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New Solar System Like Our Own Discovered

CFC

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With at least 3 planets inhabited by advanced civilizations.


Ok, I might have made that bit up.


Possibly.


Nasa finds solar system filled with as many planets as our own

Nasa has found an entire solar system with as many planets as our own.





The discovery of a new planet around the Kepler-90 star, which looks like our own sun, means the distant solar system has a total of eight known planets. And those planets look like those in our own neighbourhood: rocky planets orbit close to the star, with gas giants further away.

The star and its family of planets were already known about, having been detected by the Kepler space telescope. But the breakthrough came when astronomers found the new world, which was done using Google’s artificial intelligence technology.

A computer was trained to look through the data from the Kepler space telescope, and look for signals that might belong to planets. And it found new planets within existing systems, by spotting signals that seemed to indicate something of interest but were too weak to have been spotted by humans.

That suggests that there might be whole worlds and solar systems hiding within the data we’ve already collected, but which we had not noticed because there are simply so many signals to pick through. Kepler has collected four-years of data from looking at the sky and 150,000 stars – far more than humans could ever look through.

Read the rest here
 

Xorkoth

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I love this sort of thing! :) I truly hope that in my lifetime we are able to really see planets in other star systems. The potential for what is out there in the at-least-nearly-infinite universe has to be the most fascinating thing to me, it's always been that way. I would love SO MUCH to be able to see what life on another planet looks like, any form of life, though of course other intelligent life would be the most interesting. Or to visit... what a trip that would be (figuratively and literally ;))

I'm excited for when they send the rover to Europa (that's the one, right?), Jupiter's moon that seems to be a shell of water ice with a vast water sea inside, where they seem to have observed organic material leaking out from cracks. Pretty sure they're planning to do that in 2020 if I recall correctly. Seems entirely plausible that there could be some form of life in there, and we wouldn't even have to travel to another solar system to see it! I'm not saying there is or there isn't, I just think it's exciting that there could be and that we're going to explore the possibility.

I've always loved thinking about space. When I was a kid, my mom and I would bond over discussions about space. It was also always inspiring to me as I got older that my mom, as a devout Christian, has still always had no problems realizing that it's nearly certain that Earth is not the end all be all of life in the universe.
 

JessFR

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I think that ETs are not only real but visiting Earth. I have seen them with my own eyes!

Regardless of if they're real or even if they've visited... Trusting your eyes is a mistake. Your eyes can deceive you. Your brains interpretations of what you see even more so.

I'd also like to point out to anyone who is at all pleased by this discovery, as indeed you should be. That it was made possible by googled AI research which is exactly the kind stuff ignorant minds are often so afraid of.

When the most knowledgable are also the least afraid its usually because there isn't anything to be afraid of.
 

tathra

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Kepler90i looks to be the only one that could support life, the rest of the rocky worlds are too big (i know we only have 1 data point for life in the universe, but I'd bet plate tectonics are essential for allowing life to be born and survive, and the rest of the worlds look to big for it and are likely outside the goldilocks zone). Itd be interesting to get a spectragraph of its atmosphere.
 

Xorkoth

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The thing about only having one data point for life in the universe is that the "Goldilocks Zone" only describes planets that have ideal conditions to support Earth-like life. Who's to say that Earth-like life is the only form of life that exists or is possible? I think we assume too much.
 

tathra

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There are some things that are a given though, even with life that differs drastically from ours. Extremophile microbes are already known, and finding extra-terrestrial won't do much beyond show that life arose independently more than once (maybe - its possible such microbe could have been launched off earth, so where they're found will be important). Intelligent life will be more interesting and useful, and given the sheer size of the universe its impossible for us to be the only intelligent life in it (tho it may be as rare as only 1 per galaxy).

Intelligence requires a lot of energy, which means heat as part of the metabolic processes, so we're unlikely to find intelligent life on worlds that are colder than x, but being too close to a star would evap the solution in which these processes occur, so there certainly will be a goldilocks zone, but its values might have a lot of leeway.
 

JessFR

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The thing about only having one data point for life in the universe is that the "Goldilocks Zone" only describes planets that have ideal conditions to support Earth-like life. Who's to say that Earth-like life is the only form of life that exists or is possible? I think we assume too much.

I disagree. We understand enough about the universe to understand that life as we know it, which I'll explain in more depth in a moment. Can only exist within certain parameters. Having an upper and lower limit on temperature. Among other things.

Now I say life as we know it, because life as we can't conceive of its a pointless thing to consider. Anything becomes possible when you do away with all reason and logic and just go with an infinite number of "but what if"s.

For example, life can't exist below a certain temperature because at such temperatures the energy needed for life to function doesn't exist. It doesn't work above certain temperatures because all life as we can conceive it, and again going beyond that is pointless conjecture the likes of which make sensible discussion impossible. Because life requires genetic code and genetic code requires that the molecules that contain the code don't get destroyed by heat breaking their bonds.

We can safely safe within the realm of sensible thought that life exists within certain parameters. It may not require oxygen, it may not require liquid water, although we do for it to support our kind of life. But there are limits to sensible possibilities.

What a lot of people think are just scientists making assumptions are actually that the scientists grasp the underlying mechanics of it all a lot better.

As for intelligent life, that gets a lot harder.

People also fail to consider that it's no accident that life in earth's works like it does, that it's not chance. Like when people suggest the possibility of silicon based life. Carbon isn't the building block of all known life by accident. It is because it is the ideal element to build the complex molecules genetic code requires. Nothing else is as ideal. There are other elements that are close like silicon and sulfer. Relatively close anyway. But odds are all or almost all life in the universe is carbon based.

Once you get to a certain point, it ceases to be open mindedness and becomes mindless conjecture. If you expand the "what ifs" beyond a certain point, sensible discussion becomes impossible because other concepts that make useful acedemic discussion impossible also start coming into the picture.

So you start with things like "what about life that doesn't use anything like rna or DNA" and quickly it can just as well devolve into "well what if all of reality exists as a dream we are having and you and you alone are the only sentient creature in existence, a God unto yourself". "well what if the periodic table and all known science is an elaborate hoax". If you can't accept some things as likely enough to be true to just do away with doubt, it can quickly become so abstract that nothing of use gets pondered or accomplished whatsoever.

And within what we know well enough to say it's as certain as it gets we can safely say we know life has certain limits. There is almost certainly other life in the universe and in our galaxy, it is likely carbon based and it likely exists almost exclusively on planets similar to earth. It's likely almost all or entirely all carbon based and most of it likely requires liquid water or at least another similar liquid solvent if it's biochemistry can be different. Which is a decent sized if to start with without going way further into speculation.

Science isn't about knowing things for certain. It's about going with the most likely to be correct answers until something better comes along. And in the spirit of that, acting on any conjecture or speculation that is totally unsupported by any of the information that has shown itself repeatedly to be reliable in searching for or considering life beyond the sensible parameters would be unscientific and a waste of precious resources.
 
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Xorkoth

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I get what you're saying, but all any of us can state about life on other planets is conjecture and guessing, whether it's educated guessing or not. I don't think that wondering whether life somewhere else might have been built upon some system other than DNA/RNA is at all the same as wondering if the periodic table and all known science is an elaborate hoax, nor does it have to devolve to that sort of place. Just because the only life we know about is built on the DNA/RNA system doesn't mean the same must be true in any other instance of life.

The heat range thing, well, that makes a lot of sense. And it's true that carbon, as an element, bonds ideally to be able to form stable, complex compounds. It seems more likely than not that other life in the universe is carbon-based and requires being within a certain temperature range to exist, but it is by no means certain, which is really my only point here. We can't say anything with certainty about other life in the universe because we have not seen any of it. I just don't want to close my mind to other possibilities. I mean we're just sitting here speculating, and it's fun to consider other possibilities.

The most fascinating and exciting thing I can imagine, I think, is if we are one day able to actually find and visit another planet that has life. I am really, really curious to see what that life would look like, and what its properties would be.
 

JessFR

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Nothing in life is certain. Science isn't about being certain. It's about probability and evidence.

I get what you're saying, but my problem is you haven't actually suggested any specific kind of alternative form of life we might not be considering. It is only sensible to base our approach on our best current understanding which has repeatedly proven correct for relevant similar things in the past. In doing so, this is what we look for.

If someone did propose another way that life could exist, and it were consistent with our existing evidence as a possibility, then that might be something to seriously consider. My point is simply suggesting an abstract possibility of an unknown alternative is too speculative to have any use.

I would argue our speculation about other life in the universe is not the same as conjecture or guessing. Both imply a level of uncertainty that there is no good cause to believe exists. It's all predicated on a hypothetical alternative kind of life.

Until someone can come up with a plausible alternative, and many have tried. It is sensible to presume life elsewhere operates the same.

Which is what I'd say this is, presumption as opposed to a guess.

What is life? Generally at its most similarities level it is some kind of self contained entity unique from its environment which uses its environment to propagate. And most importantly, that over time can adapt and experience evolution and so drastically change from what it was. And that's really getting extremely abstract and encompassing there. Enough that even simple viruses count as life which many people don't consider true life.

When someone comes up with a hypothetical alternative form of life to look for, that's when it'll potentially be considered. And not before. Because before then it literally can't be considered.

No matter how legitimate a belief that alternatives do or don't exist. Even considering it in the continuing search for life requires that alternatives be proposed that are consistent with existing understanding of the physics of the universe. As yet I'm not aware of such a proposal existing. It exists for life that uses radically different biochemistry. But not life that isn't based on genetic code at all.

Until such an alternative is dreamed up that is consistent and plausible within our existing model of physics, searching for it is impossible.

And so it is not a false assumption nor a guess, but even if it were it would still be the only sensible option in the search for other life in the universe.
 

andyz

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sounds interesting. It seems that we still know so little about our Universe
 

JessFR

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No.

We know little about our galaxy. We know nothing about the universe.

All things considered I mean. We're probably doing pretty well working out the basic rules that stay the same pretty much wherever you go. But when you talk about knowing what's actually out there.. Like this? We know shit. It's crazy to think about how little we actually know. For scale... If you imagine the number of grains of sand in total from every beach on earth. We're still working our way through the first grain.

If a planets a grain of sand, there aren't enough on earth to give even one to every planet out there. Isn't that something to think about. I mean, obviously we don't know the exact number of either, planets or grains of sand, but we have a rough idea and there are quite a lot more planets.
 
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