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Crisp

NASA Ames Director: We?re Closer To Answering, ?Are We Alone??

 

1105_earth-like-624x350.jpg

An artist?s illustration of Kepler-62f, a planet in the ?habitable zone? of a star that is slightly smaller and cooler than ours. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

 

India successfully launched its first space mission to Mars today. The orbiter, named Mangalyaan, is expected to land on Mars on Sept. 24, 2014. It would make India the fourth country to successfully land a spacecraft on Mars.

Meanwhile, scientists have estimated that in the Milky Way, there are 8.8 billion stars with Earth-sized planets at temperatures that would allow water in liquid form.

 

?Its a really neat result, it?s one that nobody expected 20 years ago that we could even do,? Pete Worden, director of NASA?s Ames Research Center, told Here & Now?s Jeremy Hobson.

NASA?s Kepler satellite took a census of about 4,000 of the planets in the galaxy, and from there, Warden says, scientists have been able to extrapolate what their solar systems looked like.

The next step is to determine whether the plants are habitable. Near the end of the decade, there will be a mission aimed at determining whether some of the nearest Earth-like neighbors have oxygen and water in their atmospheres.

?In the next five or ten years, I think we?re going have a really good indication of, ?Are we alone,?? Worden said.

 

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astropheed

And then what? Go and visit them? Kind of far. I almost rather not know. It's far easier to deal with, "Is there life out there?", than it is to deal with, "There is life out there, and we're not smart enough to get to it...".

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DocM

The article starts off badly with -

India successfully launched its first space mission to Mars today. The orbiter, named Mangalyaan, is expected to land on Mars on Sept. 24, 2014. It would make India the fourth country to successfully land a spacecraft on Mars.

Mangalyaan is a Mars orbiter ONLY, not a lander.

As to knowing/not knowing, knowledge is better. It tells you many things about the conditions that can support exobiology and that can give you hints about what happened here.

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IsItPluggedIn

If they found a planet that had life. Imagine how much money would be pored into space exploration. Within 50 years we would have means to get there.

 

We would have a new common goal. Maybe even a global one to work towards. This would bring people together.

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DocM

That depends on the relative stage of development between us and an alien civilization. On Earth the less developed civilization usually doesn't fare too well, so it could he a period of passive observation, signals and probes approaching from a different direction would be prudent.

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dead.cell

That depends on the relative stage of development between us and an alien civilization. On Earth the less developed civilization usually doesn't fare too well, so it could he a period of passive observation, signals and probes approaching from a different direction, would be prudent.

And just like that, we become the aliens. :|

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DocM

Yup, and with the recent rapid advances in bionics and bio-augmentation we'll be the prototype for the BORG too.

Did you ever stop to think that social media is the first baby step towards their hive mind? Implant the comm devices (cell becomes node) and make a direct hardware/wetware connection (already in the works as the brain-machine interface - BMI) and you're half way there.

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IsItPluggedIn

If we found a primitive race do you think we would try to help them, leave them alone,  try to rule them or put them in Zoo's and wipe out the rest?

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DocM

If smart we'd leave them alone and just observe until they turn outwards and reach the SETI stage. We usually aren't that smart.

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thomastmc

Knowing is always better than not knowing. Without knowledge reality becomes a bleak, bland, and boring existence of ignorance. I'm glad that I know that there are stars and galaxies and planets out there, even if I may never be able to visit them. The knowledge itself is very entertaining and thought provoking.
 
Theoretical physicists and Astrophysicists can tell you several ways in which it may be possible for humans to travel to other stars and even other galaxies quickly. We are incapable of testing any of them yet, but they do have the math to back it up. We also don't even know most of what is possible or impossible yet.
 
Even in the 1950's, it was very prudent for someone who was educated and well informed to declare that sending a man to the moon was impossible. It turned out to be extremely possible.
 
Humans will eventually visit these planets, the only question is when. Finding them is the first step.
 
We probably will treat animals on these planets in the same way we treat animals on this planet. Some will become food, others will become zoo attractions. How we treat other intelligent species will be the question. Robots are our new slaves and will even replace all low wage workers eventually. And, with billions of planets to choose from, territory and resources won't be a factor either. We will study more primitive intelligent species, and either cooperate or simply coexist with others.
 

Clarke's Three Laws are three "laws" of prediction formulated by the British writer Arthur C. Clarke. They are:

 

1.When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2.The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3.Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

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DocM

Clarke was 100% correct with his three laws of prediction. Also;

No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority.

--Robert A. Heinlein

Today's most public example is how SpaceX is turning rocketry on its ear with their work on reusable, vertically landable launchers. 2 years ago the "experts" laughed, but no more.

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Hum

pffft .... It is already very clear, We are NOT Alone.

 

We never were.

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Crisp

We would have a new common goal. Maybe even a global one to work towards. This would bring people together.

 

and a new wave of terrorism, because the religious fanatics wouldn't be able to accept they're wrong.

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DocM

FYI the church has accepted the idea of off-world life for quite some time - just another zip code in creation.

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Dot Matrix

FYI the church has accepted the idea of off-world life for quite some time - just another zip code in creation.

There's still sects out there that don't believe that. Earth is Eden and there is no other. 

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JustGeorge

If smart we'd leave them alone and just observe until they turn outwards and reach the SETI stage. We usually aren't that smart.

Laugh it off, but the Prime Directive from Star Trek would make alot of sense in this situation. Hell, take a bunch of info from TNG and make it into a space exploration directives guide book.

 

We're close to having fusion, "warp drive" may not be impossible and I've read some stories awhile back about energy shielding. Combine all of this with other tech advances and we're probably less than a 75~100 years away from a real Star Trek universe. Shame most of us will not live to see it :(

 

I think once we've mastered fusion power, everything else will fall into place.

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Praetor

well, considering that people believed (before cars existed) that a man could not survive if traveled more than 60Km/h, i really can't even conceive the technological wonders we will have in 75 to 100 years from now.

 

Also don't know why some religious sectors can't live with the fact that we most likely aren't alone; heck, it doesn't change nothing!

 

And i think knowledge is one of the most fundamental things we, as humans, can achieve and possess; without it we are simply regarded to our most basic instincts and fears. having said that if we ever find a intelligent alien civilization we should leave them alone, hoping that they won't hunt us for sport or turning into a xenomorph and have us for lunch :woot:

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JustGeorge

well, considering that people believed (before cars existed) that a man could not survive if traveled more than 60Km/h, i really can't even conceive the technological wonders we will have in 75 to 100 years from now.

 

Also don't know why some religious sectors can't live with the fact that we most likely aren't alone; heck, it doesn't change nothing!

 

And i think knowledge is one of the most fundamental things we, as humans, can achieve and possess; without it we are simply regarded to our most basic instincts and fears. having said that if we ever find a intelligent alien civilization we should leave them alone, hoping that they won't hunt us for sport or turning into a xenomorph and have us for lunch :woot:

I'm not in favor of establishing contact with any species we can't "own" if need be. It will not go well for us if we run into beings more advanced than us.

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Praetor

I'm not in favor of establishing contact with any species we can't "own" if need be. It will not go well for us if we run into beings more advanced than us.

 

well, according to Star Trek (:D) that's not necessary true. Yes they might be a warrior society or a mixed one like humans or they can be so advanced that consider us a non-threat and even try to help us to evolve. Still, as Stephen Hawkings said about humans making contact with intelligent and advanced aliens: "might be a bit like the original inhabitants of America meeting Columbus. I don't think they were better off for it."

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Dot Matrix

An Enterprise would be nice, but I'll take the battlestar Galactica anyday.  :D

 

I honestly think BSG is closer to the type of FTL engines we'll have someday. I don't see man (or anything, really) actually travelling faster than light. Maybe we can push probes up to relativistic speeds, but certainly not faster than light.  

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DocM

NASA is moving forward research into quantum field thrusters & drives (Q-thrusters.) No propellant - the drive pushes against the quantum foam of spacetime itself.

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Crisp

And then what? Go and visit them? Kind of far. I almost rather not know. It's far easier to deal with, "Is there life out there?", than it is to deal with, "There is life out there, and we're not smart enough to get to it...".

 

If we could develop a ship that could travel at 99% the speed of light, it would only take 80 years to reach the edge of the galaxy.

 

1 day on board a ship traveling at 99% the speed of light, would be the same as 1 year on Earth. - Nearing the cosmic speed limit slows time down.

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fusi0n

pffft .... It is already very clear, We are NOT Alone.

 

We never were.

:D

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astropheed

If we could develop a ship that could travel at 99% the speed of light, it would only take 80 years to reach the edge of the galaxy.

 

1 day on board a ship traveling at 99% the speed of light, would be the same as 1 year on Earth. - Nearing the cosmic speed limit slows time down.

 

The edge of what galaxy? The closest edge to us in our Galaxy is about 10,000 - 15,000 light years away. Milky way is over 100,000 Light years in Diameter and we're about 2/3 out on one of the spiraling arms. At 100% light speed it'd take at least 10,000 years to reach the closest edge.

 

Where you got your number from I have no clue. It's a big place.

 

Also did some research on the effects of Time Dilation. 1 day on board a ship travelling at 99% the speed of light would be equivalent to approx. 20 days of Earth-time relative to the Astronaut. Not even close to one year.

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