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Extra-terrestrial life watch

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    Hi guys,
    Not sure if this is in the right place or if there is another thread on this so let me know if there is! The question of whether humans are alone in the universe is an age-old question of science/philosophy. The recent news of the plans to send some sort of probe to alpha centauri (which seems pretty awesome) got me thinking about this question: (http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/12/us...eat/index.html)
    It seems like the alpha centauri star system itself is unlikely to be hospitable to life due to the binary star system, but who knows what life could be like elsewhere in the universe, and it could be the start of proper interstellar exploration. So what do you guys think? Do you think there is life beyond earth? Do you think life is more likely to exist in our solar system (outside earth itself) or in the rest of the universe? Would we be able to find it if there was? Over to you!
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    I think there could be something else out there but not sure we'll ever find it.
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    Depending on your definition of life, I'm willing to bet mine on it that we aren't alone in the universe. The universe is just too vast for there not to be imo.
    But like claireestelle said, I have my doubts on whether human beings will ever encounter it.
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    I'm willing to bet large amounts of money that life exists on Mars, and I would even wager there might be semi-complex life there too.

    I think it's highly likely that at some point (maybe even within our lifetimes), we will "see" intelligent alien life. By this I mean, see their effects. Whether we actually encounter them is another issue, and depends on the limits of reality.
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    (Original post by BhagwanNoBhool)
    Depending on your definition of life, I'm willing to bet mine on it that we aren't alone in the universe. The universe is just too vast for there not to be imo.
    But like claireestelle said, I have my doubts on whether human beings will ever encounter it.
    What are the different definitions? If it can grow and reproduce wouldn't that more or less constitute life?
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    I'm willing to bet large amounts of money that life exists on Mars, and I would even wager there might be semi-complex life there too.

    I think it's highly likely that at some point (maybe even within our lifetimes), we will "see" intelligent alien life. By this I mean, see their effects. Whether we actually encounter them is another issue, and depends on the limits of reality.
    What sort of effects could we see of intelligent aliens?
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    Would destroy each other with our foreign illnesses, RIP


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    (Original post by drandy76)
    Would destroy each other with our foreign illnesses, RIP


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    That's if we actually met, but that seems pretty unlikely unless we find a way to travel near the speed of light or we find 'intelligent' life in our solar system which seems essentially impossible.
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    (Original post by Alex from almanis)
    What sort of effects could we see of intelligent aliens?
    Large structures, radio signals, something plantary.. All sorts.

    (Original post by Alex from almanis)
    What are the different definitions? If it can grow and reproduce wouldn't that more or less constitute life?
    Theoretically you could apply that to ice
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    Theoretically you could apply that to ice
    (Original post by Alex from almanis)
    What are the different definitions? If it can grow and reproduce wouldn't that more or less constitute life?
    Usually the hallmarks of life are that it undergoes metabolism (extracting energy from its surroundings, storing it, and using it), grows and reproduces independently, as you've said, and that it has a clear distinction between self and nonself (in the form of skin or a cell membrane). Ice can grow and shrink, but it doesn't metabolise and it doesn't distinguish between itself and the rest of the world.

    Defining life can be tricky sometimes. Viruses are the classic case - they can't grow or reproduce independently of their host, and they have no real metabolism, so they're not actually alive - but they do some awfully lifelike things.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    Large structures, radio signals, something plantary.. All sorts.
    We're talking a pretty huge civilization if they can make observable structures. They would be a decent way more developed than us if that was the case
    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    Theoretically you could apply that to ice
    Ice doesn't really grow or reproduce. It's frozen water and if you pour more water onto it that water can freeze too, that's not really reproduction.
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    (Original post by Alex from almanis)
    We're talking a pretty huge civilization if they can make observable structures. They would be a decent way more developed than us if that was the case
    Yes and no.

    The level of advancement needed for us to observe them shrinks as we make our own advances.

    (Original post by Alex from almanis)
    Ice doesn't really grow or reproduce. It's frozen water and if you pour more water onto it that water can freeze too, that's not really reproduction.
    Ice Crystals grow and convert more water into said Ice Crystals. It's a pretty basic form, but it's example of why being able to grow and convert it's surroundings to itself is not the only qualifier for life. There are many other similar examples.
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    The day we answer the Fermi paradox is the day we find out if there is other intelligent life in the universe.

    Until then, there are too many variables.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    Ice Crystals grow and convert more water into said Ice Crystals. It's a pretty basic form, but it's example of why being able to grow and convert it's surroundings to itself is not the only qualifier for life. There are many other similar examples.
    The ice is just a case of something already in the air changing its chemical state (water/water vapour turning into ice). There is no actual biological process of reproduction/irreversible chemical change. The process of reproduction isn't just something getting bigger I don't think
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    (Original post by Alex from almanis)
    What are the different definitions? If it can grow and reproduce wouldn't that more or less constitute life?
    Virus' do both of those things, but we don't really consider them as life. That opens up a bit of a philosophical argument too, if a robot with an AI could not only augment itself, but create new robots of it's kind, would that constitute as life? I mean it's more complex then a bacterium but I still wouldn't consider it "alive".
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    I believe the existence of tardigrades alone are proof of extra-terrestrial life; they can't have gained their characteristics on Earth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade
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    Logic says that in a universe as big as ours, the requirements for life are likely to have been met in many other places throughout, whether or not life actually forms.

    Personally I believe that life is going to be rare, but it will happened in other areas of the galaxy/universe beside Earth.

    (Original post by Alex from almanis)
    What are the different definitions? If it can grow and reproduce wouldn't that more or less constitute life?
    This is the rationale behind Stephen Hawking (and others) saying that computer viruses constitite life, albeit of a very simply kind.
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    (Original post by drandy76)
    Would destroy each other with our foreign illnesses, RIP
    Would an alien illness even be compatible with our physiology? :holmes:
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    If we look at how life seems to have originated on this planet, that dates back about 3.5 billion years. That's life as in its most basic single-celled form but with an ability to replicate due to its DNA from which we all have evolved. One day there was a bag of chemicals that twitched and somehow copied itself into a twin and the rest is history, as they say.

    What that tells us is that life can 'appear' in an environment like that of the Earth that long ago, the crust hadn't even fully formed at that stage. We do know how bacteria can live in the most varied environments, feeding on acid if that is all on the menu, and how it has be found deeply buried underground. That versatility and resilience suggests it is most likely to have come about elsewhere out there.

    Microbial life out there is quite likely but how much of it manages to evolve may depend on a specific scenario. Alternatively, it may evolve into something of its own as shaped by the environment and look quite ugly and repellent to us.
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    (Original post by BhagwanNoBhool)
    Virus' do both of those things, but we don't really consider them as life. That opens up a bit of a philosophical argument too, if a robot with an AI could not only augment itself, but create new robots of it's kind, would that constitute as life? I mean it's more complex then a bacterium but I still wouldn't consider it "alive".
    Viruses are only able to reproduce with the aid of a host cell, and can't use thecell division method, which I guess is why they're not considered alive. Having said that, it's an interesting question: there is no guarantee life on other planets would necessarily share certain characteristics with us
 
 
 
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