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Author Topic: Extraterrestrial Life?
Hannibal
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Nasa is about to hold a press conference on 14:00 EST today at Washington.

This press conference is going to (quote):
"discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. "

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-167_Astrobiology.html


Anybody heared of this?

I am not expecting that Nasa contacted the Vulcans, but if they life outside of earth it will be huge.


Maybe I am a little premature about this thread since the conference is still 10 hours away, but I just found out about this.

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TheRallanator
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They haven't found life. They've just worked out something about the makeup of the universe (probably related to the recent news that most galaxies contain oodles and oodles more red dwarf stars than previously thought) that makes the possibility of life more likely.

I mean let's face it, if they had detected life on other worlds, they'd have the world's biggest storm of PR happening.

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Adam Masterman
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Yeah, the announcements about extra-terrestrial life that you really want to pay attention to are the one's made by the President during primetime. Like that time President Bill Pullman rallied us all to fight those massive alien ships that were thousands of years ahead of our best technology (thank god for that Death Star-esque design flaw) [Big Grin]
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Hannibal
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If Nasa discovered a fleet of vessels en route to earth, then probably the President will issue a statement during primetime.

However, if they find microboes and amoebas on Mars or Europa or Titan, I dont think that the President will steal their glory

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edgmatt
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From what I understand, they potentially discovered microbes that lived in a mostly Arsenic environment, which is counter to the rest of life on Earth. This was a basic understanding that scientists held, that phosphorous was the main source of life. (Or something like that.)

So if there is life on Earth that can be based off an Arsenic environment, then the potential for life to exist on planets that have a high arsenic content increases. We may have dismissed these planets/moons in the past because of the Arsenic, but now we might be going back to see if maybe we missed something. I believe Titan is the specific place they are discussing.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Like that time President Bill Pullman rallied us all to fight those massive alien ships that were thousands of years ahead of our best technology (thank god for that Death Star-esque design flaw) [Big Grin]

And don't forget the aliens being completely unaware of network security and leaving their entire computer control system wide open to attack.
[Wink]

It's lucky for us humans that aliens are always technologically advanced morons.

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Wayward Son
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To be fair, they were telepathic aliens (IIRC), which means they probably had no secrets from one another. Why worry about security when the other guy can read your mind? It probably wasn't an issue within their own society.

Of course, that doesn't make it any less moronic (not to mention extremely convenient for us). [Smile]

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TommySama
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Well, the underdog is in a special position to exploit the weaknesses of the more powerful. Think American Revolution. Or the ways that terrorists are able to exploit American technology. Or apparently how easy it would be to destroy carrier ships. Big stuff is vulnerable.
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Hannibal
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What a letdown....

some scientists found some microbes in a lake.


bla bloo bli

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starLisa
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They didn't even. It sounded like they were saying these microbes evolved using arsenic instead of phosphorus, but that isn't the case. They still use phosphorus, but if they're deprived of phosphorus and have access to arsenic, they can use the arsenic in place of the missing phosphorus. Nothing like the hype.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Hannibal:
What a letdown....

some scientists found some microbes in a lake.


bla bloo bli

Dude, it's a huge deal. Bigger to me than evidence of extraterrestrial life. Not just microbes, but microbes that we're not related to.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
They didn't even. It sounded like they were saying these microbes evolved using arsenic instead of phosphorus, but that isn't the case. They still use phosphorus, but if they're deprived of phosphorus and have access to arsenic, they can use the arsenic in place of the missing phosphorus. Nothing like the hype.

Oh. OK, Morgan Freeman already told us about that -- they just completed the study already in progress.
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TomDavidson
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To sum up: phosphorus is yet another thing that life does not require.
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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Hannibal:
What a letdown....

some scientists found some microbes in a lake.


bla bloo bli

Dude, it's a huge deal. Bigger to me than evidence of extraterrestrial life. Not just microbes, but microbes that we're not related to.
Dude, we're related to them. They're extremely distant cousins to be sure, but they're no further from us than any other bacteria you could care to name. What makes these little guys a big deal isn't the fact that they're completely new and unrelated to anything we've ever found before or anything like that, but that they're a new example of the sort of insanely hostile conditions that life can thrive in. Which makes the concept of life on other worlds that little bit more plausible, because we can take yet another environmental extreme off the "places where life can't happen" list.
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Clark
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quote:
Dude, we're related to them.
quote:
they're completely new and unrelated to anything we've ever found before
I suppose this is self-consistent if we have never found ourselves. [Smile]
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Hannibal:
What a letdown....

some scientists found some microbes in a lake.


bla bloo bli

Dude, it's a huge deal. Bigger to me than evidence of extraterrestrial life. Not just microbes, but microbes that we're not related to.
Dude, we're related to them. They're extremely distant cousins to be sure, but they're no further from us than any other bacteria you could care to name. What makes these little guys a big deal isn't the fact that they're completely new and unrelated to anything we've ever found before or anything like that, but that they're a new example of the sort of insanely hostile conditions that life can thrive in. Which makes the concept of life on other worlds that little bit more plausible, because we can take yet another environmental extreme off the "places where life can't happen" list.
Thank you; I came to understand that between my first and second post; the first news article had distorted the info. Dunno why NASA got involved in the first place; this is pure biochem.

Tom, it's still unclear whether life can evolve in the first place with arsenic rather than phosphorus, but we know at least the single-cell can support a substitution.

Maybe there's a critter out there that can use plutonium instead of iron in its hemoglobin, but you'd better wear a lead suit if you invite it over for dinner. [Big Grin]

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