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Display mode Display replies flat, with oldest first Display replies flat, with newest first Display replies in threaded form Display replies in nested form. This discussion has been locked so you can no longer reply to it. If anyone could guide me in the right direction that would be great.
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Average of ratings: -. No problem First describe what efforts you have made to resolve the problem so we don't waste time. Thanks for the reply Marc. Structures on ALH meteorite, which has a Martian origin. Some argue that the structures shown here may be ancient Martian life. This is a great time to line up with Drake again, because this is one of the great unknown questions in the search for life beyond Earth.
Of all the potentially habitable worlds, how many of them take that first incredible step, where life arises from non-life? Or, if primitive life originates in interstellar space, how many worlds see life take hold on the surface, in the oceans, or in the atmosphere? We don't even know the answer for our own Solar System, where it's arguable that we may have as many as 8 other worlds where life arose at some point. Or, alternatively, it could be exceedingly rare: a one-in-a-million shot or worse.
Signatures of organic, life-giving molecules are found all over the cosmos, including in the largest, nearby star-forming region: the Orion Nebula.
Someday soon, we may be able to look for biosignatures in the atmospheres of Earth-sized worlds around other stars. The uncertainties here are huge, and any number that you can pick is as ill-motivated as any other. Someday in the future, we'll have the capability of performing our first tests, however. When our telescope technology enables us to determine the atmospheric contents of worlds, we can look for the presence or absence of biosignatures like methane, molecular oxygen, and carbon dioxide.
It will be indirect evidence, but it should be an incredible step towards inferring whether worlds have life on them or not.
If we say there's a 1-in, chance that a potentially habitable world has life on it, as good a guess as any, that means there are 10 million worlds in the Milky Way where life exists. Ligand-gated Q-cells are essential channels with multiple biological applications, and are particularly needed for the human body to function.
Single celled organisms can reproduce very quickly, but in order to develop complex functions and structures, multicellular organisms are required. Defining life as "intelligent" or not is a hazy prospect at best, as even the top scientists still argue over the classification of dolphins, great apes, octopi, and many other organisms as intelligent or not.
What no one will argue about, however, is whether an organism is complex and differentiated: with different body parts with different functions and structures, in a macroscopic, multicellular arrangement. It took billions of years of life thriving on Earth until we evolved the first multicellular organism, and then hundreds of millions of years more until we developed gender in reproduction; without both, out-competing single-celled life would be impossible, as they'd out-evolve the larger forms of life. A bonobo 'fishing' for termites is an example of a complex, differentiated organism that uses primitive tools.
Again, Earth is our only laboratory for this, but let's be optimistic in the absence of evidence, and assume there's a 1-in-1, chance that a world that starts with a primitive, replicating, information-encoding strand of life can lead to something like the Cambrian explosion. That gives us 10, worlds in the Milky Way teeming with diverse, multicellular, highly differentiated forms of life. Given the distance between the stars, that means there's likely another planet where this has occurred just a few hundred light years away.
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This is a superior question to the ones asked by the Drake equation. Who cares if this is the first or the tenth time a technologically advanced civilization arose? Who cares if they're using radio waves? Who cares if they blow themselves up or self-extinct, or whether they have spacefaring ambitions or not?
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The big question is whether there are extraterrestrials who are intelligent the way we're intelligent, and that means scientifically and technologically advanced. The 'holy cow' mosaic of the Mars Phoenix mission, with revealed water-ice clearly visible underneath the lander's legs.
In order to learn the maximum amount possible about the presence or absence of life on a world, you absolutely must touch down and look, explicitly, for the surefire signatures. There's no evidence for this anywhere other than Earth, of course, which means there's a huge range of possibilities. Here on Earth, it's been about ,, years since the Cambrian explosion, and we've only had a technologically advanced species on the planet for less than 1, years. Once intelligence, tool use and curiosity combine in a single species, perhaps interstellar ambitions become inevitable.
Knowing how many worlds there are out there in the Milky Way with life on them, and finding even one, would have tremendous implications for our existence, and for understanding our place in the Universe. Taking even the next step, and learning that there were complex, differentiated, large organisms on a world, like we have with the fungal, animal, and plant kingdoms on Earth, would revolutionize what's possible.
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And finally, the chance we'd have to have communication, visitation, and a knowledge exchange with a scientifically or technologically advanced alien species would forever alter the course of humanity. It's all possible, but there's so much more we need to know if we ever want to find out. We must take these steps; the rewards are too great if there's even a chance of learning these answers.
If your numbers were accurate, you'd arrive at an accurate figure for the number of technologically advanced civilizations that humanity could communicate with, within our own galaxy, at any given moment. I have won numerous awards for science writing s Share to facebook Share to twitter Share to linkedin.
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