily rule out discovery. Intelligent life based on something other than carbon might still use communications technology that uses signals we can detect to communicate, for example. It's possible that there's some form of long-range communication using something we don't know about and can't detect, but it's also possible that there isn't.

    You're fixated on your hamster balls, but a protective shell isn't the only possible way to build a shield from the solar wind and by repeatedly calling a protective shell a "hamster ball" you're just trying to evade serious consideration of the possibility by giving it a silly name. That's not reasonable discussion and it implies you think it's possible. If you didn't, why try to use derision to evade consideration of it?

    Two other potential methods are:

    1) A shield at the L1 Lagrange point for Mars-Sol. We can build shielding against the solar wind. It isn't necessary to build that shielding right next to Mars in order to protect it - it just needs to be between Mars and the Sun and large enough. Put it at Lagrange L1 for Mars-Sol and it will stay there.

    2) An artificial magnetic field. That might seem out of reach, but it has been considered and probably isn't. See, for example, "Feasibility of Artificial Geomagnetic Field Generation by a Superconducting Ring Network" (Osamu Motojima and Nagato Yanagi, 2008). That paper is on constructing an artifical magnetic field for Earth, but of course it applies to any planet.

    Can you provide references to studies done on the long term effects of 0.38g on humans? Or short term effects? There's plenty of evidence on the adverse effects of 0g on humans, but I haven't seen any on 0.38g.

    That's quite emphatic.

    So I'll return the favour.

    To continue along the lines of the saying...you're defecating in both hands and assuming nothing else is possible.
     
  17. BlueMerle

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    :sigh:

    You win. I'm wrong, and you're right.

    Better?

    <let me know when any of your wild projections, theories, speculations, pure ******** ever comes to pass. I'll be waiting here>
     
  18. B&W

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    Many scientists have said that a future mars settlement is plausible, will not be easy or cheap in both human and material cost.

    I'm sure they know more than blue marl from Texas.

    What a miserable viewpoint, if we all thought like that we would never have sent probes to other worlds.

    Exploration is an integral part of our species.
     
  19. Angilion

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    How remarkably childish. There's no need to have a tantrum because some people don't share your view that the only possible outcome is both hands full of faeces.

    I provided you with a reference to a paper from two scientists which went into great detail about one way in which the central problem could be solved with technology we have right now. It's dishonest of you to call that "wild projections, theories, speculations, pure <Magic Bad Word not allowed here>". That paper is only one example of many, by the way. It simply isn't definitely impossible.
     
  20. BlueMerle

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    Dear Lord you're completely ignorant of all the facts.

    I specifically asked you to "explain the theory that would allow us to colonize Mars". You didn't even mention it. You just spout some wishful thinking as if it's fact.

    I'm not having a tantrum, I'm just following my mother's advice. Never argue with an idiot. Bystanders can't tell who is who.