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misterchris
504468.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:47 am Reply with quote

Quote:
There could be one hundred billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, a US conference has heard.

Dr Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science said many of these worlds could be inhabited by simple lifeforms.

He was speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

So far, telescopes have been able to detect just over 300 planets outside our Solar System.

Very few of these would be capable of supporting life, however. Most are gas giants like our Jupiter; and many orbit so close to their parent stars that any microbes would have to survive roasting temperatures.

But, based on the limited numbers of planets found so far, Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one "Earth-like" planet.

This simple calculation means there would be huge numbers capable of supporting life.

"Not only are they probably habitable but they probably are also going to be inhabited," Dr Boss told BBC News. "But I think that most likely the nearby 'Earths' are going to be inhabited with things which are perhaps more common to what Earth was like three or four billion years ago." That means bacterial lifeforms.

Dr Boss estimates that Nasa's Kepler mission, due for launch in March, should begin finding some of these Earth-like planets within the next few years.

Recent work at Edinburgh University tried to quantify how many intelligent civilisations might be out there. The research suggested there could be thousands of them.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7891132.stm

What do you all think. I've read loads of stuff about how life on Earth is the result iof some pretty momentous co-incidences so how likely do we think it is for there to be other Earth's out there?

 
Arcane
504481.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:10 am Reply with quote

Sorry misterchris, but I started a thread about Galaxies here in the G series back post 437100 here.

 
Moosh
504620.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:43 am Reply with quote

misterchris wrote:
What do you all think. I've read loads of stuff about how life on Earth is the result iof some pretty momentous co-incidences so how likely do we think it is for there to be other Earth's out there?


I think it's very likely for there to be other Earth-like planets out there. As you say, in order to be suitable to host life as we know it, there have to be some co-incidences regarding the distance of the planet from the sun and so on. However, our galaxy contains several hundred billion stars, and for the sake of argument say each has ten planets. If the chance of a planet having the right conditions for life is one in a million, that's still millions of planets in the galaxy with the right conditions.

I don't know what the actual figures are, as I haven't studied this, but I think the probability is that whatever the minuscule chance a planet has of developing life, that'll be more tahn outweighed by the sheer number of planets there are.

 
costean
504713.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:32 pm Reply with quote

We are touching on the subject of Drake's Equation (or one of its key inputs, anyway). There has been discussion of this in the past.

Jenny's post 46009 and Davini994's post 246150 are good starting points.

 
mckeonj
504722.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:03 pm Reply with quote

When discussing the probabilities involved in there being life on planets which orbit stars, it is well to remember that we know of at least one instance where the probability=1.

 
Moosh
504731.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:23 pm Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
When discussing the probabilities involved in there being life on planets which orbit stars, it is well to remember that we know of at least one instance where the probability=1.


Well, probability = as near to 1 as to make no difference. We can't be absolutely certain that there is life on Earth.

 
Posital
504839.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:27 pm Reply with quote

Moosh wrote:
Well, probability = as near to 1 as to make no difference. We can't be absolutely certain that there is life on Earth.


Hey, don't get all existential on us Moosh...

 
bobwilson
504933.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:31 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Hey, don't get all existential on us Moosh...


shouldn't that be "non-existential"?

 
thegrandwazoo
505053.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:46 pm Reply with quote

Moosh wrote:
mckeonj wrote:
When discussing the probabilities involved in there being life on planets which orbit stars, it is well to remember that we know of at least one instance where the probability=1.


Well, probability = as near to 1 as to make no difference. We can't be absolutely certain that there is life on Earth.


Should that be "intelligent life" (thank you Monty Python)

 
mckeonj
505591.  Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:03 pm Reply with quote

How would you define "intelligent life"?

 
bobwilson
505593.  Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:04 pm Reply with quote

Is this the questions thread?

 
thegrandwazoo
505608.  Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:30 pm Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
How would you define "intelligent life"?


I wouldn't, it was a joke based on Eric Idles song from "The Meaning of Life".

 
mckeonj
505967.  Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:36 am Reply with quote

It must have been the Idle refrain that preceded the "Lost Chord"

 
Ian Dunn
539767.  Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:49 am Reply with quote

According to astronomers used the IRAM telescope in Spain, the centre of the Milky Way tastes of raspberries and smells of rum.

This is because it contains ethyl formate, the chemical which gives raspberries their flavor.

Story from The Guardian

 
CB27
539857.  Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:10 am Reply with quote

I wondered where the phantom raspberry blower of old London town went to.

 

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