Author Topic: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!  (Read 1418 times)

Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« on: May 18, 2020, 08:58:25 PM »
The other day I listened to this excellent, lengthy interview with Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal. He discusses a lot of familiar topics that he's often asked about - whether humanity will be wiped out this century, what forms intelligent life elsewhere in the universe might take, etc - but towards the end he says something which really startled me. He thinks that within 20 years astronomical spectroscopy will be so advanced that we will be able to tell whether a given exoplanet has a biosphere or not. In other words, by 2040 we should be able to detect extra-terrestrial life routinely! Or put another way, if by 2040 we haven't detected any extra-terrestrial life then we will know that the origin of life on Earth was, at minimum, a rare event! Either way, I had no idea that this colossal question could be so close to being answered.


Mr_Simnock

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2020, 09:01:27 PM »
This topic has popped up with regularity recently on here, lots of alien space brothers lovers here?

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2020, 09:06:18 PM »
But this is about verification, not speculation.  And chances are that any life that might be detected will most likely be of a very simple sort.

Endicott

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2020, 09:19:42 PM »
Probably still reading The Daily Mail.

Alberon

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2020, 10:17:04 PM »
If we can detect a planet with oxygen in the atmosphere that means there is almost certainly a biosphere there. Oxygen doesn’t exist naturally as it reacts strongly with many elements. One of the first big extinctions in the early days of the Earth was caused by a build up of Oxygen from some life forms that was poisonous to others.

I think active sentient life is very rare, but I think simpler life exists just about everywhere it is possible to be.

Captain Z

  • Oh yeah my cholesterol's going down
Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2020, 10:36:49 PM »
Call me Mr Cynical but that timescale seems incredibly optimistic. As I pointed out in the football thread the other day, it took 18 years from commentators saying 'surely at the rate technology is going we can have a system to tell if the ball is over the line' during Euro 96, to actually getting that technology in 2014.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2020, 10:37:17 PM »
I think that somewhere there is life Jim, but not as we know it

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2020, 10:46:07 PM »
I hope any alien is just exactly like us but with the tiniest difference; like having two stomachs or see-through genitals.

chocolate teapot

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2020, 10:53:02 PM »
that's cool. I think life here on Earth is either the first or we're the last living thing in the universe. or we are one off.

Alberon

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2020, 11:02:24 PM »
The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope should be able to detect oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres. Looking into it, there are some processes that can generate free oxygen on dead worlds, but these processes are understood, so if it occurs on worlds that shouldn't be able to generate oxygen if dead then we'll know there's a candidate for life.

I think life is very very common in the universe. Civilisations active now and close enough for us to detect? Now, that's a very different matter.

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2020, 11:06:28 PM »
that's cool. I think life here on Earth is either the first or we're the last living thing in the universe. or we are one off.

I don't. Space is fucking massive so unless some aliens figure out how to break light speed we could never know about it.

We've detected mysterious signals from half-a billion light years away for instance.

Dewt

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2020, 11:12:29 PM »
Yeah but my toaster gives off mysterious signals, so I always take those with a pinch of salt. Show me when they pick up a signal that looks more complex than a few pulses.

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2020, 11:20:59 PM »
Yes but those signals are so old an entire culture could exist next to them now. When did you last look in your toaster's crumb tray btw?

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2020, 11:40:42 PM »
Call me Mr Cynical but that timescale seems incredibly optimistic. As I pointed out in the football thread the other day, it took 18 years from commentators saying 'surely at the rate technology is going we can have a system to tell if the ball is over the line' during Euro 96, to actually getting that technology in 2014.
Man went from flying in 1909 to landing on the moon in 60 years.

Thomas

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2020, 11:42:34 PM »
Call me Mr Cynical but that timescale seems incredibly optimistic. As I pointed out in the football thread the other day, it took 18 years from commentators saying 'surely at the rate technology is going we can have a system to tell if the ball is over the line' during Euro 96, to actually getting that technology in 2014.

At least we can point this tech at Mars and find out whether the aliens are cheating at football.

Man went from flying in 1909 to landing on the moon in 60 years.

He must've been flying very slowly. Took Neil Armstrong three days.

Dewt

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2020, 11:43:58 PM »
Man went from flying in 1909 to landing on the moon in 60 years.
Respect!

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2020, 11:46:50 PM »
Call me Mr Cynical but that timescale seems incredibly optimistic. As I pointed out in the football thread the other day, it took 18 years from commentators saying 'surely at the rate technology is going we can have a system to tell if the ball is over the line' during Euro 96, to actually getting that technology in 2014.

Does that timeline include bureaucracy? Hawkeye was being used in cricket in 2001.

Jim Bob

  • (aka Right Said Brett)
Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2020, 12:20:24 AM »
...chances are that any life that might be detected will most likely be of a very simple sort.

So, basically equivalent to Earth then?

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2020, 12:23:03 AM »
The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope should be able to detect oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres.

In the interview Lord Rees says that the JWST probably won't be much use for this (even if it ever gets launched: it's already 13 years late and $9 billion over budget).  More likely to be useful, he says, is the extremely large telescope the European Southern Observatory agency is building in Chile, to be called, er, the Extremely Large Telescope (honest).

He also proposes that we should start planning for a huge space telescope with a mirror hundreds of meters in diameter that would be launched in 2068, the hundredth anniversary of Earthrise.

Captain Z

  • Oh yeah my cholesterol's going down
Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2020, 01:25:31 AM »
Man went from flying in 1909 to landing on the moon in 60 years.

We also went from landing on the moon in 1969 to the leader of the free world suggesting we could inject ourselves with disinfectant in the following 50.

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2020, 01:42:53 AM »
How many orifices and appendages will these aliens have? It could be a game changer for porn in these post Covid times

Elderly Sumo Prophecy

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2020, 01:51:07 AM »
How long until we can take pictures of an exoplanet? That'll be a real game changer for the human race, because of course one day a picture will be taken, and the exoplanet will be a blue/green world like ours. Then we can go about planning to invade the cunt.

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2020, 02:04:48 AM »
How long until we can take pictures of an exoplanet? That'll be a real game changer for the human race, because of course one day a picture will be taken, and the exoplanet will be a blue/green world like ours. Then we can go about planning to invade the cunt.

Well, there are a couple of direct images already but they are just points of light.  But the idea behind the 2068 Earthrise-anniversary project Lord Rees has proposed is that it would be so big it would be able to take pictures of exoplanets that would have some actual detail.

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2020, 02:10:51 AM »
How long until we can take pictures of an exoplanet? That'll be a real game changer for the human race, because of course one day a picture will be taken, and the exoplanet will be a blue/green world like ours. Then we can go about planning to invade the cunt.

We'll have to send Hans Blix there first.

Elderly Sumo Prophecy

  • In France we call it le bellend
Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2020, 02:35:23 AM »
I'll probably be dead by 2068 I'm afraid. Can we make it any earlier?

touchingcloth

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2020, 02:36:55 AM »
We also went from landing on the moon in 1969 to the leader of the free world suggesting we could inject ourselves with disinfectant in the following 50.

51, cunt.

Cerys

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Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2020, 03:32:16 AM »
How many orifices and appendages will these aliens have?

All of them.  All the orifices.  All the appendages.  All of them.

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2020, 03:46:34 AM »
Less than ten years ago, I had a PS3. Now I have a PS4.

You never guess what Faddy Chressmas bringin doon da chimley.

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2020, 04:27:55 AM »
to be called, er, the Extremely Large Telescope (honest).


Quite refreshing really, naming it literally. In size it will supersede the Very Large Telescope (honest) and construction was sanctioned after plans for the Overwhelmingly Large Telescope (again, really) were deemed too costly.

Perhaps an approach to adopt generally - "My address is number 896 Bloody Long Road".

Re: Extraterrestrial life - we're gonna know soon!!
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2020, 04:42:09 AM »
Less than ten years ago, I had a PS3. Now I have a PS4.

You never guess what Faddy Chressmas bringin doon da chimley.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKTnGZM7Xdo&t=0m14s

Throw Nintendo down the flue so that father can wrap it in "it's a girl", "it's a boy" gift paper :D

Ooh, try WBT you might like that - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbRhQVU2LZ0
« Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 05:08:52 AM by ImmaculateClump »

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