Life on other planets

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Discuss the possibility of life on other planets and how would it be different from Earth, and how would it be similar?

 
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Odds are that prokaryotic cells would form and be organized in a similar fashion to those on earth, (I believe there were some samples of bacteria/archaea-like cells on Mars), there may even be some cells that loosely resemble eukaryotes here on earth. It’s very unlikely, I think, that there would be striking similarities of more complex organisms (i.e. vertebrate animals with the systematic organization such as the endocrine system displayed in mammals, reptiles, etc.). However, it’s entirely plausible that there would exist species with loosely homologous functioning systems in their bodies. I’d expect a bit different structure and maybe a bit different biochemistry.

 
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A lot of the human research into life on other planets has focused on living conditions that we need(water) in the assumption that all life needs water to live.
However if life would ‘ve evolved on other planets, it would ’ve evolved to the environment there, so any life out there that with similar living conditions as ours we may encounter will likely be from earth(aka neil armstrong must ’ve let a bunch of bascteria loose on the moon, in a few million years they’ll turn into monkeys who build spaceships to visit earth).
I would still expect something small to develop first, and natural selection is dependent on the environment(of which living creatures are part as well) so very random how life would ‘ve evolved further.
Any big/conscious/technological creatures we might encounter would, btw, be most interesting by their culture.(group/individual/huntur/gatherer/societal/enforced rules/unenforced rules/etc.) since that would be what we’d have to deal with(aka would they go to war with us? or rather, what are the requirements for them to go to war/not go to war with us, can we trade with etc. we ’d probably also try to steal/borrow/mimick their tech

 
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Originally posted by powerpos:

(aka neil armstrong must ’ve let a bunch of bascteria loose on the moon, in a few million years they’ll turn into monkeys who build spaceships to visit earth).

Won’t happen. Any microbes left up there, are in stasis. They don’t have access to the resources they require to live – liquid water, oxygen, foods, etc. So, absolutely no evolution whatsoever will take place. No increase in their numbers to speak of.

Left alone, in a billion years there may be as many as there are now; more likely there will be less, as some of their number wither. They’re waiting for the conditions surrounding them to change, before they can do anything else other than be in stasis.

 
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Left alone, in a billion years there may be as many as there are now; more likely there will be less, as some of their number wither. They’re waiting for the conditions surrounding them to change, before they can do anything else other than be in stasis.

Won’t the solar radiation fry them?

 
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Let’s look at what is chemically needed:
1 life needs an element that is capable of undergoing many differend complex bindings to pass information and work inside cellulair level mechanisms. Earth based life is carbon based, meaning that this element is carbon. Most likely other lifeforms would be carbon based as well, there have been a few suggestions about sillicion however that would most likely not work as such lifeforms would die when exposed to sunlight and would have more then a few problems with waste disopsal if they were to become multi-cellulair. Another problem is that water would be dangerous to such lifeforms leading me to 2:
2: A liquid, All life forms need a liquid to transport substances around, this liquid needs to be liquid at local temperature (obivous) as well allow a large number of substances to be solvable within it. Lastly it needs to allow for some type of semi permeable membrames which stop the internal parts of the organism to stay inside yet allowing liquids to come and go. This translates to the fact that the liquid molecules can’t be to big, no complex carbon based liquids and metals won’t work to well either. This quickly shows why we need water.
3 An energy source, this is a more vague one but all life needs energy this can come from a star (like for most life on earth), radioactive sources(such as the case the radiation eating funges) or a chemical. However a chemical supply will need to be resuplied from somewhere making this a lot more difficut(heat or electricity are both derived from one of the other 3). This makes life on a planet that does not orbid a star unlikely but not impossible.
4 A seed, somehow life must have been created somehow meaning that a reasonable number of differend chemicals are avaible to allow the creation of life or it was seeded from another planet (through an meteorite). Because of the 2nd fact not that restritive but it does put a few limits on where life can exist.

However all of the above is all based on chemical lifeforms, mechanical lifeforms(robots) need not follow such restrictions(except for 3) and in stead require a steady number of (semi)conductors and most likely a creator (meaning that another lifeform must have existed nearby, through it possible that they have since been wiped out.

 
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Originally posted by Kasic:

Won’t the solar radiation fry them?

Not entirely sure. I would suspect Earth’s own Van Allen belts would shield the lunar surface to some degree, simply by virtue of its deflection as a shield between the moon and the sun half the time. As for the rest, if there are microbes present (which is likely) they’ll have been plonked down indiscriminately wherever the suits, rover, or equipment touched.

I’d say even odds on them being plonked down in shadow, protected by the dust of the surface, and any impact in the area since will only have dumped more dust on them.

 
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I agree, life on other planets is possible because there are infinite planets.

Also, all aliens will be humanoid as seen in star trek or mass effect or whatever you space fetishists fap to now in days

 
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I could be wrong, but seeing how the window of opportunity for life as we know it is so small, there’s a good chance that another planet would go through a similar evolutionary process. Inter-dimensional life however, is another story.

 
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Originally posted by RollerCROWster:

I agree, life on other planets is possible because there are infinite planets.

Also, all aliens will be humanoid as seen in star trek or mass effect or whatever you space fetishists fap to now in days

Dude, you really need to learn the “Art of Trolling”
As for OP, I think there is an enormous possibility of existence of alien life, It may even be radically different than everything we know about life.
This begs the question, if a smoldering pile a semi solidmass which shows no signs of life as we know it but communicates with us, will it be considered “life”?

 
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Originally posted by Aleazor:

I could be wrong, but seeing how the window of opportunity for life as we know it is so small, there’s a good chance that another planet would go through a similar evolutionary process.

I would agree. A good, 100%, total certainty chance. You don’t really get much better chances.

Evolution is intrinsic to life processes. Life will mutate, grow. Life will split, breed. That’s not just ‘a good chance’ but a certainty.

Inter-dimensional life however, is another story.

Still the same problems. The ‘window for life is narrow’ as you put it, and in order for life to be possible in another universe, that universe’s laws of physics would have to allow for the same type of chemical process to continue unchecked. That’s going to greatly limit the possibilities for the laws under which life is possible, and again give immense bias to mutating chemical processes, which leads us right back to saying that life will evolve.


Originally posted by thepunisher52:
This begs the question, if a smoldering pile a semi solidmass which shows no signs of life as we know it but communicates with us, will it be considered “life”?

If it is smoldering, then it bears some of the signs of life. Fire meets several of them, albeit not all. If this smoldering pile is communicating with us, then it is sentient, which likely means it has taken steps to regulate it’s own internal temperatures and thus constrain its own growth. Hence the smoldering rather than dancing flames.

In that scenario it is organised, and responsive to external stimulii. Thus it would be alive by the definition of life. In your scenario Punisher, it would literally not be possible for it to not be considered to be alive.

 
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If it is smoldering, then it bears some of the signs of life. Fire meets several of them, albeit not all. If this smoldering pile is communicating with us, then it is sentient, which likely means it has taken steps to regulate it’s own internal temperatures and thus constrain its own growth. Hence the smoldering rather than dancing flames.

In that scenario it is organised, and responsive to external stimulii. Thus it would be alive by the definition of life. In your scenario Punisher, it would literally not be possible for it to not be considered to be alive.

OK what if it is a cloud, just a normal cloud except it is sentinent,?
The point I’m trying to forward iis, what if there are other forms of life? Other carbon based? Others which we can not perceive?

 
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To me life is any system that is capable of passing on some type of “genetic information” to the next generation, within my definition “genetic information” is information that(1) is one of the prime deciding factors in whatever or not the offspring is able to pass on their genes as well, is (2) capable of being mutated and (3) remains largely the same between generations. However this definition is not commonly used as it makes certain computer virusses alive (not a problem in my mind but still). The problem with many common definitions is that it seems to be all geared towards chemical based lifeforms which eliminates the option of having mechanical life forms.

 
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Originally posted by thepunisher52:

OK what if it is a cloud, just a normal cloud except it is sentinent,?

Not possible for it to exist. A cloud of water vapor is not going to produce a neural network, laws of physics are against you on that one. The water will conduct the electrical charge, preventing constrained circuits from forming. No constrained circuits, no cognition.

As we understand more and more about the requirements for sentience, we can say with increasing certainty, when it was possible versus when it is impossible and why that is so.


Originally posted by thijser:

The problem with many common definitions is that it seems to be all geared towards chemical based lifeforms which eliminates the option of having mechanical life forms.

I too disagree with the possibility of mechanical life. A mechanical system can be part of a lifeform, but it is too rigid, too structurally defined to be able to adapt and change as a lifeform would need to, and it lacks any capability for perception or cognition. that part of the being must according to every scenario I can envisage, be electrical or electrochemical in nature. It needs the edge of raw chaos that such formless systems offer, in order to be able to adapt and change, and direct the mechanical components to adapt and change.

Whilst I agree a purely mechanical system could change over time, rapid response to change is not such a system’s forte’, unless again directed by a non-mechanical aspect.

Whichever way you approach it life is going to require some aspect that has the properties of rapid response to stimulii. It doesn’t have to be cell based, but it has to be organised and capable of that rapid response to change, whether internal or external.

 
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Bump: (I felt this topic would be relevant to this discussion, and not worth me making another thread)

How long do you guys expect it will be before humans are able to terraform other planets? I mean, it seems fairly unlikely that we’ll reach that point in the next century, given the amount of variables involved in creating an ecology, but what would be the first step in the creation of one? Creating an atmosphere? Formation of magnetic poles? Establishing colonies of microorganisms?

 
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Huge caverns in the moon will be first.
They’ll merely be an extension of a space station.
But, we will have to come up w/ a much better way of lifting mass off Earth into space.
Otherwise, no at all economically feasible.

 
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Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

Huge caverns in the moon will be first.
They’ll merely be an extension of a space station.
But, we will have to come up w/ a much better way of lifting mass off Earth into space.
Otherwise, no at all economically feasible.

I don’t think there’s going to be a way to create an entire livable planet that will be economically feasible, at least not until living space becomes far less available (and even then, I’m sure we’ll be doing more efficient uses of space like arcologies). It’s possible that we may wind up needing space so much so that living on earth’s moon will be an attractive use of space from a business perspective, but that won’t be for a while. That said, I’d say that the concept of a space elevator that’s been thrown around would be a pretty efficient method of moving light cargo loads. That’d be useful while space exploration is still in its infancy, but who knows how long until one would be relevant if we’re colonizing other planets.

BUT that’s off the point of actual life on other planets developing of their own accord.

 
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I would suspect laser launch systems would come into play before a space elevator does. Use a couple of dedicated nuclear power plants, and design your capsules with a vacuule under them. The lasers superheat the atmosphere inside the vacule, so it leaves explosively. Milliseconds later new air rushes in, just in time for the lasers to superheat it again, and again and again.

There’s no actual propellant on the spacecraft itself, in other words. We’re just using the atmosphere of the planet as an accellerant. Once in space it maintains whatever orbit it was kicked up into until someone comes along to retrieve it.

Sling it into low orbit, and a tug will retrieve it later. Doesn’t really matter for most cargoes, how long it’s orbiting before someone picks it up, or what the launch stresses on the cargo pod are.


As for terraforming planets, I read a proposal once, that described the process of seeding life on Mars from a theoretical point of view. Not going to go looking for an online version of it right now, (as getting ready for work kinda takes priority :) ) but if memory serves, the proposal would take 100 years for Mars to gain a barely breathable atmosphere, and 100,000 years for the process to complete. That was using planetary seeding of engineered bacteria, and deliberately crashing comets and chunks of ice from Saturn’s rings (easy access to building-sized chunks of ice from the rings, can be accelerated to escape velocity relatively easily, and left unattended for decades whilst they make the journey).

From a planetary perspective the process would be extremely swift. From a human perspective, not so much.

 
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I recently read a book written by Ray Bradbury, (My FAV author of all times.) that explored how a space station would function. It was written in the 70’s, so a lot of the science was a little dated, but what stuck with me is the fact that there was the Torus based space-station.
Whenever I read Sci-Fi, (When I read.) I always get slightly irked at how they hand-wave artificial Gravity away, using it only for the spaceships and nothing else. You could use artificial gravity for so much, it hurts to think about it.