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Why is the idea of ​​extraterrestrial life now seems inevitable, and perhaps inevitably



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Extraterrestrial life that is familiar sci-fi trope that kitsch fantasy that CGI nightmare has become a matter of grave & # 39; oznaga discussion, "Risk Factors" in the "script."

As ET retired from science-fiction tales of the suras & # 39; oznay scientific activity, simulated macroeconomic funded by fiscal conservatives and theologians discussed?

So, after a series of remarkable discoveries in the last two decades, the idea of ​​extraterrestrial life is not as far-fetched as it would seem.

Discovery now seems inevitable and possibly imminent.

It's just chemistry

While life is a special type of complex chemistry, elements involved is nothing special: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and so on with the & # 39 are among the most abundant element in the universe. The complex organic chemistry surprisingly often.

Amino acids, as well as those that make up every protein in our bodies, which were found in the tails of comets. There are also other organic compounds in the Martian soil.

And 6,500 light-years from Earth, a giant cosmic clouds of alcohol floating among the stars.

Inhabited planets seem too general. The first planet outside our solar system was discovered in 1995. Since then, astronomers cataloged the thousands.

Based on this catalog, the astronomers from the University of California, Berkeley, working there can be whole 40000000000 Earth-sized exoplanet in the so-called "habitable zone" around its star where the temperature is mild enough for liquid water to exist on the surface.

There's even the potential of Earth as a world orbiting our nearest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri. Just four light years, this system may be close enough for us to achieve with the help of modern technology. With Breakthrough Starshot project launched by Stephen Hawking in 2016, plans for this is already happening.

Professor Stephen Hawking on stage during a New Space
Professor Stephen Hawking onstage during "Breakthrough Starshot» Preview the new space exploration in 2016. Photo / Getty

reliable life

It seems inevitable, is another life out there, especially given the fact that life on Earth came so quickly after the planet was formed.

The oldest fossil ever found is 3.5 billion years old, while the keys are in our DNA suggests life could have started as early as 4 billion years ago, just as the giant asteroids stopped crashing into the surface.

Our planet was populated as soon as it was habitable – and the definition of "habitable" proved to be very flexible concept, too.

Life survives in a variety of environments, which appear black to us:

• float on the lake sulfuric acid
• inside the barrels of nuclear waste
• in water superheated to 122 degrees
• in a wasteland of Antarctica
• in the rocks five kilometers underground.

It is tempting, some of these conditions appears to be duplicated elsewhere in the solar system.

extracts a promise

Mars was once warm and wet, and probably fertile ground for life to Earth.

Today, Mars still has liquid water underground. One gas is closely linked to the life on Earth, methane have already been found in the Martian atmosphere, and at levels that mysteriously rise and fall with the seasons. (However, as a result of methane is discussed, with a single orbital Mars recently confirmed detection of methane and other personal identification.)

Martian errors can be as soon as 2021, when the ExoMars rover Rosalind Franklin would hunt them with a two-meter drill.

In addition to the Earth and Mars, at least two other places in our solar system may be habitable. Jupiter moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus with & # 39 are frozen ice worlds, but the severity of their colossal planets quite a large number of its innards, thawed water to create a wide subglacial sea.

In 2017, experts in the field of sea ice from the University of Tasmania have found that some Antarctic microbes could survive stronger in these worlds. Both Europe and Enceladus has underwater hydrothermal vents, as well as on Earth, where life may have arisen.

2017 study found that some Antarctic microbes could survive more on other worlds. Photo / Alan Gibson
2017 study found that some Antarctic microbes could survive more on other worlds. Photo / Alan Gibson

If NASA probe tried geysered material into space from Enceladus in June last year, he found a large organic molecules. Perhaps there is something to live among the spray; the probe is simply not the right tools to detect it.

Russian billionaire Yuri Milner was so delighted with this prospect, he wants to help fund the return of the mission.

Second genesis?

Discovery when he came, could revolutionize the world of biology upside down.

All life on Earth is related, it descended ultimately from the first living cell from the & # 39; to appear about 4 billion years ago.

Bacteria, fungi, cacti and cockroaches all our cousins ​​and we all share the same basic molecular mechanisms: DNA makes RNA and RNA makes protein.

A second sample of life, though, may be a "second genesis" – completely unrelated to us. Perhaps he will use a different coding system, in its DNA. Or it might not have DNA at all, but some other way to go to the genetic information.

By studying the life of the second example, we could start to figure out what parts of life equipment to the & # 39 are universal, and which of the & # 39 are only certain accidents of our primitive.

Perhaps amino acids are always used as the basic building blocks may not.

We might even be able to work out some of the universal laws of biology in the same way we have for physics – not to mention the new angles on the question of the origin of life itself.

Second independence "tree of life" will mean that the fast of the & # 39; the emergence of life on Earth was not an accident; life must have a lot of in the universe.

This will significantly increase the likelihood that somewhere among the billions of habitable planets in our galaxy, there may be something we could talk.

Perhaps life is infectious

If, on the other hand, found the microbes were indeed related to us, that would be a bombshell different sort: it would mean life contagious.

If a large meteorite hitting the planet, the impact can be sprinkled crushed stone directly in space, and this stone can then fall on other planets meteorites.

Life on Earth is likely to have already been taken to other planets – perhaps even on the satellites of Saturn and Jupiter. Microbes could easily survive the trip.

Large meteorite strikes could spread life in the past. Photo / Getty
Large meteorite strikes could spread life in the past. Photo / Getty

In 1969 Apollo 12 astronauts extracted old probe that was sitting on the moon within three years in the extreme cold and vacuum – are viable bacteria still inside.

Mars was probably habitable before the Earth, perhaps life originated there before hitchhiking on the space rock to here. Perhaps we're all Martians.

Even if we never find another life in our solar system, we can still find it on any of the thousands of known exoplanets.

Already you can see the starlight filtered through the exoplanets and say something about the composition of its atmosphere; abundance of oxygen may be an indirect sign of life.

testable hypothesis

James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2021, will be able to take these measurements for some of Earth-like worlds have already been detected.

Only a few years will come space telescopes that will take pictures of these planets directly.

Using the trick a bit like a visor in the car, the planet snapping telescopes will be paired with giant parasols called starshades, who will fly in tandem 50,000 kilometers in just the right spot to block the blinding light of a star that allows the weak spots of the planet, to be captured.

Color and variability of this point of light can tell us the length of the day the planet if the seasons has a cloud, there are oceans, maybe even the color of his plants.

The ancient question, "Are we alone?" Ceased to be a philosophical thinking to test hypotheses. We must be prepared to answer.speech

This article is reprinted from the conversation under the Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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