Is there life on other planets?

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Do you believe in aliens? Was there a crash at Roswell?...What would aliens look like, and why the hell would they make contact with us???

Also, write a song or poem about aliens if you so desire...

jel, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Nude answers

jel, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

All that crashed at Roswell = debris. They found nowt but DEBRIS. Admittedly odd-looking debris that American D-FENS tried to cover up as a crashed weather balloon, but debris nonetheless...

Kodanshi, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

The AirForce changed their story in 1996. They said that the bodies were test dummies in a topsecret experiment. That sounds veeery likely.

MAG, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I sure do believe in Katherine Heigl

Jeff, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Roswell = basis for plot of rebel w/o a cause, w.greys replaced by James Dean, Sal Mineo etc. Hopped-up junior spacekids were playing chicken: they all jumped out in time and returned home for a wigging, but obv. the passion wagons were totalled.

mark s, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Most of the films I have been watching lately seem to offer reasons NOT to explore outer space (Solaris,Alien) - to the point where they seem like excuses for the failure of the space race.

Damian, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

"Sitting out on your house, watching hardcore UFO's, drawing pictures playing solos again, are you amplified to rock, are you hoping for a contact, I'll be with you, without you, again."

[Hardcore UFO's, GbV]

I believe in Alien Lanes.

Trevor, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

First life in outer space discovered on Io (sp?), 2nd moon of Jupiter: its entire surface is currently spurting volcanoes and bubbling lava. Second life in outer space discovered on Europa, 3rd moon of Jupiter: entire surface is ice & glaziers. And that's it. Other planets exhibit signs of former life (ie. river canyons on Mars) but have nothing currently "alive". This is all geological life, mind, but y'know, it's evolution in process — those Jupiter moons will sprout more advanced lifeforms millions of years from now, by which time Earth will be entirely dead. I owe all my fractured knowledge to BBC World.

AP, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

life on saturn: sun ra from there (proof by anagram)
life on planets of sirius system: stockhausen from there (proof by comparison)

mark s, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Yes, there is life on Mars.

DJ Martian, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... "Sun Ra" anagramised doesn't give "Saturn". It gives "Saurn". So I suppose you would pronounce it Cockney style.

Kodanshi, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

S'rike me pink me ol chinaah: yes it wuz a joke you ni'wi'

mark s, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Mark S. - the lost Mitchell brother.

Nicole, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

They will come for you Nicole when you are not expecting it, and the last face you see will be a face you know. That is all.

mark s, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Mark S, you are being very unusual. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I don't know if there's extraterrestrial life but it's never too soon to start firing nuclear weapons at other planets to neutralize it. Can't be too careful.

dave q, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

no unless you are mormon and then theres mofoing kolob

anthony, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I know for a fact aliens exist as I saw them come floating down in a graceful search for nutrients. They sucked salt from my pretzels then left, murmering " We wanna love you"

Mike Hanle y, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Kolob! Battlestar Galactica! MORMONS...IN...SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!! I tell you, you can't go wrong with stuff like that.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

demi moore emerged from roswell roughly same time as landing...that's enough reason for me to avoid the thought.

Geoff, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

ten months pass...
Planet Greenspun where the beetroots live!

jel -- (jel), Monday, 19 August 2002 18:25 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
No one wrote any alien poetry :(

jel -- (jel), Saturday, 30 August 2003 15:33 (seventeen years ago) link

Contrary to all common sense, I will address this question (set of questions, really) seriously.

First, if by "other planets" you aren't confining the question to the local solar system, then it seems to me that life on other planets is a dead certainty, since there appear to be many millions of galaxies, each with many, many millions of stars. That ensures the existance many billions of planets in the universe. The thought that life arose on only one planet, this one, borders on insanity.

The genuinely interesting questions come further down the line of reasoning. Life may be common as dirt, but it is a long leap from life to alien visitors.

The laws of Darwinian evolution are so general and fundamental that it is reasonable to assume that wherever life arises, evolutionary pressures will also arise, leading to speciation. In a certain number of cases, life will make the enormous leap from single cells to multicelluar organisms. Once this occurs, the number of forms life can take explodes. So, it is reasonable to assume that there are at least hundred of thousands of planets where life is complex, multiform and pervasive in a way that is similar to the earth. Probably millions.

Among complex animals on earth, limited forms of both intelligence and consciousness are fairly common. Memory has obvious survival advantages, as do learning and foresight. We happen to stand at the very outer edge of the bell curve in this regard, but anyone who observes animals knows they possess some intelligence, too. Given a couple billion years of evolution, intelligence in some form and to some degree will occur on most life-infested planets.

So far so good. But prodding mere intelligence and consciousness over the evolutionary hump to develop a highly social animal with complex communication skills and high technology presents a special problem, since it isn't clear what sorts of specific evolutionary pressures were applied to perfectly good primates in order to force our ancestors into taking this weird path toward survival.

In fact, the whole primate strategy seems to be a dubious one, since so few primate species have survived. Metaphorically, we seem to have been squeezed through a tiny keyhole of chance and leapt into a wholly new world of possibilities that no other animal on earth has ever visited, or was likely to visit. But, given enough chances, it still seems reasonable to speculate that this has happened many hundreds, and more likely many thousands of times in the universe.

The "final frontier" in this set of questions is space travel. Even if there are plenty of highly intelligent, highly technological societies scattered through the universe, you've still got to provide them with a motive and opportunity to visit us. That means they must solve some pretty obdurate problems in physics.

Remember, we're probably talking. not merely about travel between stars, but across and between galaxies. It is all well and good to imagine doing this, but doing it is another thing. Even if a physically possible method for intergalatic travel does exist (wormholes and so on), it is almost certain to be so unimaginatively expensive in terms of materials and effort and so impractical in terms of return on investment (the equivalent of evolutionary suicide), that it would checkmate all progress in that direction.

Still, when you start from a base of millions of galaxies, I suppose even the vanishingly small odds of aliens ever visiting earth can't be ruled out as utterly impossible. It's so enormously improbable that it approaches impossibility asymptotically.

One thing ordinary humans seem very bad at is systematically assessing the odds of stuff like this happening. Bring me the head of an alien on a platter and I will believe it.

Aimless, Saturday, 30 August 2003 17:45 (seventeen years ago) link

the reason no aliens will ever come visit us is that the technology needed to re-jig one's neurochemistry so as to produce a permanent state of euphoria will always be developed far sooner than the technology required to achieve intergalactic travel. and once you've reached a state of constant bliss then why would you feel any urge to to even leave the room never mind set of in search of new worlds?

sb, Saturday, 30 August 2003 19:19 (seventeen years ago) link

Aimless, I can't even begin to count the number of dubious assumptions in that piece. You are making up approximate odds and guesses on no basis at all, once you get past pointing out that the universe certainly includes countless billions of planets. We don't really know how life began, so we have no idea at all how probable it is - the fact that we are here only shows that it happened once. Indeed, what we do know about earthly life won't relate at all to gas giant planets, and last I'd heard we haven't discovered anything else around other stars yet.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 30 August 2003 20:02 (seventeen years ago) link

Martin, I'm confused by your post. Are you saying you think that life only exists on one planet, ours? Or are you only saying that we possess no physical evidence for life on other planets?

If you are saying the first, then I wish you would reveal your line of reasoning for reaching this conclusion. I would find it interesting. If it is the second, then I agree with you, because you are stating the blindingly obvious.

As for saying that my assumptions are "dubious", all you are saying is that it is possible to doubt them. Sure it is. The whole subject is confined to the realm of speculation and everyone's speculations about it could be fairly called "dubious".

But, whatever your point was, I think you missed my point by a good country mile, which was that, even using somewhat persmissive assumptions and granting the existance of somewhat numerous advanced technological societies among the millions of galaxies, there are powerful reasons to conclude they have not solved the profound obstacles inherent in coming to earth for a visit and they never will.

If your position is even more restrictive than mine in terms of granting the existance of such societies, then you should be even quicker to reach the same conclusion -- although you didn't say what you conclude on the alien visitation question.

Aimless, Saturday, 30 August 2003 20:32 (seventeen years ago) link

No I'm not suggesting I have any conclusions, I'm suggesting that the way you reach yours is full of thoroughly shoddy reasoning. To be honest, if you hadn't included completely absurd statements like "it is reasonable to assume that there are at least hundred of thousands of planets where life is complex..." and "It's so enormously improbable that it approaches impossibility asymptotically" I wouldn't have had a go.

As my previous post probably implied, since we don't know (to name just a few major factors) how common solid planets are, we don't know how life evolved, we don't know too much about what mind and intelligence are, nor how likely it is that any creatures might evolve same in any given period, we don't know how old the universe is, we don't know that the speed of light is an absolute limit, and we certainly don't know how expensive wormholes might be (where did that nonsense come from in your thinking?) it would be mad to try to speculate on the odds of intelligent life existing and dropping in here.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 30 August 2003 22:20 (seventeen years ago) link

Lawrence from Felt could be an enderaring alien!
(here are the points that are salient...)
He;s bald like a grey but with long side hair
He catches a whiff everywhere
of cooked bomb and compressed vertigo
if humans break his spaceship hygiene-seal - here *we* go
again! try listening to this poem with sun ra 'playin'
- it's funny because lawrence isn;t that kind of alien
well his mot a jazzy bigeyes bighead
timothy leary says lawrences's neurocircuit is ahead, gloria
and lawrence says 'sod euphoria!'

(sorry for swearing)

jaunbersin (anthonee), Saturday, 30 August 2003 22:52 (seventeen years ago) link

can i just say that "persmissive" is my new favourite word?

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 30 August 2003 23:37 (seventeen years ago) link


oops (Oops), Saturday, 30 August 2003 23:38 (seventeen years ago) link


mark s (mark s), Saturday, 30 August 2003 23:40 (seventeen years ago) link

Martin, wouldn't you agree that, if you say you know what I say nonsensical, that implies you know what is sensical?

If you know that my speculations are "nonsense", please share that knowledge. If you really have no idea what degree of validity my speculations possess in relation to the truth, even if only by sheerest accident, then I would appreciate a clear acknowledgment that your own judgement in this matter is based, like mine, largely on ignorance. I submit that, logically, if we are equally ignorant, and neither of us pretends that our opinions are based on anything but assumptions and speculations, then our opinions are equally valid, if only because there is no earthly way to decide which of our opinions is more invalid than the other.

I would further point out that my speculations about life elsewhere do not reflect any judgement on you or your abilities. On the other hand, your comments do reflect a judgement on me. Because I identified my speculations and assumptions as speculations and assumptions, I think pointing out that are inexact and unfactual is no basis for calling them "shoddy", unless you can do better.

If, as you maintain, "it would be mad to try to speculate on the odds of intelligent life existing", then I would point out that you have thereby consigned a very large number of people, including a large number of respectable scientists, to the madhouse, for what I would characterize as a harmless intellectual exercise. You might want to rethink that position.

Aimless, Sunday, 31 August 2003 01:40 (seventeen years ago) link

That's the Post of the Week, in the circumstances.

Eyeball Kicks (Eyeball Kicks), Sunday, 31 August 2003 01:54 (seventeen years ago) link

it hinges on defining life. carbon-based, legs and arms?
i believe there is life on other planets and in space, and hell of a lot of it, including virsus that rain down on our atmosphere daily.
viruses are alive, no?
and what about things we can't conceive of? things without bodies? things that don't depend on metabolism as we know it? things that are not carbon-based? where did the viruses come from?!!!

I definitely would NOT rule out life on other planets....

Orbit (Orbit), Sunday, 31 August 2003 02:11 (seventeen years ago) link

Aimless, you are getting worse. It is you putting figures on things with no basis. I am pointing out that you have no basis for them. It's possible that you can show that I'm wrong by pointing out the basis for them, but not by saying that I have to come up with my own numbers. I'm not telling you they are wrong, I'm telling you they are made-up numbers with no reasoning behind them. You might be right, but you are just as likely to be off by many orders of magnitude.

Rather than claiming that lots of scientists do this, show me one example of a respected scientist saying something so foolish, or give me some account of how you get to these numbers.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 31 August 2003 09:44 (seventeen years ago) link

"aaahh, there ain't no life nowhere" - J Hendrix

dave q, Sunday, 31 August 2003 10:09 (seventeen years ago) link

Barney over across the hall in the Chromatography lab is offering 3-1 against the proposition that there are intelligent beings living under the surface of Pluto and I for one am not going to turn down such easy money

Respected Scientist (J0hn Darn1elle), Sunday, 31 August 2003 13:11 (seventeen years ago) link

I am still at a loss to understand what you are driving at, Martin. I make no bones about the possibility that my numbers might be off by a couple orders of magnitude. We agree on that. Raw speculation tends to work that way.

You ask me to name a scientist saying something 'as foolish' as what I've said. The very construction of your request renders it useless as a way of furthering the conversation. However, I can easily offer you proof that reputable scientists do speculate on the presence of life elsewhere in the universe. As it happens that NASA has already scheduled a couple of probes to Mars, the major purpose of which is to gather information regarding the possible presence of life on that planet in the distant past. The SETI project wouldn't exist without such speculation.

Scientists speculate, sometimes wildly. They couldn't do really good, creative science without speculating. That doesn't mean they stop there. But that is where science starts, because no one ever looks for evidence of something they never thought about before.

I suspect that what bothers you most about my original post is that I used numbers inexactly, for the purpose of illustrating the gist of an idea rather than for precision and measurement, and that this offended your mathematical sensibilities. If it seems to you that this was a perversion of the use of number, then I plead guilty. Again. But your inability to grant any legitimacy on my side and your repeated insults really suck.

Aimless, Sunday, 31 August 2003 17:59 (seventeen years ago) link

is it something like this---

aimless: there is definitely life elsewhere.

martin: you can't say 'definitely'.

aimless: you're saying there definitely isn't?

martin: no, I won't say definitely and neither should you.

aimless: be clearer.


RJG (RJG), Sunday, 31 August 2003 18:05 (seventeen years ago) link

how do we know 'we're' here?

dave q, Sunday, 31 August 2003 18:09 (seventeen years ago) link

Because we're queer?

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Sunday, 31 August 2003 18:47 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't say definitely. So, if this is the basis of the objection, it is based on a misunderstanding.

I definitely believe there is life elsewhere in the universe. I base this belief on what I consider to be strong reasoning, rather than arbitrary whim. For example: Life is based in chemistry and physics. Those operate everywhere and 'everywhere' takes in a lot of territory. Because, in my experience, similar forces applied to similar materials generally give similar results, I conclude it is far more reasonable to believe life arose elsewhere than to believe the earth is as unlike the rest of the universe as chalk from cheese.

Furthermore, Darwinism addresses what happens to life once it arises: given enough time, life speciates according to known laws. The earth is over four billion years old. We know that was long enough to evolve humans and for humans to generate high technology. Again, based on the fundamental scientific idea that the laws of the universe operate everywhere alike, I believe the laws described by Darwinism are laws, and therefore apply to life wherever it exists.

Clearly, there is nothing in the laws of life that requires human-like life to evolve. However, I believe there is time enough and space enough in the universe that the traits of intelligence and sociability would combine in some species elsewhere. Again, this seems more reasonable than to believe that life on earth has thrown out an anomaly so freakishly strange as to set humanity apart from every other life form in the entire universe.

But I am careful to characterize my reasoning as a chain of inference. A chain of inference begins in a certainty, but each successive link in the chain carries one further and further from certainty and into the unknown. I don't pretend otherwise. I cannot say that any other planet "definitely" has life, still less that any other planet "definitely" has a high tech society. But when I compare the chain that leads to this conclusion with that which concludes human life is utterly unique, not just in detail, but in kind, among the millions of galaxies, then I choose the first chain as the stronger.

It is only at the point where the chain of inference leads to the conclusion that other high tech societies from other planets have conquered the problems of intergalactic travel and have visited the earth that I find this conclusion more improbable than its counterpart.

Others can agree or disagree with my conclusions, but I would at least appreciate it for my position to be understood before it is dismissed. I know that understanding can take several iterations and clarifications, but dammit, it also takes some effort and goodwill on both sides. Just repeating "that's nothing but a chain of inference, so it is foolish nonsense" gets us nowhere, as does mischaracterizing what I said as "definitely".

Aimless, Sunday, 31 August 2003 19:13 (seventeen years ago) link

RJG's description is fair and accurate. As for what you are saying here, a line like "The thought that life arose on only one planet, this one, borders on insanity" is not suggesting that it's your belief or guess, it's saying it is definitely the case, albeit without the actual word "definitely" - just that to disagree "borders on insanity".

I am apparently thought of on here, I'm told, as affable and easy going and pleasant. This might make it more surprising when I say that I'm finding you to be very annoying and very dim and I have no desire to talk to you any further.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 31 August 2003 19:21 (seventeen years ago) link

You will then allow me the last word, which I shall attempt to take graciously.

I cannot help but think that you have done some thinking on this subject. It seems a pity that as a result of your annoyance with me we shall not know what your thinking is. I have done my best to address the objections you had to my arguments. If, in the end, your primary objections are to my personality, then there is little to be done about that.

Aimless, Sunday, 31 August 2003 19:50 (seventeen years ago) link

RJG's description is fair and accurate.

obviously I thought it was otherwise I wouldn't have posted it but it is funny because I didn't even really read the posts either of you had made.

RJG (RJG), Sunday, 31 August 2003 19:53 (seventeen years ago) link

one year passes...
From "The Atlantic Monthly," November 1997.

"Every time a major impact occurs on Europa, a vast quantity of water is splashed from the ocean into the space around Jupiter. Some of the water evaporates, and some condenses into snow. Creatures living in the water far enough from the impact have a chance of being splashed into space and quickly freeze-dried. Therefore, an easy way to look for evidence of life in Europa's ocean is to look for freeze-dried fish in the ring of space debris orbiting Jupiter.

Sending a spacecraft to visit and survey Jupiter's ring would be far less expensive than sending a submarine to visit and survey Europa's ocean. Even if we did not find freeze-dried fish in Jupiter's ring, we might find other surprises- freeze-dried seaweed, or a freeze-dried sea monster."

Sébastien Chikara (Sébastien Chikara), Friday, 22 October 2004 21:41 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm taking an Astronomy class this fall, and one of the most interesting things I've found out is that for a lot of these planets we've actually never gotten on the surface close enough to even to a wide-scale sweep of the whole planet. Case in point is Venus (i know i know, horrible atmospheric conditions, but...?)

I think it's funny cos when you see the Earth from space, one of the only things that hints at life is the amount of green on our planet, and that's even if we're looking close enough...

And sitcom broadcasts of course..

Adam Bruneau (oliver8bit), Friday, 22 October 2004 22:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Sending a spacecraft to visit and survey Jupiter's ring would be far less expensive than sending a submarine to visit and survey Europa's ocean.

But no where near as cool!!!

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Friday, 22 October 2004 23:22 (fifteen years ago) link

"It's not an asteroid, it's a deep frozen whale!!!"

jel -- (jel), Saturday, 23 October 2004 16:52 (fifteen years ago) link

what a hoki old premise.

d.arraghmac, Saturday, 23 October 2004 21:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Sorry it took so long. Here's one. I might post some more of his sci-fi poems later...

The First Men On Mercury

- We come in peace from the third planet.
Would you take us to your leader?

- Bawr stretter! Bawr. Bawr. Stretterhawl?

- This is a little plastic model
of the solar system, with working parts.
You are here and we are there and we
are now here with you, is this clear?

- Gawl horrop. Bawr. Abawrhannahanna!

- Where we come from is blue and white
with brown, you see we call the brown
here 'land', the blue is 'sea', and the white
is 'clouds' over land and sea, we live
on the surface of the brown land,
all round is sea and clouds. We are 'men'.
Men come -

- Glawp men! Gawrbenner menko. Menhawl?

- Men come in peace from the third planet
which we call 'earth'. We are earthmen.
Take us earthmen to your leader.

- Thmen? Thmen? Bawr. Bawrhossop.
Yuleeda tan hanna. Harrabost yuleeda.

- I am the yuleeda. You see my hands,
we carry no benner, we come in peace.
The spaceways are all stretterhawn.

- Glawn peacemen all horrabhanna tantko!
Tan come at'mstrossop. Glawp yuleeda!

- Atoms are peacegawl in our harraban.
Menbat worrabost from tan hannahanna.

- You men we know bawrhossoptant. Bawr.
We know yuleeda. Go strawg backspetter quick.

- We cantantabawr, tantingko backspetter now!

- Banghapper now! Yes, third planet back.
Yuleeda will go back blue, white, brown
nowhanna! There is no more talk.

- Gawl han fasthapper?

- No. You must go back to your planet.
Go back in peace, take what you have gained
but quickly.

- Stretterworra gawl, gawl...

- Of course, but nothing is ever the same,
now is it? You'll remember Mercury.

Edwin Morgan

Kevin Gilchrist (Mr Fusion), Sunday, 24 October 2004 12:52 (fifteen years ago) link

Kevin, in honor of Edwin Morgan, here's "proof" there's alien life!

lysander spooner, Friday, 29 October 2004 01:26 (fifteen years ago) link

five years pass...

After rediscovering this thread and reading Martin Skidmore's responses to me over again (several times), I still think I addressed all his stated objections, as directly as I knew how, and I still find his inability or unwillingness to make plain why he thought my posts were nonsensical to be both sullen and obstinate.

Of all the exchanges I've had on ILX, this one mystifies me perhaps more than any other, since Martin was not usually one to act like this.

Aimless, Sunday, 28 March 2010 20:31 (ten years ago) link

dude was obv one of "them"

A capella key change in "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips (Pillbox), Sunday, 28 March 2010 20:52 (ten years ago) link


I wouldn't take it personally - he had a couple of thread mini-meltdowns when battling pretty severe depression.

Bob Six, Sunday, 28 March 2010 21:32 (ten years ago) link

obviously there's life on other planets tho duh.

you watching 'wonders of the solar system' then?

Jermaine Jenason (darraghmac), Sunday, 28 March 2010 22:04 (ten years ago) link

The First Men On Mercury

Greatest thing I've ever read, maybe

Half lies and gorilla dust (Myonga Vön Bontee), Monday, 29 March 2010 06:01 (ten years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Don't talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking

Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.
“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”

Bob Six, Sunday, 25 April 2010 08:38 (ten years ago) link

"I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."

tell us more, oh bad science fiction plot recycler visionary scientist

the big pink suede panda bear hurts (ledge), Sunday, 25 April 2010 08:45 (ten years ago) link

Some scientist usually comes out with this "Don't talk to aliens 'cause they may come and enslave us and eat our pets and stuff!" every twenty years or so. They always figure that the aliens would have human psycology and human drives.

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Sunday, 25 April 2010 09:31 (ten years ago) link

Aliens will have human drives:

StanM, Sunday, 25 April 2010 09:39 (ten years ago) link

damn. the word I was thinking of was rides, wasn't it? :-/

StanM, Sunday, 25 April 2010 09:40 (ten years ago) link

No, they'll be driving much better cars than that. They'll be taking over the world, remember?

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Sunday, 25 April 2010 09:48 (ten years ago) link

Barney over across the hall in the Chromatography lab is offering 3-1 against the proposition that there are intelligent beings living under the surface of Pluto and I for one am not going to turn down such easy money

― Respected Scientist (J0hn Darn1elle), Sunday, August 31, 2003 9:11 AM (6 years ago)


Blecch Generation (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 25 April 2010 13:41 (ten years ago) link

Belgian tabloid headline about this: HAWKING SAYS ALIENS EXIST

StanM, Sunday, 25 April 2010 14:29 (ten years ago) link

We've been missing the obvious all along.

Jack Human (kenan), Monday, 26 April 2010 08:30 (ten years ago) link

the alien isn't inside, the car, THE ALIEN IS THE CAR

the big pink suede panda bear hurts (ledge), Monday, 26 April 2010 13:12 (ten years ago) link

I think we've found out what was really going on in My Mother, The Car: an alien was possessing Jerry (mumble mumble, forgot his last name)'s car and using the voice of his dead mother to lull him into a false sense of security in hopes that he'd later help it take over the world.

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Monday, 26 April 2010 15:27 (ten years ago) link

omg! Transformers is real, people. xpost

StanM, Monday, 26 April 2010 16:04 (ten years ago) link


StanM, Monday, 26 April 2010 21:20 (ten years ago) link

this is a topic i find fascinating, but the only honest answer to this question is "we don't know, and have no way of knowing until we find some."

here's some interesting arguments from the naysayers:

...the total lack of evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence suggests that among the all the many possible numbers of civilizations compatible with Drake-style calculations, very low numbers are the most likely to be right. As Fermi observed, if they were out there, they would have been here, and we would have noticed, or more likely failed to exist in the first place.

As another poster points out, because the sample set of life is 1, the standard deviation is infinite, so there is no reason for us to think that the vastness of the cosmos implies anything about the probability of life. It’s that intuitive feeling of the universe being big that causes people to think that there must somehow be aliens. But that bigness is merely big to us. The configuration space is so much larger, and indeed, most atomic configurations are not realized in this universe. People’s intuition is as if there is some cosmic arbiter that says, “okay, it’s been 100 billion planets, time to seed this one with life now!” Why at 100 billion? Why not seed life on every 10^10^123 planets, instead of merely every 10^11? The multiverse is infinite. There can be an infinite number of intelligent civilizations, each living alone in their own universe. To think that the vastness of space implies the presence of aliens is itself statistically ridiculous.

max arrrrrgh, Monday, 26 April 2010 21:37 (ten years ago) link

and intelligent life is a whole other ballgame. think about how long life on earth existed without humans. and how long we've actually been sending out radio signals.

max arrrrrgh, Monday, 26 April 2010 21:48 (ten years ago) link

ten months pass...

is this it? because i wanna be the guy who breaks the news to ilx.

end aggro business now (Hunt3r), Sunday, 6 March 2011 04:39 (nine years ago) link

my dad sent me a link to that journal article. the abstract contains the fantastic, fantastic phrase "indigenous to this meteor".

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 6 March 2011 04:41 (nine years ago) link

do they have enough material for... resurrection?

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 6 March 2011 04:54 (nine years ago) link

I was all excited until I read some of the comments on that foxnews interview. Stupid godfuckers ("their monkey theory can't explain the majesty of the LORD" - oh fuck off and die already) - I wish aliens came over here and just annihilated our entire planet right now. We're not worth discovering.

StanM, Sunday, 6 March 2011 14:11 (nine years ago) link

alien fossil taking a free ride on a meteor is the plot to a lot of horror/sci-fi films. i am excited!

homosexual II, Sunday, 6 March 2011 15:16 (nine years ago) link


Partisan Cheese Hostel (latebloomer), Sunday, 6 March 2011 15:18 (nine years ago) link

stoked, but no one irl seems to share my enthusiasm. my wife's response when I told her: "wow cool hey would you mind walking the dog?"

Darin, Sunday, 6 March 2011 21:09 (nine years ago) link

Thx for both those links, guys!

StanM, Sunday, 6 March 2011 21:32 (nine years ago) link

I wish aliens came over here and just annihilated our entire planet right now.

we have already started iirc

Head goes goes goes (Schlafsack), Sunday, 6 March 2011 21:39 (nine years ago) link

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 6 March 2011 21:41 (nine years ago) link

ten months pass...


Ned Raggett, Thursday, 2 February 2012 18:45 (eight years ago) link

I was going to suggest that this is Lou Reed's "new planetary system", but unfortunately according to Vogt "It's pretty deficient in metals" .

quad octets or death! (snoball), Thursday, 2 February 2012 18:52 (eight years ago) link

The low metallicity (seen in the parent stars absorption spectra) means the parent star is a population II star formed rather early in the galaxy's existence. If there's enough silicon & iron for a planet 4.5 times Earth's size to accrete, there's likely enough carbon for organic chemistry (and life).

The problem with habitable zones around red dwarfs like Gliese 667c is that they're so near the star that the planets are liable to be tidally locked with one face permanently facing the star (like Mercury and the Gallilean moons of Jupiter in our own system). Gliese 667cC has an orbit of 0.28 AU (26 million miles), so that may not be a problem.

To the OP, I'm largely in agreement with Stephen Webb in Where Is Everybody? and Peter Ward in Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe. The universe is probably teeming with bacteria-like life, but complexity and intelligence are exceedingly rare.

Sanpaku, Thursday, 2 February 2012 19:15 (eight years ago) link

Keep asking for a Pluto:Revolve in Peace t-shirt from the Hall of Science but haven't received one yet, guess I'll have to get it for myself.

Interested to read those books Sanpaku mentions.

Seeing this thread on new answers immediately made me think of Martin S.

I Can Only Give You Every Zing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 2 February 2012 19:20 (eight years ago) link

Of course I have met many of them and they all think Earth sucks.

The Cheerfull Turtle (Latham Green), Thursday, 2 February 2012 20:05 (eight years ago) link

Earth: the toilet venue of the galaxy

quad octets or death! (snoball), Thursday, 2 February 2012 20:06 (eight years ago) link

They don't like all the wrappers and litter about.

The Cheerfull Turtle (Latham Green), Friday, 3 February 2012 15:51 (eight years ago) link

aJacques Vallée

bthat lawrence poem upthread is pretty good

dell (del), Saturday, 4 February 2012 14:47 (eight years ago) link

two years pass...

there is no life anywhere else in the universe & there is no way a colony of humans could survive a trip to any other potentially habitable planet

smhphony orchestra (crüt), Thursday, 8 May 2014 16:40 (six years ago) link

whew glad that's settled

stadow shevens (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 8 May 2014 16:43 (six years ago) link

I would actually feel glad if this was the case

DDD, Thursday, 8 May 2014 16:52 (six years ago) link

Consciousness downloaded into nanobots and bodies 3D printed at the other end, how about that?

めんどくさい (Matt #2), Thursday, 8 May 2014 17:31 (six years ago) link

Burroughs thought of it first

stadow shevens (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 8 May 2014 17:31 (six years ago) link

also, there is no way santa claus could possibly visit all of those houses in one night

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 8 May 2014 17:35 (six years ago) link

six years pass...

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