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Old 14 June 2012, 10:56
Justaclerk Justaclerk is offline
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A moon of Saturn may have 'tropical' lakes

Nothing further to add except this is cool and Titan will probably end up being a fuel station for extra-solar system exploration.

Oh, sign me up for that gig.

A moon of Saturn may have 'tropical' lakes

They might not be fit for humans to swim in, but "tropical" lakes may exist on one of Saturn's moons that could harbor tiny organisms.

Scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature that the moon Titan may have methane lakes among the dunes that pervade the tropics, the region of the moon between 20 degrees of latitude north and 20 degrees of latitude south.

Like Earth, Titan has clouds, rain and lakes, though they're made up of methane instead of water.

Scientists theorize that the conditions on Titan, which is the only moon in our solar system with an atmosphere, are capable of harboring microbial life, suggesting that organisms could live in methane lakes, as they do in water lakes on Earth.
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Old 14 June 2012, 11:44
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If it turns out that life has evolved independently twice in the same solar system, what does that say about our galaxy and the universe as a whole?

The sky might be teeming with life.
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Old 14 June 2012, 11:51
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If it turns out that life has evolved independently twice in the same solar system, what does that say about our galaxy and the universe as a whole?

The sky might be teeming with life.
Our sun is only one out of an estimated 300 sextillion (300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) stars in the known Universe. We can't possibly be the only sentient beings out there.
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Old 14 June 2012, 13:18
Hostile0311 Hostile0311 is offline
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Our sun is only one out of an estimated 300 sextillion (300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) stars in the known Universe. We can't possibly be the only sentient beings out there.
And that's just in the "known universe". What if our universe is actually one of many in a "multi-verse" as some scientists are beginning to postulate. The possibilities would be endless. It truly boggles the mind and gives me a migraine every time I watch that show on Discovery, 'Thru the Wormhole' hosted by Morgan Freeman.
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Old 14 June 2012, 14:15
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And that's just in the "known universe". What if our universe is actually one of many in a "multi-verse" as some scientists are beginning to postulate. The possibilities would be endless. It truly boggles the mind and gives me a migraine every time I watch that show on Discovery, 'Thru the Wormhole' hosted by Morgan Freeman.
I actually like that theory, because it opens up a whole other bag of worms (yes, pun intended ) as far as what would constitute life.

And since these other universe entities may have completely different laws of physics, so unrecognizable to our own as to be unknowable with our current knowledge, then it would also raise the question in a much more profound way: What constitutes life?

Not to mention raising questions about our religious beliefs, especially the existence of God, if there were other 'verses out there that existed in a completely different dimension and had physical properties that were inconcievable. Imagine a one dimensional world where everybody, and I use the term loosely, existed on a flat plane with no roundness or curves?
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Old 14 June 2012, 14:24
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Imagine a one dimensional world where everybody, and I use the term loosely, existed on a flat plane with no roundness or curves?

Flatland. Good book.


The multiverse idea is definitely fascinating. And while it seems plausible, it also seems virtually unverifiable.
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Old 14 June 2012, 17:57
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Our sun is only one out of an estimated 300 sextillion (300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) stars in the known Universe. We can't possibly be the only sentient beings out there.
Now take that number and calculate how many systems have rocky planets within the star's habitable zone. Gliese 581's about 20 light years away, and may have a planet or two that's suitable for human life.

Now if we can just wrap our heads around mastering space travel...
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Old 14 June 2012, 12:20
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Scientists theorize that the conditions on Titan, which is the only moon in our solar system with an atmosphere, are capable of harboring microbial life, suggesting that organisms could live in methane lakes, as they do in water lakes on Earth.
Just a minor correction: another Saturn moon, Rhea, actually has an oxygen atmosphere. The oxygen layer is very thin but still it is an atmosphere of a sort.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...science-space/
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Old 14 June 2012, 12:26
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Just a minor correction: another Saturn moon, Rhea, actually has an oxygen atmosphere. The oxygen layer is very thin but still it is an atmosphere of a sort.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...science-space/
And Europa may have an ocean of water under it's icy surface with possible life.
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Old 14 June 2012, 12:37
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And Europa may have an ocean of water under it's icy surface with possible life.
This is what is most fascinating off all the prospects to me. It's been shown that on Earth life can live in the harshest conditions imaginable and many believe that Europa will be the place where we actually do find life in our Solar System.
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Old 14 June 2012, 12:40
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And Europa may have an ocean of water under it's icy surface with possible life.
Yup, you are exactly right!

While the existence of other types of life is exciting at first glance, every time I take time to think about it, I come to conclusion that I'd rather "us" not find "them"... and vice versa. So, I welcome "them" being stuck under icy surface.
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Old 14 June 2012, 13:04
Justaclerk Justaclerk is offline
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Yep...

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And Europa may have an ocean of water under it's icy surface with possible life.
...and if the theories prove correct - that Europa is volcanically active - then thermal vents will provide both warmth and light for whatever exists in the moon's briny soup.

Now if we can just get to the Earth-sized diamond that makes up the core of Jupiter (and probably the other gas giants).
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Old 14 June 2012, 15:53
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...Titan will probably end up being a fuel station for extra-solar system exploration....
Source for organic materials in large-scale outer solar system manufacturing, but I doubt a major fuel source. Chemical propulsion schemes are inadequate there, even without taking that horrendous gravity-well which is Saturn into consideration. Crunch the numbers for the required Delta-v, and the required mass ratio for any chemical system --- even Fl2:H2 bipropellant and Fl2:H2:Li tribrid --- gets exceedingly grim.

Nice thought, and I do envision plenty of other reasons for exploiting Titanian resources, however a major propellant source doesn't make sense from my own point of view.

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And Europa may have an ocean of water under it's icy surface with possible life.
Unfortunately, Europa also gets a 5 REM/day dose of ionizing radiation, owing to the fact of its orbit being located within the radiation belts of Jupiter's magnetosphere. Similar or greater doses for the other so-called Galilean moons (the first and largest four, initially observed by Galileo) with the exception of Callisto. The approach to any of these moons alone means a few weeks within the radiation belts.

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Not to mention raising questions about our religious beliefs, especially the existence of God....
Not necessarily. Judaism does propound any particular cosmological theory, therefore is not subject to being shaken up in the slightest. But that's a personal bias....

(Damn shame the first Jew in space had to be a Soviet and a card-carrying Communist. Boris Volynov: one of 20 selectees for the 1960 Vostok cosmonaut group, bumped from the flight line-up for Vostok because he was Jewish, slated to command the cancelled Voskhod 3, finally got his initial flight as pilot-in-command of Soyuz 4. Successful, considering the political system within which he was compelled to function.)
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Old 14 June 2012, 21:05
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And Europa may have an ocean of water under it's icy surface with possible life.
That is excellent. But as Captain of Prometheus II, no matter your wild-eyed Child curiosity, I am keeping you on bridge with belt-fed large weapon and 62,000 in belts.

Regards,
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Old 14 June 2012, 12:32
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Nothing further to add except this is cool and Titan will probably end up being a fuel station for extra-solar system exploration.

...andrest of quote.
Being the nerd that I am, one of my all time favorite places to go is the Planetarium at the Air and Space Museum in DC so this has me grinnin like crazy.
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Old 14 June 2012, 13:02
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The idea of a place where "rain" is giant drops of methane falling to the ground at the pace of snowflakes due to lower gravity, filling lakes of methane with shores made of water ice as hard as granite due to the temperature, is pretty damn cool.

The idea of life huddled around thermal vents at the bottom of Europa's oceans is also pretty damn cool.
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Old 14 June 2012, 13:29
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What would we do if when the sun started to become a red giant and these planets/moon became more hospitable while ours began to dry up, Say there was another form of life developing on this planet/moon that would or is becoming sentient? Would it be ethical to wipe them out to insure a home for humans? Does potential for sentiance place life on the same level as us?
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Old 14 June 2012, 13:39
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What would we do if when the sun started to become a red giant and these planets/moon became more hospitable while ours began to dry up, Say there was another form of life developing on this planet/moon that would or is becoming sentient? Would it be ethical to wipe them out to insure a home for humans? Does potential for sentiance place life on the same level as us?
This is a good question. I hate to say it but with all my respect to all things living, mine and my family survival would always come first. So, these other forms of life better be friendly so we can cohabit.
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Old 14 June 2012, 13:54
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This is a good question. I hate to say it but with all my respect to all things living, mine and my family survival would always come first. So, these other forms of life better be friendly so we can cohabit.
Most likely they won't have our concept of "friendly." That's a human quality that we like to pretend all aliens would have - just like love, compassion, understanding, anger, etc.

Most alien forms won't be anything like anything we have on earth - they will have evolved from different materials and be radically different. Given gravitational pulls, extreme heat or cold, most any alien life form will likely simply be what we'd call a bug. Some may have developed in planets that have no atmosphere at all.

That's where I think we're wrong - we look for a similar planet or a place where life could be as we know it - lake of methane, swamp moon of Endor, etc - concepts we understand. There could be aliens who are nothing more than vast clouds of electrical impulses. Or based off elements we haven't even discovered.

in the extreme off chance that there were aliens that developed past the bug stage into some semblance of having a body, and even looked remarkably similar to us, they still may have absolutely zero concept of compassion, friendliness, or anything else. Wiping out 6 billion human beings may mean nothing more to them than when a bug hits the grill of your car on the interstate.


We've developed remarkably fast in the past 100 or so years, esp with weapons technology and with society (i.e, now slavery is bad where at one point people were resolved to being born into slavery). Now imagine a similar life form as us who is only 200 years older than we are. Or 10,000 years older than we are. Or 30 billion years older than we are. They could be at the point where they can blink and our solar system disappear.
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Last edited by KidA; 14 June 2012 at 14:09.
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Old 14 June 2012, 14:09
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There could be aliens who are nothing more than vast clouds of electrical impulses.
Ghosts?

I agree with everything you've written in your post and I definitely have an intellectual challenge to imagine what kind of life forms can possibly be out there. Chemistry, physiology, everything could be so different.
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