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Posts Tagged ‘aliens’

System Proposed for Assessing Odds for Life on Other Worlds

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Within the next few years, the number of planets discovered in orbits around distant stars will likely reach several thousand or more. But even as our list of these newly discovered “exoplanets” grows ever-longer, the search for life beyond our solar system will likely focus much more narrowly on the relatively few of these new worlds which exhibit the most Earth-like of conditions.
For much of the scientific community, thesearch for alien life has long been dominated by the notion that our own planet serves as the best model of conditions best suited to the emergence of life on other worlds. And while there’s an undeniable logic to seeking life in the same sort of conditions in which you already know it to be successful, there are scientists like Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist with the Washington State University School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Abel Mendez, a modeling expert from the University of Puerto Rico at Aricebo, who also see such a model as the product of a potentially limiting form of earthling-biased thinking.
To Schulze-Makuch and his nine fellow authors – an international working group representing, NASA, SETI,the German Aerospace Center, and four universities– the search for life on other worlds is really driven by two questions.

Full Story: http://news.wsu.edu/pages/publications.asp?Action=Detail&PublicationID=28889&TypeID=1

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Nonterrestrial Artifacts Hard to Pin Down

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Two Pioneer probes left our solar system carrying plaques about humankind, and two Voyager probes will soon join them to gather information about places far out in our galaxy. We can and will send more autonomous probes into outer space, but why have we never found evidence of other civilizations doing the same? A pair of postdoctoral researchers at Penn State, approaching the problem mathematically, shows that we have not looked in enough places to ensure that no extraterrestrial artifacts exist in our solar system.

“The vastness of space, combined with our limited searches to date, implies that any remote unpiloted exploratory probes of extraterrestrial origin would likely remain unnoticed,” report Jacob Haqq-Misra, Rock Ethics Institute, and Ravi Kumar Kopparapu, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, in a paper accepted by Acta Astronautica and posted online on ArXiv.

So far, we have not found any nonterrestrial artifacts in our solar system. The Fermi paradox, originally formulated by Enrico Fermi, asks, if intelligent life is common, why have no technological civilizations been observed. Answers to this question could include life is rare, intelligent cultures inevitably destroy themselves, intelligent beings have not gotten here yet or they are here but not revealing themselves. Even without actual contact, like us, other civilizations could be sending unpiloted probes to quietly peek at our civilization.

Full Story: http://live.psu.edu/story/56240