posted by RRRGroup at
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
G' Morning. Although people are focusing on the idea of a nearby planet, I've found the new perspective on red dwarfs far more interesting. We're passing through a watershed moment in the search for life elsewhere. It's always been taken for granted that red dwarfs *can't* support life-sustaining planets. It was thought they'd be too cold or too hot to be worth looking at.They dim out for long periods too which raises deep concerns about life even lasting out there - scads of issues. Most of our energies have been spent looking at stars like ours and planets like ours which orbit at relative distances like ours; we've been looking for *us.*Now the net is being cast wider and attention is beginning to focus on the red stars. There are more of them than other types of star and they're really, really old too. We've estimated a window of some 3.5 billion years for us to be here now and applied that to guesstimates for life on other worlds too. The window could have occurred many times over in some red dwarf planetary systems. I'm not saying we'll find life there and it's not absolutely clear how climate systems could work on these potentially tidally-locked worlds. I just find it exciting that we've got around 75% more stars to look at for planets and signs of life. The nearby planet is interesting too. It's more of a signpost that we don't always see what's under our noses.
By Kandinsky, at Thursday, August 25, 2016
How many times in the last 50-60 years have we read things like "another planet that could support life" or "new possible life-bearing planet found"? It goes on and on. My answer is: So what? Scientists love telling us all the things that 'could' or 'might' happen and that we might even one day visit these this planet. This new object is so near to us, huh? A mere 25 trillion miles away! OK so it is the nearest star to us. Big deal! Boy am I excited.Of course there is the other extreme, the gang that insists we should look after all those umpteen millions suffering on earth before even thinking about Alpha Centauri, etc. They can be just as boring.Or is it time for me to shut up this ranting? But in reality it all gets rather repetitive and tiresome - like ufology these days.
By cda, at Thursday, August 25, 2016
Yes, CDA...Those "life supporting" planets are popping up more and more but are really just "pie in the sky" -- they are so far away and so unproven to have life or the vicissitudes of life that I'm surprised "science" keeps ballyhooing the things, science being more "religious" than scientific.RR
By RRRGroup, at Thursday, August 25, 2016
Kandinsky:The new found planet offers hope to those who hope we're not alone in the Universe.But for all practical considerations we are alone.....for now.RR
"Pie in the sky"indeed. Each time we hear this nonsense there no talk about all the other considerations: Water and temperature, iron core for radiation shielding, moon for stabilization, Jupiter-like pal for meteorite avoidance. All that and more to be sure. It appears that take away just one of those and we wouldn't be having a conversation at all. Oh, and there is that slight problem of it being 4.25 light years away.BD
By Bryan Daum, at Thursday, August 25, 2016
Those are the caveats I suggested readers note, Bryan.(By the way, make sure to delete white space after you sign comment. This will keep comment from looking like a white sheet of paper. I do the same thing all the time -- forget to shorten comment space by using "enter" key.)RR
It's good to know of Proxima b just because we can know, I suppose.But since it's so close to its likely red dwarf parent it has probably been irradiated for eons. I doubt very much if any kind life as we know it could even begin much less exist on what might as well be called "X-RAY World!"And it orbits its star in a dizzying 11 days. It is probably tidally locked, one face scorched, one frozen. So much for the "habitable zone." It's just another ball of existential real estate, it's just another hunk of rock.As you were, soldiers.I do agree, Chris, that those who cry "possible life" at every astronomical discovery should knock it off. There could be perfect duplicate of Earth out there somewhere and it still be lifeless because something just didn't go right.Eons of elements stewing, bombarded by neutrinos and cosmic rays, but no happy accident, no happy ending.It is the great unfortunate conceit of human consciousness to project itself onto random cosmic violence, that of other worlds and that in front of our faces.
By zoamchomsky, at Thursday, August 25, 2016
'It is the great unfortunate conceit of human consciousness to project itself onto random cosmic violence, that of other worlds and that in front of our faces.'Compliments on an evocative and truthful sentence. Conceit or not, it's a respectable pursuit to engage with the unknown on the off-chance we see a metaphorical plume of smoke on a distant horizon. Whoah there, before you equate the 'plume' reference with the hoofbeats of horses versus zebras; you know what I mean. Many a sober scientist will be looking and we shouldn't be distracted from their integrity by the clichéd tripe of popular journalism. Saying that, I'm as easily distracted as anyone.
For me, fellows, it's not scientific integrity, but a delusional kind of madness, an infantile approach to cosmology, a kind of escape from reality that afflicts physicists and related science.I notice a look into the eyes of the men and women who seek for life elsewhere. There's a giddy gleam, that is often accompanied by giddy talk.These sober beings aren't quite here, like many ET advocates in the UFO community.If there are other thinking (intelligent) civilizations, abundant in the cosmos, few living now -- perhaps only the very young -- will have access to it.It's a dream-like state and psychologically aberrant.RR
I don't know about it being 'delusional.' Isn't it an expression of our innate instincts to look to new horizons? It's surely an aspect of whatever caused us to explore our world. It's right there in the minds of kids when they set out, lunches packed, to the woods over on the distant skyline.The vocational urge that drew people towards being astronomers is, to some degree, a curiosity about life elsewhere. Our best science-fiction authors have been scientists too and captured the essence of the what-if. Didn't you ever lie back and look at the stars? Didn't the young RR wonder if there was another intelligence thinking the same thing? It's innocence and wonder to a greater degree than it's aberrance.
Yes, K...There is a healthy curiosity that mankind is subject to. (There is a new book about imagination furthering mankind more than evolution; a book I'll be highlighting in a day or so.)What I'm talking about is not sober science....sober was your word. But an overly exuberant glee that often suffuses the conversations of cosmologists and Big Bang advocates.The difference is between sobriety and giddiness....an almost silly, childish -- not childlike -- posture.Sure, humans often look to horizons of various kinds. That's what has us where we are.But to take a step too far when the practicality -- they will never see the fruition of there dream -- is in place, we have a psychological malady.RR
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