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Greaves, Jane S., Anita M. S. Richards, William Bains, Paul B. Rimmer, Hideo Sagawa, David L. Clements, Sara Seager, et al. 2020. “Phosphine Gas in the Cloud Decks of Venus.Nature Astronomy, September. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-020-1174-4.

Measurements of trace gases in planetary atmospheres help us explore chemical conditions different to those on Earth. Our nearest neighbour, Venus, has cloud decks that are temperate but hyperacidic. Here we report the apparent presence of phosphine (PH 3) gas in Venus’s atmosphere, where any phosphorus should be in oxidized forms. Single-line millimetre-waveband spectral detections (quality up to ~15 σ) from the JCMT and ALMA telescopes have no other plausible identification. Atmospheric PH 3 at ~20 ppb abundance is inferred. The presence of PH 3 is unexplained after exhaustive study of steady-state chemistry and photochemical pathways, with no currently known abiotic production routes in Venus’s atmosphere, clouds, surface and subsurface, or from lightning, volcanic or meteoritic delivery. PH 3 could originate from unknown photochemistry or geochemistry, or, by analogy with biological production of PH 3 on Earth, from the presence of life. Other PH 3 spectral features should be sought, while in situ cloud and surface sampling could examine sources of this gas.

In reality, as Nick Bostrom pointed out – though he in turn adopted the idea from Robin Hanson – the finding that life exists on another planet would not be very good news, as it would shift the balance of probabilities to the Great Filter being ahead of us.

But I hope that our Mars probes discover nothing. It would be good news if we find Mars to be sterile. Dead rocks and lifeless sands would lift my spirit.

Conversely, if we discovered traces of some simple, extinct life-form–some bacteria, some algae–it would be bad news. If we found fossils of something more advanced, perhaps something that looked like the remnants of a trilobite or even the skeleton of a small mammal, it would be very bad news. The more complex the life-form we found, the more depressing the news would be. I would find it interesting, certainly–but a bad omen for the future of the human race.

Though in fairness, at least in this case, the severity of such a finding would be mitigated by:

  • Said life forms probably being prokaryotes, which are far simpler than the eukaryotes which are the prerequisite for the appearance of complex multicellular organisms. (My own view is that it is the prokaryote to eukaryote transition which is by far the best candidate for a past Great Filter).
  • Substantial chance that it arose as a result of biota transfer from Earth (regionalized version of panspermia hypothesis). Freak chance, sure, but there have been ~4 billion years for it to happen.

Nonetheless, even considering that said shift in the weight we assign to the Great Filter being in the future will be very modest, given the literally existential implications of these findings, there should be much more research to:

  • Ascertain that the phosphites really are produced by life.
  • Get samples of these organisms.
  • Establish whether they evolved independently, or got there from Earth.

This could also be the spur to embark on construction of a Venus space base.

While the Americans focused their creative juices on Mars colonization, the idea of seeding Venus with “cloud cities” is something that has been explored by Soviet scientists from the 1970s.

Ironically, this might actually be easier than doing colonizing Mars, because both air pressure and temperatures (if not atmospheric composition) are “Earth like” at an attitude of 50 km above the Venusian surface. You essentially just need a big dirigible. No big deal if there’s an air leak, there would not be rapid catastrophic depressurization like on Mars or the Moon. You will have plenty of time to patch things up.

Not that I suppose this matters much, since our current “civilization” seems to have other priorities. But still.

 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. How long until the Anglos demand we change the symbols for Mars and Venus for being transphobic?

    • LOL: Bardon Kaldian
  3. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the link to Bostrom’s piece.

  4. No reason to go overboard methinks.
    As anybody who has ever sniffed a carbide lamp can attest phosphin is not that esoteric a compound. Phosphides are a routine constituent in meteorites and therefore in the venereal 😛 geology (they are highly unstable under terrestrial surface conditions) and sulfuric acid is a major component of the atmosphere, et voilà! (long-term stability may be a different matter)
    If this is the best they have I refuse to jump to anything, especially no theological ramifications.

  5. Carl Sagan thought there were signs of life on Venus back in the ’70s.

    The guy who helped design the experiment on Mariner thinks there is a conspiracy by the US to prevent life being discovered on Mars. His idea is that the fear of bringing something dangerous back on Earth would lead to the end of manned exploration. Back in the ’90s the state department stopped him from working with Russia to design new tests. If you ask me, he’s a bit nuts – he thinks Mariner found life. I doubt it’d be on the surface.

    Life should be easy to find on Venus, if it is there – it is easier to get to Venus. Colonizing Venus seems an exercise in abstraction. Sure, there are good things about the upper atmosphere, but what is the point, unless you can harvest resources on the surface?

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    @songbird


    Colonizing Venus seems an exercise in abstraction.
     
    Venus at 50km up in the atmosphere is the only place (other than Earth) in the Solar System where you can walk around with nothing but a face mask and oxygen source. If we're ever colonizing anything it will be Venus.

    Sure, there are good things about the upper atmosphere, but what is the point, unless you can harvest resources on the surface?
     
    There are no resources worth going to space for. On any planet.

    If we're colonizing planets it definitely won't be for resources.

    Replies: @Lars Porsena, @songbird

    , @Buzz Mohawk
    @songbird

    One astronomer predicted that the Viking landers would not find life on Mars because the atmosphere shows no chemical indications. He pointed to observations of the type mentioned here with regard to Venus.

    The idea is that you don't need to go down and sample the surface. You can just make spectral analyses of planetary atmospheres and look for the telltale products of biology.

    As now there will be for Venus, there is still a small argument that the Viking experiments actually did find life. For both planets now, the debate comes down to how you explain the chemical processes and the results observed.

    Replies: @songbird, @DRA

    , @nokangaroos
    @songbird

    Svante Arrhenius, legendary physikochemist and godfather of global warming, believed Venus was covered with tropical swamp "with civilization only on the poles"; how modest we have gotten :D

    But it is a commonplace it is always the astrophysicists (no geology, no chemistry, no biology) who come up with these things; still, Sagan was the right man at the right place and time:
    Dream big, get things in motion, inspire the little ones.
    What follows is decidedly less glamorous drudgery (and what they found on Mars was probably Fe[III]. Probably.)

    - Contamination from Earth would be far more probable outwards i.e. Mars (solar wind).
    And whatever life CANNOT possibly have formed in the upper atmosphere (and good luck with the surface). Venus probably just has BO.

    Replies: @songbird

    , @DRA
    @songbird

    Earth is wonderful for having ore concentrations through plate tectonics and the action of water. Not clear that Mars or Venus will have similar concentrations, but Mars is the best bet.

    The asteroids have plenty of material, and much more availability of elements that are usually locked up in the iron of the cores of the planets.

    However, if Venus does have ores or concentrations of elements worth the energy of getting, then robots or radio operated machinery could be controlled from cities in the clouds.

    High temperature integrated circuits may be more easy to develop than supposed, it there is an economic reason to do so.

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/329/5997/1316.abstract

  6. This could also be the spur to embark on construction of a Venus space base.

    That would be really nice, but it could also work the other way: people might be loathe to colonize or even send more probes out of a paranoid fear of contaminating the Venusian biosphere. In the case of dirigibles this fear is even pretty well justified, for exactly the same reasons you gave: the conditions are relatively compatible with Earth life.

    (My own view is that it is the prokaryote to eukaryote transition which is by far the best candidate for a past Great Filter)

    Yep, that’s the inference which can be drawn from Earth’s own timeline: prokaryotes developed within a few hundred million years of Earth’s formation, while eukaryotes took another 3 billion years to appear. Really, it’s not discovering prokaryotic life on other hospitable planets that should be unexpected. That would suggest whatever happened on Earth was truly extraordinary.

  7. OK, I believe that astronomers don’t know chemistry, while journalists know neither chemistry nor astronomy. But claiming that the finding of phosphine, which can be synthesized:
    https://www.organic-chemistry.org/synthesis/P1H/index.shtm
    https://pubs.rsc.org/-/content/chapter/9781788013055-00001/978-1-78801-167-9/unauth
    or naturally appear from phosphorus in highly reducing conditions, is equivalent to finding of life is too much even for well-rounded ignoramuses.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    @AnonFromTN

    Not in the quantities detected. Half the paper addresses this very issue!

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

    , @songbird
    @AnonFromTN

    The argument is that the concentration is too high to be explained by known inorganic processes. There's a hubris that we know them all and can model it because it's a simple molecule used in industrial processes.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @AnonFromTN

  8. so what’s different between this and Jupiter or Saturn? because it’s a rock planet? or because of the concentration?

    • Replies: @nokangaroos
    @prime noticer

    Free hydrogen.

  9. @AnonFromTN
    OK, I believe that astronomers don’t know chemistry, while journalists know neither chemistry nor astronomy. But claiming that the finding of phosphine, which can be synthesized:
    https://www.organic-chemistry.org/synthesis/P1H/index.shtm
    https://pubs.rsc.org/-/content/chapter/9781788013055-00001/978-1-78801-167-9/unauth
    or naturally appear from phosphorus in highly reducing conditions, is equivalent to finding of life is too much even for well-rounded ignoramuses.

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin, @songbird

    Not in the quantities detected. Half the paper addresses this very issue!

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    @Anatoly Karlin

    To the best of my knowledge, when conditions for the chemical reaction are favorable, the amount of product only depends on the amounts of available reagents.

  10. @AnonFromTN
    OK, I believe that astronomers don’t know chemistry, while journalists know neither chemistry nor astronomy. But claiming that the finding of phosphine, which can be synthesized:
    https://www.organic-chemistry.org/synthesis/P1H/index.shtm
    https://pubs.rsc.org/-/content/chapter/9781788013055-00001/978-1-78801-167-9/unauth
    or naturally appear from phosphorus in highly reducing conditions, is equivalent to finding of life is too much even for well-rounded ignoramuses.

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin, @songbird

    The argument is that the concentration is too high to be explained by known inorganic processes. There’s a hubris that we know them all and can model it because it’s a simple molecule used in industrial processes.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @songbird

    I think it’s not really claimed that life is the only possible explanation. But it is claimed that life is the only known explanation. Which is obviously true.

    There’s the same issue with the Oumuamua object. Its acceleration cannot be explained by any known natural process. It doesn’t mean that it’s an alien spacecraft, but it does mean that the possibility must be taken seriously.

    Replies: @songbird

    , @AnonFromTN
    @songbird

    Hubris it is. It’s just like the same people who cannot reliably predict weather tomorrow morning assure us that they know what the climate will be like 50 years from now. Still, propaganda has no shame, that’s why it’s propaganda, not news reporting.

  11. Phosphine was detected in Saturn and Jupiter atmospheres with much higher abundance (ppm level not ppb level) and the existence of life was not proclaimed Urbi et Orbi. What is different with Venus?

    Phosphine on Jupiter and Saturn from Cassini/CIRS. (2009)
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0019103509001328

    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1910.05224.pdf

    “In both Jupiter and Saturn, PH3 is found on the high observable layers at abundances (4.8 ppm and 15.9 ppm, respectively) several orders of magnitude higher than those predicted by thermodynamic equilibrium (Fletcher et al. 2009). This overabundance of PH3 occurs because chemical equilibrium timescales are long when compared to convective timescales (Noll and Marley 1997). PH3 forms in the hotter deep layers of the atmosphere (temperatures ≿ 800 K) and is mixed upwards, so that the PH3 inventory at the cloud-top is replenished. “

    • Replies: @Elmer's Washable School Glue
    @utu

    Phosphine can be formed rapidly through known chemical processes under conditions of extremely high pressure, such as those found on a gas giant. Venus doesn't have pressures even close to the amount needed, as is explained in this earlier paper by some of the same authors.
    From the abstract:


    If detected, PH3 is a promising biosignature gas, as it has no known abiotic false positives on terrestrial planets that could generate the high fluxes required for detection.
     
    More detailed explanations are on pages 30-32 and 39-40.

    No serious person is claiming this constitutes absolute "proof" of life. But I have a question for you. Given the following:
    a) the gas can be easily explained by biological processes
    b) the gas cannot be explained whatsoever by abiotic processes
    c) Earth's history would suggest simple life forms do not take that long to develop,
    then why shouldn't we accept life as a plausible working hypothesis?

    Replies: @utu, @nokangaroos

  12. The most familiar Venusian (Venereal) lifeforms are Treponema pallidum and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    @utu

    There is Russian joke: she is not a Venus, but she has something venereal.

  13. @utu
    Phosphine was detected in Saturn and Jupiter atmospheres with much higher abundance (ppm level not ppb level) and the existence of life was not proclaimed Urbi et Orbi. What is different with Venus?

    Phosphine on Jupiter and Saturn from Cassini/CIRS. (2009)
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0019103509001328

    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1910.05224.pdf

    "In both Jupiter and Saturn, PH3 is found on the high observable layers at abundances (4.8 ppm and 15.9 ppm, respectively) several orders of magnitude higher than those predicted by thermodynamic equilibrium (Fletcher et al. 2009). This overabundance of PH3 occurs because chemical equilibrium timescales are long when compared to convective timescales (Noll and Marley 1997). PH3 forms in the hotter deep layers of the atmosphere (temperatures ≿ 800 K) and is mixed upwards, so that the PH3 inventory at the cloud-top is replenished. "
     

    Replies: @Elmer's Washable School Glue

    Phosphine can be formed rapidly through known chemical processes under conditions of extremely high pressure, such as those found on a gas giant. Venus doesn’t have pressures even close to the amount needed, as is explained in this earlier paper by some of the same authors.
    From the abstract:

    If detected, PH3 is a promising biosignature gas, as it has no known abiotic false positives on terrestrial planets that could generate the high fluxes required for detection.

    More detailed explanations are on pages 30-32 and 39-40.

    No serious person is claiming this constitutes absolute “proof” of life. But I have a question for you. Given the following:
    a) the gas can be easily explained by biological processes
    b) the gas cannot be explained whatsoever by abiotic processes
    c) Earth’s history would suggest simple life forms do not take that long to develop,
    then why shouldn’t we accept life as a plausible working hypothesis?

    • Replies: @utu
    @Elmer's Washable School Glue

    Thanks.

    Your

    b) the gas cannot be explained whatsoever by abiotic processes

    in the paper actually is much much weaker:

    b1) We are unable to find another chemical species (known in current databases)
    b2) there is no other known reasonable candidate transition for the absorption other than PH3
    b3) No phosphorus species have been reported at the planetary surface.
    b4) If no known chemical process can explain PH3 within the upper atmosphere of Venus, then it must be produced by a process not previously considered plausible for Venusian conditions. This could be unknown photochemistry or geochemistry, or possibly life.

    Possible. But plausible is just another word for a high degree of wishfulness.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    , @nokangaroos
    @Elmer's Washable School Glue

    Thanks for the link, but I understand

    1) it´s a research proposal i.e. probably not too pessimist, and

    2) they are not too sure about hot and acid conditions (d´oh!) and

    3) they exclude any lithological source, only conclude the annual meteoritic introduction is too low i.e. they presuppose an oxidizing atmosphere (!) while modelling a reducing one.

    I´ll wait for the experiment :D

  14. @prime noticer
    so what's different between this and Jupiter or Saturn? because it's a rock planet? or because of the concentration?

    Replies: @nokangaroos

    Free hydrogen.

  15. @Elmer's Washable School Glue
    @utu

    Phosphine can be formed rapidly through known chemical processes under conditions of extremely high pressure, such as those found on a gas giant. Venus doesn't have pressures even close to the amount needed, as is explained in this earlier paper by some of the same authors.
    From the abstract:


    If detected, PH3 is a promising biosignature gas, as it has no known abiotic false positives on terrestrial planets that could generate the high fluxes required for detection.
     
    More detailed explanations are on pages 30-32 and 39-40.

    No serious person is claiming this constitutes absolute "proof" of life. But I have a question for you. Given the following:
    a) the gas can be easily explained by biological processes
    b) the gas cannot be explained whatsoever by abiotic processes
    c) Earth's history would suggest simple life forms do not take that long to develop,
    then why shouldn't we accept life as a plausible working hypothesis?

    Replies: @utu, @nokangaroos

    Thanks.

    Your

    b) the gas cannot be explained whatsoever by abiotic processes

    in the paper actually is much much weaker:

    b1) We are unable to find another chemical species (known in current databases)
    b2) there is no other known reasonable candidate transition for the absorption other than PH3
    b3) No phosphorus species have been reported at the planetary surface.
    b4) If no known chemical process can explain PH3 within the upper atmosphere of Venus, then it must be produced by a process not previously considered plausible for Venusian conditions. This could be unknown photochemistry or geochemistry, or possibly life.

    Possible. But plausible is just another word for a high degree of wishfulness.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @utu

    Plausible only means that life is the only known process which could’ve produced it. Of course there could be countless other, unknown, abiotic processes, but we cannot say anything about those, as they are unknown.

  16. Phosphine gas is used as a dopant in semiconductor fabrication. Phosphine, along with Arsine and Dibrane, are the most common used dopants. All three are highly toxic to humans and animal life in general. Semiconductor grade Phosphine is manufactured by an abiotic process (a process that does not involve biology). Since semiconductor grade Phosphine is abiotic, it is likely the Phosphine in Venus’s atmosphere is also abiotic.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Abelard Lindsey

    It is possible that Venusians have their own Silicon Valley.

  17. This is one of the most interesting White Pill/futurist ideas I’ve never really thought about. Thanks, AK.

    I really appreciate those seemingly few of us who keep one eye on the stars for the far future – and that includes looking out for the darker implications of space policy or lack thereof – such as Great Filters and Malthusean Traps.

    It’s a great niche you’ve helped carve out from among so many black-pillers and mono-agenda pundits in the dissident-whatever.

    • Thanks: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Ano4
    @Exile

    I have always been surprised at how little the majority of people are interested into the infinite space that starts immediately beyond Earth's atmosphere.

    People do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later the civilization and possibly life on this planet will cease. This is certain beyond any reasonable doubt. The only way to ensure we have enough time to possibly understand our universe is by becoming a space civilization. Becoming a space civilization is probably the Great Filter. This should be the utmost priority, an existential one.

    But it is not. Quite puzzling. Maybe we should agitate and propagandize the normies to ensure that those who really care about humankind surviving the next 1000 years receive a tiny fraction of the global GDP to leave this world behind?

    Would be a better investment than all the climate change Ponzi schemes.

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Polemos

  18. @Abelard Lindsey
    Phosphine gas is used as a dopant in semiconductor fabrication. Phosphine, along with Arsine and Dibrane, are the most common used dopants. All three are highly toxic to humans and animal life in general. Semiconductor grade Phosphine is manufactured by an abiotic process (a process that does not involve biology). Since semiconductor grade Phosphine is abiotic, it is likely the Phosphine in Venus's atmosphere is also abiotic.

    Replies: @utu

    It is possible that Venusians have their own Silicon Valley.

  19. Ascertain that the phosphites really are produced by life.

    I guarantee with 99.9% probability that they aren’t.

    Phosphines are produced naturally on gas giants. The “omg impossible” notion presupposes that Venus is a “rocky planet” and doesn’t have the temperatures and pressures of a gas giant.

    Obviously we were wrong about how hot and dense Venus’ atmosphere is. This is the most parsimonious explanation, not “omg literally ayy lmaos”.

  20. @songbird
    Carl Sagan thought there were signs of life on Venus back in the '70s.

    The guy who helped design the experiment on Mariner thinks there is a conspiracy by the US to prevent life being discovered on Mars. His idea is that the fear of bringing something dangerous back on Earth would lead to the end of manned exploration. Back in the '90s the state department stopped him from working with Russia to design new tests. If you ask me, he's a bit nuts - he thinks Mariner found life. I doubt it'd be on the surface.

    Life should be easy to find on Venus, if it is there - it is easier to get to Venus. Colonizing Venus seems an exercise in abstraction. Sure, there are good things about the upper atmosphere, but what is the point, unless you can harvest resources on the surface?

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Buzz Mohawk, @nokangaroos, @DRA

    Colonizing Venus seems an exercise in abstraction.

    Venus at 50km up in the atmosphere is the only place (other than Earth) in the Solar System where you can walk around with nothing but a face mask and oxygen source. If we’re ever colonizing anything it will be Venus.

    Sure, there are good things about the upper atmosphere, but what is the point, unless you can harvest resources on the surface?

    There are no resources worth going to space for. On any planet.

    If we’re colonizing planets it definitely won’t be for resources.

    • Replies: @Lars Porsena
    @anonymous coward


    where you can walk around with nothing but a face mask and oxygen source.
     
    Not really because it's the upper atmosphere. There's no ground.

    Replies: @anonymous coward

    , @songbird
    @anonymous coward

    You'd probably need a suit because of the sulfuric acid, and that's making the assumption that there would be an altitude with the right pressure and temperature conditions, where you wouldn't be subjected to super-extreme winds, and blown off the deck of your air-ship.

    Actually, the big draw for Venus is the almost Earth-like gravity. Walking around on an airship flying 50 km above a burning hell really isn't super attractive. In theory, it is quite easy to dig a tunnel on the moon or Mars and pressurize it. You get the same protection from radiation, and a leak would not be immediately catastrophic. Your tunnel could be a loop 5k long, and you could ride a bycicle inside it, and it could be full of flowers or cultivated plants and pieces of art - that sounds more attractive to me.

    The historical norm for colonization means using local materials. Eskimos used packed snow to make igloos. Pioneers on the plains made houses out of sod. You can argue about how practical that sort of thing would be on another planet, but if people go there without using local materials, then that would probably be better defined as "exploration", rather than "colonization."

    The main draw is sovereignty not mineral treasure. The "resources" are just chemicals that would allow for the sustenance of life - after they've been put through processes.

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @The Alarmist

  21. @songbird
    Carl Sagan thought there were signs of life on Venus back in the '70s.

    The guy who helped design the experiment on Mariner thinks there is a conspiracy by the US to prevent life being discovered on Mars. His idea is that the fear of bringing something dangerous back on Earth would lead to the end of manned exploration. Back in the '90s the state department stopped him from working with Russia to design new tests. If you ask me, he's a bit nuts - he thinks Mariner found life. I doubt it'd be on the surface.

    Life should be easy to find on Venus, if it is there - it is easier to get to Venus. Colonizing Venus seems an exercise in abstraction. Sure, there are good things about the upper atmosphere, but what is the point, unless you can harvest resources on the surface?

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Buzz Mohawk, @nokangaroos, @DRA

    One astronomer predicted that the Viking landers would not find life on Mars because the atmosphere shows no chemical indications. He pointed to observations of the type mentioned here with regard to Venus.

    The idea is that you don’t need to go down and sample the surface. You can just make spectral analyses of planetary atmospheres and look for the telltale products of biology.

    As now there will be for Venus, there is still a small argument that the Viking experiments actually did find life. For both planets now, the debate comes down to how you explain the chemical processes and the results observed.

    • Replies: @songbird
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Whoops, meant to say Viking in my original comment. And I should have said "abiotic" rather than "inorganic."

    That's why I think we shouldn't be too concerned about radio signals leaking into space, and tipping off aliens that we are here: spectral analysis. If there is anyone looking for us, they'll be using it. And whatever the sensitivity of their instruments, whether or not they can detect anthropic changes, or industry, I'm sure, they'd still see enough (oxygen) to merit a closer look.

    I'm sure it wouldn't work for every sign of life. Interestingly, I've heard that if you reversed the analysis - did the observation from Venus (or rather the same distance), it would be impossible to detect the same chemical on Earth, due to the lack of sensitivity of the instruments.

    , @DRA
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Earth is wonderful for having ore concentrations through plate tectonics and the action of water. Not clear that Mars or Venus will have similar concentrations, but Mars is the best bet.

    The asteroids have plenty of material, and much more availability of elements that are usually locked up in the iron of the cores of the planets.

    However, if Venus does have ores or concentrations of elements worth the energy of getting, then robots or radio operated machinery could be controlled from cities in the clouds.

    High temperature integrated circuits may be more easy to develop than supposed, it there is an economic reason to do so.

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/329/5997/1316.abstract

  22. @Exile
    This is one of the most interesting White Pill/futurist ideas I've never really thought about. Thanks, AK.

    I really appreciate those seemingly few of us who keep one eye on the stars for the far future - and that includes looking out for the darker implications of space policy or lack thereof - such as Great Filters and Malthusean Traps.

    It's a great niche you've helped carve out from among so many black-pillers and mono-agenda pundits in the dissident-whatever.

    Replies: @Ano4

    I have always been surprised at how little the majority of people are interested into the infinite space that starts immediately beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

    People do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later the civilization and possibly life on this planet will cease. This is certain beyond any reasonable doubt. The only way to ensure we have enough time to possibly understand our universe is by becoming a space civilization. Becoming a space civilization is probably the Great Filter. This should be the utmost priority, an existential one.

    But it is not. Quite puzzling. Maybe we should agitate and propagandize the normies to ensure that those who really care about humankind surviving the next 1000 years receive a tiny fraction of the global GDP to leave this world behind?

    Would be a better investment than all the climate change Ponzi schemes.

    • Agree: Exile, mal, reiner Tor
    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    @Ano4


    People do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later the civilization and possibly life on this planet will cease.
     
    You do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later civilizations and possibly life on all possible planets will cease.

    ...those who really care about humankind surviving the next 1000 years receive a tiny fraction of the global GDP to leave this world behind?
     
    1000 years or 1000000, what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?

    Solve the problem of teleology first, then worry about muh spaceships.

    Replies: @Ano4, @mal

    , @Polemos
    @Ano4

    Do you think there is no such thing as immaterial or interdimensional forms of life, or even civilization?

    Replies: @Ano4

  23. Venus. Wait–isn’t that where the Svidomi evolved?

    • LOL: Lars Porsena
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    @Digital Samizdat

    It's quite obvious that this Svidomite is way off of his rocker! The Ukrainian language originated on "Ukrainus"(Uranus) not Venus. The Venetian dialect originated on Venus. Aren't these things rather self evident, not requiring much if any pondering?...

  24. Considering that we face a decline in our species’ cognitive ability to maintain advanced civilization on this planet, I don’t see where we’ll find the minds to make other worlds habitable.

  25. ‘First Spaceship on Venus’, interesting 1960 East German – Polish film, viewable here, English subtitles, film summary with the posting, 78min31

    • Thanks: utu
    • Replies: @utu
    @brabantian

    I wonder if this DDR-Polen film had any influence on the Star Trek (1966).

    "In 1962 a shortened, 79 minute version of the film was released in the United States by Crown International Pictures; it was dubbed into English and carried the title First Spaceship on Venus."


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silent_Star
    In a retrospective on Soviet science fiction film, British director Alex Cox compared First Spaceship on Venus to the Japanese film The Mysterians, but called the former "more complex and morally ambiguous".[12] Cox also remarked that "Silent Star's images of melted cities and crystallised forests, overhung by swirling clouds of gas, are masterpieces of production design. The scene in which three cosmonauts are menaced halfway up a miniature Tower of Babel by an encroaching sea of sludge may not entirely convince, but it is still a heck of a thing to see".[12]

    Stanislaw Lem, whose novel the film was based upon, was extremely critical of the adaptation and even wanted his name removed from the credits in protest against the extra politicization of the story when compared to his original.[1] (Lem: "It practically delivered speeches about the struggle for peace. Trashy screenplay was painted; tar was bubbling, which would not scare even a child"
     
    I do not know when Lem said it but I am pretty sure that not when the movie was made. Most likely he confabulates his objections to whitewash his communist past. The 1951 novel he wrote is totally communist utopian.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Astronauts
    "The Astronauts, written for the youth, is set in the Communist utopian future. To get it published under the communist regime in Poland, Lem had to insert frequent references to the ideals of communism."
     

    Replies: @LH

  26. @songbird
    Carl Sagan thought there were signs of life on Venus back in the '70s.

    The guy who helped design the experiment on Mariner thinks there is a conspiracy by the US to prevent life being discovered on Mars. His idea is that the fear of bringing something dangerous back on Earth would lead to the end of manned exploration. Back in the '90s the state department stopped him from working with Russia to design new tests. If you ask me, he's a bit nuts - he thinks Mariner found life. I doubt it'd be on the surface.

    Life should be easy to find on Venus, if it is there - it is easier to get to Venus. Colonizing Venus seems an exercise in abstraction. Sure, there are good things about the upper atmosphere, but what is the point, unless you can harvest resources on the surface?

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Buzz Mohawk, @nokangaroos, @DRA

    Svante Arrhenius, legendary physikochemist and godfather of global warming, believed Venus was covered with tropical swamp “with civilization only on the poles”; how modest we have gotten 😀

    But it is a commonplace it is always the astrophysicists (no geology, no chemistry, no biology) who come up with these things; still, Sagan was the right man at the right place and time:
    Dream big, get things in motion, inspire the little ones.
    What follows is decidedly less glamorous drudgery (and what they found on Mars was probably Fe[III]. Probably.)

    – Contamination from Earth would be far more probable outwards i.e. Mars (solar wind).
    And whatever life CANNOT possibly have formed in the upper atmosphere (and good luck with the surface). Venus probably just has BO.

    • Replies: @songbird
    @nokangaroos

    One possibility is that life started on the surface of Venus, when it was more habitable, and migrated into the atmosphere and adapted to living in it, before the surface became uninhabitable.

    Of course, one can find viruses, bacteria, and fungi in Earth's atmosphere. I don't think they've been studied much, but it is hard to believe that anything undergoes a complete life cycle up there.

    People used to look at the swimming bladders of fish and propose that on some planets there might be animals that could float in the air using bladders filled with hydrogen. Maybe, there could be something like that on a molecular scale. Microscopic blimps or airplanes. Maybe, it would be possible just based on the wind, lifting bodies.

    Replies: @nokangaroos

  27. @brabantian
    'First Spaceship on Venus', interesting 1960 East German - Polish film, viewable here, English subtitles, film summary with the posting, 78min31

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXe-fv-K24k

    Replies: @utu

    I wonder if this DDR-Polen film had any influence on the Star Trek (1966).

    “In 1962 a shortened, 79 minute version of the film was released in the United States by Crown International Pictures; it was dubbed into English and carried the title First Spaceship on Venus.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silent_Star
    In a retrospective on Soviet science fiction film, British director Alex Cox compared First Spaceship on Venus to the Japanese film The Mysterians, but called the former “more complex and morally ambiguous”.[12] Cox also remarked that “Silent Star’s images of melted cities and crystallised forests, overhung by swirling clouds of gas, are masterpieces of production design. The scene in which three cosmonauts are menaced halfway up a miniature Tower of Babel by an encroaching sea of sludge may not entirely convince, but it is still a heck of a thing to see”.[12]

    Stanislaw Lem, whose novel the film was based upon, was extremely critical of the adaptation and even wanted his name removed from the credits in protest against the extra politicization of the story when compared to his original.[1] (Lem: “It practically delivered speeches about the struggle for peace. Trashy screenplay was painted; tar was bubbling, which would not scare even a child”

    I do not know when Lem said it but I am pretty sure that not when the movie was made. Most likely he confabulates his objections to whitewash his communist past. The 1951 novel he wrote is totally communist utopian.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Astronauts
    “The Astronauts, written for the youth, is set in the Communist utopian future. To get it published under the communist regime in Poland, Lem had to insert frequent references to the ideals of communism.”

    • Replies: @LH
    @utu


    I do not know when Lem said it but I am pretty sure that not when the movie was made. Most likely he confabulates his objections to whitewash his communist past. The 1951 novel he wrote is totally communist utopian.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Astronauts
    “The Astronauts, written for the youth, is set in the Communist utopian future. To get it published under the communist regime in Poland, Lem had to insert frequent references to the ideals of communism.”
     

     
    Heh, it was me who created the article. Communist references are there, but they are not the dominating part of the story. Given the era, it was rather modest sacrifice to the gods of ideology.

    Replies: @Ano4

  28. @Ano4
    @Exile

    I have always been surprised at how little the majority of people are interested into the infinite space that starts immediately beyond Earth's atmosphere.

    People do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later the civilization and possibly life on this planet will cease. This is certain beyond any reasonable doubt. The only way to ensure we have enough time to possibly understand our universe is by becoming a space civilization. Becoming a space civilization is probably the Great Filter. This should be the utmost priority, an existential one.

    But it is not. Quite puzzling. Maybe we should agitate and propagandize the normies to ensure that those who really care about humankind surviving the next 1000 years receive a tiny fraction of the global GDP to leave this world behind?

    Would be a better investment than all the climate change Ponzi schemes.

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Polemos

    People do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later the civilization and possibly life on this planet will cease.

    You do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later civilizations and possibly life on all possible planets will cease.

    …those who really care about humankind surviving the next 1000 years receive a tiny fraction of the global GDP to leave this world behind?

    1000 years or 1000000, what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?

    Solve the problem of teleology first, then worry about muh spaceships.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    @anonymous coward


    sooner rather than later civilizations and possibly life on all possible planets will cease
     
    .

    Sure, but why living on a planet? Also what do you think is the lifespan of a galaxy?


    Solve the problem of teleology first
     
    I think we can afford some pluralism, those who want to stay behind need not move from Earth. For those who expand into space, the finality can then be defined in a vast array of possibilities. The space is large enough and durable enough for that.

    Replies: @anonymous coward

    , @mal
    @anonymous coward


    1000 years or 1000000, what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?
     
    There is no such thing as "organic waste". All "organic waste" is food for somebody else. You eat and drink and breathe "organic waste". From the universal perspective, organic waste is more valuable than all the gold in the world - there's literally an infinite amount of gold in the universe, but only a very small, limited amount of your shit, and that creates bottlenecks.

    The one goal of life, the only goal that matters, is taking excess energy and using it to reduce entropy in the system. Nothing else matters. You, as an "organic waste" construct, has been created for this only purpose, and so has every other living thing. Those who refuse this process are eliminated and become food for others who carry on.

    If humanity is to matter at all, we must take this process as far and wide as we possibly can, and do so as soon as possible.

    Replies: @Polemos, @adreadline

  29. @anonymous coward
    @Ano4


    People do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later the civilization and possibly life on this planet will cease.
     
    You do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later civilizations and possibly life on all possible planets will cease.

    ...those who really care about humankind surviving the next 1000 years receive a tiny fraction of the global GDP to leave this world behind?
     
    1000 years or 1000000, what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?

    Solve the problem of teleology first, then worry about muh spaceships.

    Replies: @Ano4, @mal

    sooner rather than later civilizations and possibly life on all possible planets will cease

    .

    Sure, but why living on a planet? Also what do you think is the lifespan of a galaxy?

    Solve the problem of teleology first

    I think we can afford some pluralism, those who want to stay behind need not move from Earth. For those who expand into space, the finality can then be defined in a vast array of possibilities. The space is large enough and durable enough for that.

    • Agree: mal
    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    @Ano4


    Also what do you think is the lifespan of a galaxy?

     

    Whatever it is, it is infinitely shorter than 'infinity'.

    I think we can afford some pluralism, those who want to stay behind need not move from Earth.
     
    You didn't answer (or, indeed, even understand) my question.
  30. @Elmer's Washable School Glue
    @utu

    Phosphine can be formed rapidly through known chemical processes under conditions of extremely high pressure, such as those found on a gas giant. Venus doesn't have pressures even close to the amount needed, as is explained in this earlier paper by some of the same authors.
    From the abstract:


    If detected, PH3 is a promising biosignature gas, as it has no known abiotic false positives on terrestrial planets that could generate the high fluxes required for detection.
     
    More detailed explanations are on pages 30-32 and 39-40.

    No serious person is claiming this constitutes absolute "proof" of life. But I have a question for you. Given the following:
    a) the gas can be easily explained by biological processes
    b) the gas cannot be explained whatsoever by abiotic processes
    c) Earth's history would suggest simple life forms do not take that long to develop,
    then why shouldn't we accept life as a plausible working hypothesis?

    Replies: @utu, @nokangaroos

    Thanks for the link, but I understand

    1) it´s a research proposal i.e. probably not too pessimist, and

    2) they are not too sure about hot and acid conditions (d´oh!) and

    3) they exclude any lithological source, only conclude the annual meteoritic introduction is too low i.e. they presuppose an oxidizing atmosphere (!) while modelling a reducing one.

    I´ll wait for the experiment 😀

  31. @Ano4
    @anonymous coward


    sooner rather than later civilizations and possibly life on all possible planets will cease
     
    .

    Sure, but why living on a planet? Also what do you think is the lifespan of a galaxy?


    Solve the problem of teleology first
     
    I think we can afford some pluralism, those who want to stay behind need not move from Earth. For those who expand into space, the finality can then be defined in a vast array of possibilities. The space is large enough and durable enough for that.

    Replies: @anonymous coward

    Also what do you think is the lifespan of a galaxy?

    Whatever it is, it is infinitely shorter than ‘infinity’.

    I think we can afford some pluralism, those who want to stay behind need not move from Earth.

    You didn’t answer (or, indeed, even understand) my question.

    • Troll: Ano4
  32. @songbird
    @AnonFromTN

    The argument is that the concentration is too high to be explained by known inorganic processes. There's a hubris that we know them all and can model it because it's a simple molecule used in industrial processes.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @AnonFromTN

    I think it’s not really claimed that life is the only possible explanation. But it is claimed that life is the only known explanation. Which is obviously true.

    There’s the same issue with the Oumuamua object. Its acceleration cannot be explained by any known natural process. It doesn’t mean that it’s an alien spacecraft, but it does mean that the possibility must be taken seriously.

    • Replies: @songbird
    @reiner Tor

    The language has been pretty measured for the most part. Probably a testament to the high IQ required for astrobiology, and related fields. When it comes down to it, I can't really fault people for their enthusiasm either, even if I consider the evidence spotty.

    I wonder how many man-hours and dollars are spent on the search for life on Mars and Venus compared to those spent annually promoting the metaphysical narrative of the Holocaust, or in subsidizing Israel.

    Some believe that China will take the prize for finding conclusive proof of life on Mars. Probably more politically desirable than the US finding it.

  33. @anonymous coward
    @songbird


    Colonizing Venus seems an exercise in abstraction.
     
    Venus at 50km up in the atmosphere is the only place (other than Earth) in the Solar System where you can walk around with nothing but a face mask and oxygen source. If we're ever colonizing anything it will be Venus.

    Sure, there are good things about the upper atmosphere, but what is the point, unless you can harvest resources on the surface?
     
    There are no resources worth going to space for. On any planet.

    If we're colonizing planets it definitely won't be for resources.

    Replies: @Lars Porsena, @songbird

    where you can walk around with nothing but a face mask and oxygen source.

    Not really because it’s the upper atmosphere. There’s no ground.

    • LOL: Ano4
    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    @Lars Porsena

    We had blimps before we had airplanes. (It's doubly easy on Venus due to lower atmosphere being more dense than upper. You just need to take care of leaks in your airboats once in a while.)

  34. @utu
    @Elmer's Washable School Glue

    Thanks.

    Your

    b) the gas cannot be explained whatsoever by abiotic processes

    in the paper actually is much much weaker:

    b1) We are unable to find another chemical species (known in current databases)
    b2) there is no other known reasonable candidate transition for the absorption other than PH3
    b3) No phosphorus species have been reported at the planetary surface.
    b4) If no known chemical process can explain PH3 within the upper atmosphere of Venus, then it must be produced by a process not previously considered plausible for Venusian conditions. This could be unknown photochemistry or geochemistry, or possibly life.

    Possible. But plausible is just another word for a high degree of wishfulness.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    Plausible only means that life is the only known process which could’ve produced it. Of course there could be countless other, unknown, abiotic processes, but we cannot say anything about those, as they are unknown.

  35. The energy and financial requirements to send a 3 man crew to the moon for a few days stay was colossal. Absent some breakthrough in propulsion travelling to an inner planet 100 times more distant and with greater gravity would be a one off adventure not a colonizing mission.

    The problem with colonizing another celestial body is that humans are designed for earth like conditions. Change that and we evolve into a being better suited for that enviroment. Send humans to live on Mars and they will become Martian not human.

  36. The excitement over the possibility of bacterial life on other planets…is strange to me. We already know that life exists in the universe…the question should be is there intelligent life in the universe?

    • Replies: @Ano4
    @Realist


    is there intelligent life in the universe?
     
    There is intelligent life on our planet (although when I read the news I sometimes doubt it). I don't think our planet is something too exceptional. Therefore, there should be other intelligent life out there.

    Replies: @Realist, @anonymous coward, @AnonFromTN

    , @reiner Tor
    @Realist

    Bacterial life on another planet increases our prior probabilities for intelligent life elsewhere, too. By the way it’s bad news, as intelligent life elsewhere would likely be bad news.

    Replies: @Realist

  37. @Anatoly Karlin
    @AnonFromTN

    Not in the quantities detected. Half the paper addresses this very issue!

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

    To the best of my knowledge, when conditions for the chemical reaction are favorable, the amount of product only depends on the amounts of available reagents.

  38. @songbird
    @AnonFromTN

    The argument is that the concentration is too high to be explained by known inorganic processes. There's a hubris that we know them all and can model it because it's a simple molecule used in industrial processes.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @AnonFromTN

    Hubris it is. It’s just like the same people who cannot reliably predict weather tomorrow morning assure us that they know what the climate will be like 50 years from now. Still, propaganda has no shame, that’s why it’s propaganda, not news reporting.

  39. @utu
    The most familiar Venusian (Venereal) lifeforms are Treponema pallidum and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

    There is Russian joke: she is not a Venus, but she has something venereal.

    • LOL: nokangaroos
  40. @Digital Samizdat
    Venus. Wait--isn't that where the Svidomi evolved?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_jT-1f4ygg

    Replies: @Mr. Hack

    It’s quite obvious that this Svidomite is way off of his rocker! The Ukrainian language originated on “Ukrainus”(Uranus) not Venus. The Venetian dialect originated on Venus. Aren’t these things rather self evident, not requiring much if any pondering?…

    • Agree: Ano4
  41. @Realist
    The excitement over the possibility of bacterial life on other planets...is strange to me. We already know that life exists in the universe...the question should be is there intelligent life in the universe?

    Replies: @Ano4, @reiner Tor

    is there intelligent life in the universe?

    There is intelligent life on our planet (although when I read the news I sometimes doubt it). I don’t think our planet is something too exceptional. Therefore, there should be other intelligent life out there.

    • Replies: @Realist
    @Ano4


    There is intelligent life on our planet...
     
    That depends on your definition of intelligent.
    , @anonymous coward
    @Ano4


    I don’t think our planet is something too exceptional.
     
    Of course it is. It's the only one with intelligent life, after all.

    Replies: @Ano4

    , @AnonFromTN
    @Ano4


    There is intelligent life on our planet (although when I read the news I sometimes doubt it)
     
    Reminds me of an American joke. George W Bush is the best argument against intelligent design: nobody intelligent would ever design him.
  42. @Ano4
    @Realist


    is there intelligent life in the universe?
     
    There is intelligent life on our planet (although when I read the news I sometimes doubt it). I don't think our planet is something too exceptional. Therefore, there should be other intelligent life out there.

    Replies: @Realist, @anonymous coward, @AnonFromTN

    There is intelligent life on our planet…

    That depends on your definition of intelligent.

    • Agree: Ano4
  43. @utu
    @brabantian

    I wonder if this DDR-Polen film had any influence on the Star Trek (1966).

    "In 1962 a shortened, 79 minute version of the film was released in the United States by Crown International Pictures; it was dubbed into English and carried the title First Spaceship on Venus."


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silent_Star
    In a retrospective on Soviet science fiction film, British director Alex Cox compared First Spaceship on Venus to the Japanese film The Mysterians, but called the former "more complex and morally ambiguous".[12] Cox also remarked that "Silent Star's images of melted cities and crystallised forests, overhung by swirling clouds of gas, are masterpieces of production design. The scene in which three cosmonauts are menaced halfway up a miniature Tower of Babel by an encroaching sea of sludge may not entirely convince, but it is still a heck of a thing to see".[12]

    Stanislaw Lem, whose novel the film was based upon, was extremely critical of the adaptation and even wanted his name removed from the credits in protest against the extra politicization of the story when compared to his original.[1] (Lem: "It practically delivered speeches about the struggle for peace. Trashy screenplay was painted; tar was bubbling, which would not scare even a child"
     
    I do not know when Lem said it but I am pretty sure that not when the movie was made. Most likely he confabulates his objections to whitewash his communist past. The 1951 novel he wrote is totally communist utopian.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Astronauts
    "The Astronauts, written for the youth, is set in the Communist utopian future. To get it published under the communist regime in Poland, Lem had to insert frequent references to the ideals of communism."
     

    Replies: @LH

    I do not know when Lem said it but I am pretty sure that not when the movie was made. Most likely he confabulates his objections to whitewash his communist past. The 1951 novel he wrote is totally communist utopian.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Astronauts
    “The Astronauts, written for the youth, is set in the Communist utopian future. To get it published under the communist regime in Poland, Lem had to insert frequent references to the ideals of communism.”

    Heh, it was me who created the article. Communist references are there, but they are not the dominating part of the story. Given the era, it was rather modest sacrifice to the gods of ideology.

    • Thanks: utu
    • Replies: @Ano4
    @LH

    Lem was an exceptionally intelligent person. When he wrote the Astronauts, the Eastern Bloc was experiencing a very fast growth and technological development. Denouncing the prevailing ideology in a situation of growth and overall progress, is not a sign of intelligence. But when the growth and development transformed into the dogmatic stagnation of the late 60ies and early 70ies, Lem distanced himself from the political doctrines that became stale and stiffening.

    Others have done the same, Strugatsky brothers, Kir Bulychev and even Ivan Efremov (author of the archetypal Communist utopia: the Andromeda Nebula) started writing more critical science fiction and anticipation novels. This had an impact on the thinking of the Soviet and Eastern European technical intelligentsia class and helped bringing Communist domination down.

  44. @LH
    @utu


    I do not know when Lem said it but I am pretty sure that not when the movie was made. Most likely he confabulates his objections to whitewash his communist past. The 1951 novel he wrote is totally communist utopian.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Astronauts
    “The Astronauts, written for the youth, is set in the Communist utopian future. To get it published under the communist regime in Poland, Lem had to insert frequent references to the ideals of communism.”
     

     
    Heh, it was me who created the article. Communist references are there, but they are not the dominating part of the story. Given the era, it was rather modest sacrifice to the gods of ideology.

    Replies: @Ano4

    Lem was an exceptionally intelligent person. When he wrote the Astronauts, the Eastern Bloc was experiencing a very fast growth and technological development. Denouncing the prevailing ideology in a situation of growth and overall progress, is not a sign of intelligence. But when the growth and development transformed into the dogmatic stagnation of the late 60ies and early 70ies, Lem distanced himself from the political doctrines that became stale and stiffening.

    Others have done the same, Strugatsky brothers, Kir Bulychev and even Ivan Efremov (author of the archetypal Communist utopia: the Andromeda Nebula) started writing more critical science fiction and anticipation novels. This had an impact on the thinking of the Soviet and Eastern European technical intelligentsia class and helped bringing Communist domination down.

  45. @Lars Porsena
    @anonymous coward


    where you can walk around with nothing but a face mask and oxygen source.
     
    Not really because it's the upper atmosphere. There's no ground.

    Replies: @anonymous coward

    We had blimps before we had airplanes. (It’s doubly easy on Venus due to lower atmosphere being more dense than upper. You just need to take care of leaks in your airboats once in a while.)

  46. @Ano4
    @Realist


    is there intelligent life in the universe?
     
    There is intelligent life on our planet (although when I read the news I sometimes doubt it). I don't think our planet is something too exceptional. Therefore, there should be other intelligent life out there.

    Replies: @Realist, @anonymous coward, @AnonFromTN

    I don’t think our planet is something too exceptional.

    Of course it is. It’s the only one with intelligent life, after all.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    @anonymous coward

    When I read some of your comments, I feel the need to ask you to define what is for you the exact meaning of the word "intelligent".

    😉

  47. @anonymous coward
    @Ano4


    I don’t think our planet is something too exceptional.
     
    Of course it is. It's the only one with intelligent life, after all.

    Replies: @Ano4

    When I read some of your comments, I feel the need to ask you to define what is for you the exact meaning of the word “intelligent”.

    😉

  48. @anonymous coward
    @songbird


    Colonizing Venus seems an exercise in abstraction.
     
    Venus at 50km up in the atmosphere is the only place (other than Earth) in the Solar System where you can walk around with nothing but a face mask and oxygen source. If we're ever colonizing anything it will be Venus.

    Sure, there are good things about the upper atmosphere, but what is the point, unless you can harvest resources on the surface?
     
    There are no resources worth going to space for. On any planet.

    If we're colonizing planets it definitely won't be for resources.

    Replies: @Lars Porsena, @songbird

    You’d probably need a suit because of the sulfuric acid, and that’s making the assumption that there would be an altitude with the right pressure and temperature conditions, where you wouldn’t be subjected to super-extreme winds, and blown off the deck of your air-ship.

    Actually, the big draw for Venus is the almost Earth-like gravity. Walking around on an airship flying 50 km above a burning hell really isn’t super attractive. In theory, it is quite easy to dig a tunnel on the moon or Mars and pressurize it. You get the same protection from radiation, and a leak would not be immediately catastrophic. Your tunnel could be a loop 5k long, and you could ride a bycicle inside it, and it could be full of flowers or cultivated plants and pieces of art – that sounds more attractive to me.

    The historical norm for colonization means using local materials. Eskimos used packed snow to make igloos. Pioneers on the plains made houses out of sod. You can argue about how practical that sort of thing would be on another planet, but if people go there without using local materials, then that would probably be better defined as “exploration”, rather than “colonization.”

    The main draw is sovereignty not mineral treasure. The “resources” are just chemicals that would allow for the sustenance of life – after they’ve been put through processes.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    @songbird


    ...it is quite easy to dig a tunnel on the moon or Mars and pressurize it.

     

    Yes, once magic fairies have delivered tunnel digging and pressurizing machines to Mars. (Let's ignore the fuel question for now and assume these machines violate thermodynamics.)

    Once again, this thread demonstrates that "outer space" is nothing but wistful, romantic nostalgia for childhood fantasies and has no relation whatsoever to reality.

    (If cars are the modern child's megafauna, then "outer space" is his fairytale.)

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    , @The Alarmist
    @songbird


    You’d probably need a suit because of the sulfuric acid, and that’s making the assumption that there would be an altitude with the right pressure and temperature conditions, where you wouldn’t be subjected to super-extreme winds, and blown off the deck of your air-ship.

     

    Within 5 minutes of parking the dirigible, some climate scientist would produce a research report attributing the atmospheric conditions to AGW and man-caused pollution.

    Replies: @songbird

  49. @Ano4
    @Realist


    is there intelligent life in the universe?
     
    There is intelligent life on our planet (although when I read the news I sometimes doubt it). I don't think our planet is something too exceptional. Therefore, there should be other intelligent life out there.

    Replies: @Realist, @anonymous coward, @AnonFromTN

    There is intelligent life on our planet (although when I read the news I sometimes doubt it)

    Reminds me of an American joke. George W Bush is the best argument against intelligent design: nobody intelligent would ever design him.

    • Agree: Ano4
  50. @Buzz Mohawk
    @songbird

    One astronomer predicted that the Viking landers would not find life on Mars because the atmosphere shows no chemical indications. He pointed to observations of the type mentioned here with regard to Venus.

    The idea is that you don't need to go down and sample the surface. You can just make spectral analyses of planetary atmospheres and look for the telltale products of biology.

    As now there will be for Venus, there is still a small argument that the Viking experiments actually did find life. For both planets now, the debate comes down to how you explain the chemical processes and the results observed.

    Replies: @songbird, @DRA

    Whoops, meant to say Viking in my original comment. And I should have said “abiotic” rather than “inorganic.”

    That’s why I think we shouldn’t be too concerned about radio signals leaking into space, and tipping off aliens that we are here: spectral analysis. If there is anyone looking for us, they’ll be using it. And whatever the sensitivity of their instruments, whether or not they can detect anthropic changes, or industry, I’m sure, they’d still see enough (oxygen) to merit a closer look.

    I’m sure it wouldn’t work for every sign of life. Interestingly, I’ve heard that if you reversed the analysis – did the observation from Venus (or rather the same distance), it would be impossible to detect the same chemical on Earth, due to the lack of sensitivity of the instruments.

  51. @Ano4
    @Exile

    I have always been surprised at how little the majority of people are interested into the infinite space that starts immediately beyond Earth's atmosphere.

    People do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later the civilization and possibly life on this planet will cease. This is certain beyond any reasonable doubt. The only way to ensure we have enough time to possibly understand our universe is by becoming a space civilization. Becoming a space civilization is probably the Great Filter. This should be the utmost priority, an existential one.

    But it is not. Quite puzzling. Maybe we should agitate and propagandize the normies to ensure that those who really care about humankind surviving the next 1000 years receive a tiny fraction of the global GDP to leave this world behind?

    Would be a better investment than all the climate change Ponzi schemes.

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Polemos

    Do you think there is no such thing as immaterial or interdimensional forms of life, or even civilization?

    • Replies: @Ano4
    @Polemos

    This is something I have absolutely no opinion about. I am just replying so that you know that I read your comment and am not ignoring your input. But I am not interested in investing more time and energy in exploring this topic.

  52. @nokangaroos
    @songbird

    Svante Arrhenius, legendary physikochemist and godfather of global warming, believed Venus was covered with tropical swamp "with civilization only on the poles"; how modest we have gotten :D

    But it is a commonplace it is always the astrophysicists (no geology, no chemistry, no biology) who come up with these things; still, Sagan was the right man at the right place and time:
    Dream big, get things in motion, inspire the little ones.
    What follows is decidedly less glamorous drudgery (and what they found on Mars was probably Fe[III]. Probably.)

    - Contamination from Earth would be far more probable outwards i.e. Mars (solar wind).
    And whatever life CANNOT possibly have formed in the upper atmosphere (and good luck with the surface). Venus probably just has BO.

    Replies: @songbird

    One possibility is that life started on the surface of Venus, when it was more habitable, and migrated into the atmosphere and adapted to living in it, before the surface became uninhabitable.

    Of course, one can find viruses, bacteria, and fungi in Earth’s atmosphere. I don’t think they’ve been studied much, but it is hard to believe that anything undergoes a complete life cycle up there.

    People used to look at the swimming bladders of fish and propose that on some planets there might be animals that could float in the air using bladders filled with hydrogen. Maybe, there could be something like that on a molecular scale. Microscopic blimps or airplanes. Maybe, it would be possible just based on the wind, lifting bodies.

    • Replies: @nokangaroos
    @songbird

    I see. The critters developed on the surface when it was habitable and when it turned into a runaway greenhouse they "ascended" and are now floating above the sulfuric acid clouds. And playing the venereal harp. What do they eat? Oh, they do not have to. And aren´t there bacteria who eat electrons?

    OK, sorry ;)

    The late Prof. Heinrich K. Erben, paleontologist and philosopher of science, had some rather unkind words (there might be minors reading this) for the "thinkable" crowd who use terms like "carbaquist" or "life as we know it" (as noted, almost always astrophysicists; they probably think it gets them the gurrlz. Not that down-to-earth scientists are overrun with groupies :P ).
    As usual it is not that simple:
    - There is no way around carbon and water; no other combination of elements provides (IV)valence, good solubilities and low activation energies.
    - Concentration; there is no "dilute" life - rules out the atmosphere (nothing "lives" or reproduces in the atmosphere, these are just "transport" forms)
    - Individuation/Delimitation; an oft-overlooked factor, same as above (of interest to the open borders crowd, there can be no life without it)
    - Energy source, chemical or radiation; good in the atmosphere, but usually too much to maintain a quasistationary disequilibrium ("life")
    - If all that and the numerous geological and astrophysical constraints (size and composition of planet, distance and nature of star etc.) are still not enough and you want it "intelligent", Erben pointed out at least 26 bifurcation points for the only life as we know it.
    (Note these are not a posteriori, they COULD NOT have happened otherwise)

    Need I add Erben was a radical sceptic? :D

    Replies: @songbird, @reiner Tor

  53. Substantial chance that it arose as a result of biota transfer from Earth (regionalized version of panspermia hypothesis). Freak chance, sure, but there have been ~4 billion years for it to happen.

    Yea, I would be extremely surprised if we didn’t find biomaterials on other planets. I mean, I don’t expect T-Rexes roaming everywhere, but Earth has been hit by some very big rocks in its history. Surely some of that debris have settled somewhere?

    Some of the most exciting finds will be from the time when Earth was still forming – the original life critters. Before oxygen, and maybe even limited water, and lava everywhere. Planet was heavily bombarded back then. If some of that genetic material got preserved inside a rock (ash is a good insulator), and flung somewhere where it wouldn’t be eaten, I figure there may be some scientific and potentially commercial interest in locating that.

    On Great Filter – yeah, concerning. We are living it now, but for the reasons different from the ones commonly stated (war extinction, pollution, etc). For example, if I wanted to colonize the galaxy with Japanese and had magic wand perfect technology, I would only be able to do so for 120 million star systems. (One Japanese per star system would be my limit). If I wanted to the same 80 years from now, I would only be able to colonize 50-80 million star systems due to Japanese population collapse and their fertility preferences. This trend appears to be universal, and even current high fertility rate regions like India and Africa will likely tank their fertility rates as they develop their space programs. (Yes, India has a good space program already, but its a legacy of their cooperation with the Soviet Union).

    It looks like any civilization cognitively capable of sustaining a space program is also capable of inventing sexual prosthetics (by that I mean ideological ones like feminism in the West and physical ones like sex pillows in the East) that tank their fertility rates and invert their population pyramids that makes their potential colonization projects pointless. Space has no use for the old.

    This feeds into a larger existential question and the fate of humanity. It is very clear that the universe has chosen evolution as a method for developing advanced technology rather than intelligence, and if life is common in the universe, it will provide further evidence to support this point. Considering how easy it is to create human level intelligence (it was like 15 million years to go from ape level to human level, blink of an eye geologically speaking), why is it not common? Why civilizations that choose to deploy intelligence to develop technology automatically self eliminate from the gene pool?

    The fundamental question of the Fermi Paradox isn’t “where are the aliens”, it’s “where are the mermaids”.

    I mean, ocean is full of intelligent creatures – dolphins, whales, octopuses etc, with intelligence level at least comparable to apes. If all it takes is 15 million years from that base point, where are the dolphin Harvard professors?

    The grim pessimistic view is that life has evaluated intelligence and declared it to be a dead end, and moved on to better things such as pigeon based quantum computers (a single pigeon contains more advanced technology than all human inventions put together), and humans are simply getting this message today as they self eliminate.

    The optimistic view (to which I subscribe) is that life hasn’t given humans a chance. If we return to expansionist mind set, and demonstrate truly novel capabilities (such mass interplanetary life transfers), maybe intelligence won’t be such a dead end after all.

  54. @Polemos
    @Ano4

    Do you think there is no such thing as immaterial or interdimensional forms of life, or even civilization?

    Replies: @Ano4

    This is something I have absolutely no opinion about. I am just replying so that you know that I read your comment and am not ignoring your input. But I am not interested in investing more time and energy in exploring this topic.

    • Thanks: Polemos
  55. @Realist
    The excitement over the possibility of bacterial life on other planets...is strange to me. We already know that life exists in the universe...the question should be is there intelligent life in the universe?

    Replies: @Ano4, @reiner Tor

    Bacterial life on another planet increases our prior probabilities for intelligent life elsewhere, too. By the way it’s bad news, as intelligent life elsewhere would likely be bad news.

    • Replies: @Realist
    @reiner Tor


    Bacterial life on another planet increases our prior probabilities for intelligent life elsewhere, too.
     
    I have always considered that there is a strong possibility that other intelligent life exists in the universe...let alone bacterial life.

    By the way it’s bad news, as intelligent life elsewhere would likely be bad news.
     
    Why do you think they would be uncaring, warmongering, rapacious assholes like we are?

    My belief is that as beings evolve they become less aggressive, more considerate of other sentient living things.

    BTW my comment...We already know that life exists in the universe…the question should be is there intelligent life in the universe?...was facetious.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

  56. @songbird
    @anonymous coward

    You'd probably need a suit because of the sulfuric acid, and that's making the assumption that there would be an altitude with the right pressure and temperature conditions, where you wouldn't be subjected to super-extreme winds, and blown off the deck of your air-ship.

    Actually, the big draw for Venus is the almost Earth-like gravity. Walking around on an airship flying 50 km above a burning hell really isn't super attractive. In theory, it is quite easy to dig a tunnel on the moon or Mars and pressurize it. You get the same protection from radiation, and a leak would not be immediately catastrophic. Your tunnel could be a loop 5k long, and you could ride a bycicle inside it, and it could be full of flowers or cultivated plants and pieces of art - that sounds more attractive to me.

    The historical norm for colonization means using local materials. Eskimos used packed snow to make igloos. Pioneers on the plains made houses out of sod. You can argue about how practical that sort of thing would be on another planet, but if people go there without using local materials, then that would probably be better defined as "exploration", rather than "colonization."

    The main draw is sovereignty not mineral treasure. The "resources" are just chemicals that would allow for the sustenance of life - after they've been put through processes.

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @The Alarmist

    …it is quite easy to dig a tunnel on the moon or Mars and pressurize it.

    Yes, once magic fairies have delivered tunnel digging and pressurizing machines to Mars. (Let’s ignore the fuel question for now and assume these machines violate thermodynamics.)

    Once again, this thread demonstrates that “outer space” is nothing but wistful, romantic nostalgia for childhood fantasies and has no relation whatsoever to reality.

    (If cars are the modern child’s megafauna, then “outer space” is his fairytale.)

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    @anonymous coward

    Nothing that songbird suggested violated thermodynamics.

    Replies: @anonymous coward

  57. @anonymous coward
    @Ano4


    People do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later the civilization and possibly life on this planet will cease.
     
    You do not seem to understand that sooner rather than later civilizations and possibly life on all possible planets will cease.

    ...those who really care about humankind surviving the next 1000 years receive a tiny fraction of the global GDP to leave this world behind?
     
    1000 years or 1000000, what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?

    Solve the problem of teleology first, then worry about muh spaceships.

    Replies: @Ano4, @mal

    1000 years or 1000000, what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?

    There is no such thing as “organic waste”. All “organic waste” is food for somebody else. You eat and drink and breathe “organic waste”. From the universal perspective, organic waste is more valuable than all the gold in the world – there’s literally an infinite amount of gold in the universe, but only a very small, limited amount of your shit, and that creates bottlenecks.

    The one goal of life, the only goal that matters, is taking excess energy and using it to reduce entropy in the system. Nothing else matters. You, as an “organic waste” construct, has been created for this only purpose, and so has every other living thing. Those who refuse this process are eliminated and become food for others who carry on.

    If humanity is to matter at all, we must take this process as far and wide as we possibly can, and do so as soon as possible.

    • Replies: @Polemos
    @mal


    The one goal of life, the only goal that matters, is taking excess energy and using it to reduce entropy in the system. Nothing else matters.
     
    Do you find that this is a different point altogether from the one anonymous coward was making in asking "what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?"

    I mean, consider your last statement: "If humanity is to matter at all, we must take this process as far and wide as we possibly can, and do so as soon as possible."

    What does 'matter at all' mean if you've already said that the goal of life, the only goal that matters, is to take excess energy and use it to reduce entropy? Why spread "as far and wide as we possibly can?" Couldn't we just stack wood into symmetric piles in our backyards and thus reduce entropy, and would this be less a reduction of entropy than if we gathered together into spaceships or space-faring arcologies?

    Why send humans? Why not send out rocks coated with tardigrades or Kineococcus radiotolerans — forms of life much more tolerating than fragile, resource-intensive space-traveling humans?

    Or does it matter how it matters? Does it matter how the reduction takes place, where we define the system?

    Replies: @mal

    , @adreadline
    @mal


    there’s literally an infinite amount of gold in the universe
     
    No, there is not.

    You, as an “organic waste” construct, has been created for this only purpose, and so has every other living thing. Those who refuse this process are eliminated and become food for others who carry on.
     
    Anthropomorphizing nature galore. I guess Archaea just refuse to become Eukaryota and mosquitos were created with the purpose of reducing their entropy. Intelligent design on steroids.

    Replies: @mal

  58. Venus has no magnetic field. The solar wind hits the atmosphere directly and almost all of its hydrogen has been thrown into space.

    There is virtually no hydrogen. Without hydrogen there can’t be water, proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, nucleotides, RNA, DNA.

    There is no life on Venus, period.

    • Replies: @Spisarevski
    @In Catilinam


    There is virtually no hydrogen. Without hydrogen there can’t be water, proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, nucleotides, RNA, DNA.
     
    In the phosphine gas formula (PH3), guess what the H stands for..

    The clouds on Venus are made of sulfuric acid, which gives you water when dissociated.

    I would agree that much more hydrogen is needed if we were talking about creating Earth-like oceans for complete terraforming - in that case hydrogen will have to be transported from the gas giants or from the Sun, and since transporting it requires about as much energy as spinning the planet to have a 24 hour day (which may also boost its magnetic field) the hydrogen pods can be crashed near the equator at the correct angle to impart maximum spin.

    Replies: @In Catilinam

  59. @songbird
    Carl Sagan thought there were signs of life on Venus back in the '70s.

    The guy who helped design the experiment on Mariner thinks there is a conspiracy by the US to prevent life being discovered on Mars. His idea is that the fear of bringing something dangerous back on Earth would lead to the end of manned exploration. Back in the '90s the state department stopped him from working with Russia to design new tests. If you ask me, he's a bit nuts - he thinks Mariner found life. I doubt it'd be on the surface.

    Life should be easy to find on Venus, if it is there - it is easier to get to Venus. Colonizing Venus seems an exercise in abstraction. Sure, there are good things about the upper atmosphere, but what is the point, unless you can harvest resources on the surface?

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Buzz Mohawk, @nokangaroos, @DRA

    Earth is wonderful for having ore concentrations through plate tectonics and the action of water. Not clear that Mars or Venus will have similar concentrations, but Mars is the best bet.

    The asteroids have plenty of material, and much more availability of elements that are usually locked up in the iron of the cores of the planets.

    However, if Venus does have ores or concentrations of elements worth the energy of getting, then robots or radio operated machinery could be controlled from cities in the clouds.

    High temperature integrated circuits may be more easy to develop than supposed, it there is an economic reason to do so.

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/329/5997/1316.abstract

    • Thanks: songbird
  60. @anonymous coward
    @songbird


    ...it is quite easy to dig a tunnel on the moon or Mars and pressurize it.

     

    Yes, once magic fairies have delivered tunnel digging and pressurizing machines to Mars. (Let's ignore the fuel question for now and assume these machines violate thermodynamics.)

    Once again, this thread demonstrates that "outer space" is nothing but wistful, romantic nostalgia for childhood fantasies and has no relation whatsoever to reality.

    (If cars are the modern child's megafauna, then "outer space" is his fairytale.)

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    Nothing that songbird suggested violated thermodynamics.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    @Daniel Chieh

    True, he just ignored the humongous energy and time budget required for drilling and pressurizing 5km tunnels on Mars.

    For reference: imagine the logistics chain required to drill a 5km subway tunnel in a random city and multiply that by three or four orders of magnitude.

    Replies: @Spisarevski

  61. @reiner Tor
    @songbird

    I think it’s not really claimed that life is the only possible explanation. But it is claimed that life is the only known explanation. Which is obviously true.

    There’s the same issue with the Oumuamua object. Its acceleration cannot be explained by any known natural process. It doesn’t mean that it’s an alien spacecraft, but it does mean that the possibility must be taken seriously.

    Replies: @songbird

    The language has been pretty measured for the most part. Probably a testament to the high IQ required for astrobiology, and related fields. When it comes down to it, I can’t really fault people for their enthusiasm either, even if I consider the evidence spotty.

    I wonder how many man-hours and dollars are spent on the search for life on Mars and Venus compared to those spent annually promoting the metaphysical narrative of the Holocaust, or in subsidizing Israel.

    Some believe that China will take the prize for finding conclusive proof of life on Mars. Probably more politically desirable than the US finding it.

  62. @songbird
    @anonymous coward

    You'd probably need a suit because of the sulfuric acid, and that's making the assumption that there would be an altitude with the right pressure and temperature conditions, where you wouldn't be subjected to super-extreme winds, and blown off the deck of your air-ship.

    Actually, the big draw for Venus is the almost Earth-like gravity. Walking around on an airship flying 50 km above a burning hell really isn't super attractive. In theory, it is quite easy to dig a tunnel on the moon or Mars and pressurize it. You get the same protection from radiation, and a leak would not be immediately catastrophic. Your tunnel could be a loop 5k long, and you could ride a bycicle inside it, and it could be full of flowers or cultivated plants and pieces of art - that sounds more attractive to me.

    The historical norm for colonization means using local materials. Eskimos used packed snow to make igloos. Pioneers on the plains made houses out of sod. You can argue about how practical that sort of thing would be on another planet, but if people go there without using local materials, then that would probably be better defined as "exploration", rather than "colonization."

    The main draw is sovereignty not mineral treasure. The "resources" are just chemicals that would allow for the sustenance of life - after they've been put through processes.

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @The Alarmist

    You’d probably need a suit because of the sulfuric acid, and that’s making the assumption that there would be an altitude with the right pressure and temperature conditions, where you wouldn’t be subjected to super-extreme winds, and blown off the deck of your air-ship.

    Within 5 minutes of parking the dirigible, some climate scientist would produce a research report attributing the atmospheric conditions to AGW and man-caused pollution.

    • Replies: @songbird
    @The Alarmist

    Finding life would probably mean that there would be eco-terrorists blowing up rockets - rockets with people in them.

    Replies: @Jim Christian

  63. @songbird
    @nokangaroos

    One possibility is that life started on the surface of Venus, when it was more habitable, and migrated into the atmosphere and adapted to living in it, before the surface became uninhabitable.

    Of course, one can find viruses, bacteria, and fungi in Earth's atmosphere. I don't think they've been studied much, but it is hard to believe that anything undergoes a complete life cycle up there.

    People used to look at the swimming bladders of fish and propose that on some planets there might be animals that could float in the air using bladders filled with hydrogen. Maybe, there could be something like that on a molecular scale. Microscopic blimps or airplanes. Maybe, it would be possible just based on the wind, lifting bodies.

    Replies: @nokangaroos

    I see. The critters developed on the surface when it was habitable and when it turned into a runaway greenhouse they “ascended” and are now floating above the sulfuric acid clouds. And playing the venereal harp. What do they eat? Oh, they do not have to. And aren´t there bacteria who eat electrons?

    OK, sorry 😉

    The late Prof. Heinrich K. Erben, paleontologist and philosopher of science, had some rather unkind words (there might be minors reading this) for the “thinkable” crowd who use terms like “carbaquist” or “life as we know it” (as noted, almost always astrophysicists; they probably think it gets them the gurrlz. Not that down-to-earth scientists are overrun with groupies 😛 ).
    As usual it is not that simple:
    – There is no way around carbon and water; no other combination of elements provides (IV)valence, good solubilities and low activation energies.
    – Concentration; there is no “dilute” life – rules out the atmosphere (nothing “lives” or reproduces in the atmosphere, these are just “transport” forms)
    – Individuation/Delimitation; an oft-overlooked factor, same as above (of interest to the open borders crowd, there can be no life without it)
    – Energy source, chemical or radiation; good in the atmosphere, but usually too much to maintain a quasistationary disequilibrium (“life”)
    – If all that and the numerous geological and astrophysical constraints (size and composition of planet, distance and nature of star etc.) are still not enough and you want it “intelligent”, Erben pointed out at least 26 bifurcation points for the only life as we know it.
    (Note these are not a posteriori, they COULD NOT have happened otherwise)

    Need I add Erben was a radical sceptic? 😀

    • Replies: @songbird
    @nokangaroos

    Well, I'm just playing devil's advocate. I'm skeptical myself, but for food there are two possibilities - solar radiation and volcanic upspew. There is some small evidence to suggest Venus is still volcanically active, and it certainly has plenty of carbon on it, in a form many organisms on earth use as food, and perhaps, only very little water vapor, but not zero.

    Who says they need to be above the clouds of sulfuric acid? To make a crude and perhaps not very scientific analogy, there are extremophiles that eat sulfur and piss out sulfuric acid.

    As to staying up there, the important takeaways from our shallow knowledge of microscopic organisms in the Earth's atmosphere are that they can get up high and travel thousands of miles. It just adds to the imagination, rather than acts as a proof of concept. But it is probably easier to stay up in a denser atmosphere.

    , @reiner Tor
    @nokangaroos

    Are you Austrian?

  64. @Buzz Mohawk
    @songbird

    One astronomer predicted that the Viking landers would not find life on Mars because the atmosphere shows no chemical indications. He pointed to observations of the type mentioned here with regard to Venus.

    The idea is that you don't need to go down and sample the surface. You can just make spectral analyses of planetary atmospheres and look for the telltale products of biology.

    As now there will be for Venus, there is still a small argument that the Viking experiments actually did find life. For both planets now, the debate comes down to how you explain the chemical processes and the results observed.

    Replies: @songbird, @DRA

    Earth is wonderful for having ore concentrations through plate tectonics and the action of water. Not clear that Mars or Venus will have similar concentrations, but Mars is the best bet.

    The asteroids have plenty of material, and much more availability of elements that are usually locked up in the iron of the cores of the planets.

    However, if Venus does have ores or concentrations of elements worth the energy of getting, then robots or radio operated machinery could be controlled from cities in the clouds.

    High temperature integrated circuits may be more easy to develop than supposed, it there is an economic reason to do so.

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/329/5997/1316.abstract

  65. @reiner Tor
    @Realist

    Bacterial life on another planet increases our prior probabilities for intelligent life elsewhere, too. By the way it’s bad news, as intelligent life elsewhere would likely be bad news.

    Replies: @Realist

    Bacterial life on another planet increases our prior probabilities for intelligent life elsewhere, too.

    I have always considered that there is a strong possibility that other intelligent life exists in the universe…let alone bacterial life.

    By the way it’s bad news, as intelligent life elsewhere would likely be bad news.

    Why do you think they would be uncaring, warmongering, rapacious assholes like we are?

    My belief is that as beings evolve they become less aggressive, more considerate of other sentient living things.

    BTW my comment…We already know that life exists in the universe…the question should be is there intelligent life in the universe?…was facetious.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @Realist


    Why do you think they would be uncaring, warmongering, rapacious assholes like we are?
     
    Because being a bit of an asshole is an evolutionarily stable strategy. Being a peaceful hippie high on weed and not caring if others fuck your girlfriend is not an evolutionarily stable strategy. Since colonizing the galaxy takes a long time (probably a hundred million years or more), it’d be unexpected if anything but an evolutionarily stable strategy survived that long.

    Replies: @Realist

  66. @The Alarmist
    @songbird


    You’d probably need a suit because of the sulfuric acid, and that’s making the assumption that there would be an altitude with the right pressure and temperature conditions, where you wouldn’t be subjected to super-extreme winds, and blown off the deck of your air-ship.

     

    Within 5 minutes of parking the dirigible, some climate scientist would produce a research report attributing the atmospheric conditions to AGW and man-caused pollution.

    Replies: @songbird

    Finding life would probably mean that there would be eco-terrorists blowing up rockets – rockets with people in them.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
    @songbird

    You'd think. But if the eco-terrorists are overlooking things to the point where they aren't blowing up Musk's and Bezos' 5G launches that go off two a week each with the goal of orbiting tens of thousands of satellites, what's a very few manned launches going up to them? Two realms, but the same, populating where we oughtn't. You'd thing the eco-freaks would be raising hell about the more immediate situation, all these satellites.

    BTW, security is pretty tight in the launchpad realm.

    Replies: @songbird

  67. @In Catilinam
    Venus has no magnetic field. The solar wind hits the atmosphere directly and almost all of its hydrogen has been thrown into space.

    There is virtually no hydrogen. Without hydrogen there can't be water, proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, nucleotides, RNA, DNA.

    There is no life on Venus, period.

    Replies: @Spisarevski

    There is virtually no hydrogen. Without hydrogen there can’t be water, proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, nucleotides, RNA, DNA.

    In the phosphine gas formula (PH3), guess what the H stands for..

    The clouds on Venus are made of sulfuric acid, which gives you water when dissociated.

    I would agree that much more hydrogen is needed if we were talking about creating Earth-like oceans for complete terraforming – in that case hydrogen will have to be transported from the gas giants or from the Sun, and since transporting it requires about as much energy as spinning the planet to have a 24 hour day (which may also boost its magnetic field) the hydrogen pods can be crashed near the equator at the correct angle to impart maximum spin.

    • Replies: @In Catilinam
    @Spisarevski

    I'm still very skeptical about the possibility of life on Venus. How do you get all reactions needed to produce biological compounds to work with so little hydrogen? Almost all molecules in biological matter have hydrogen.

    Plus... the CO2 ==> COH chemical transformation requires energy and catalysts. On Earth this is produced by photosynthesis... how is this going to happen inside clouds of sulphuric acid?

    I'm not really into chemistry... but maybe there is some non-biological mechanism (unknown to the authors of the paper) to produce phosphines from existing chemical compounds on Venus.

  68. @mal
    @anonymous coward


    1000 years or 1000000, what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?
     
    There is no such thing as "organic waste". All "organic waste" is food for somebody else. You eat and drink and breathe "organic waste". From the universal perspective, organic waste is more valuable than all the gold in the world - there's literally an infinite amount of gold in the universe, but only a very small, limited amount of your shit, and that creates bottlenecks.

    The one goal of life, the only goal that matters, is taking excess energy and using it to reduce entropy in the system. Nothing else matters. You, as an "organic waste" construct, has been created for this only purpose, and so has every other living thing. Those who refuse this process are eliminated and become food for others who carry on.

    If humanity is to matter at all, we must take this process as far and wide as we possibly can, and do so as soon as possible.

    Replies: @Polemos, @adreadline

    The one goal of life, the only goal that matters, is taking excess energy and using it to reduce entropy in the system. Nothing else matters.

    Do you find that this is a different point altogether from the one anonymous coward was making in asking “what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?”

    I mean, consider your last statement: “If humanity is to matter at all, we must take this process as far and wide as we possibly can, and do so as soon as possible.”

    What does ‘matter at all’ mean if you’ve already said that the goal of life, the only goal that matters, is to take excess energy and use it to reduce entropy? Why spread “as far and wide as we possibly can?” Couldn’t we just stack wood into symmetric piles in our backyards and thus reduce entropy, and would this be less a reduction of entropy than if we gathered together into spaceships or space-faring arcologies?

    Why send humans? Why not send out rocks coated with tardigrades or Kineococcus radiotolerans — forms of life much more tolerating than fragile, resource-intensive space-traveling humans?

    Or does it matter how it matters? Does it matter how the reduction takes place, where we define the system?

    • Replies: @mal
    @Polemos


    Why spread “as far and wide as we possibly can?”
     
    Because there are other sources of excess energy out there. (Other stars for example). It is life's imperative to utilize them to the greatest extent possible, similar to how life utilizes energy from the Sun.

    Couldn’t we just stack wood into symmetric piles in our backyards and thus reduce entropy, and would this be less a reduction of entropy than if we gathered together into spaceships or space-faring arcologies?
     
    If stacking wood into symmetric piles leads to reproductive success, we must by all means do so. I mean, we stack lipids into a bilayer for that reason, if the result is the same, why not wood? If we organized fertility rituals around stacking wood, it would serve the same purpose and would be all good. In the longer run, those stacks of wood would get destroyed though, so you would want to have a space program so that you can stack wood in many locations and thus preserve your capacity to stack wood should misfortune befall any particular location.

    Why send humans? Why not send out rocks coated with tardigrades or Kineococcus radiotolerans — forms of life much more tolerating than fragile, resource-intensive space-traveling humans?
     

    Yes, directed panspermia is also a very good idea, and should be done. Maybe that's how life even got started on Earth, who knows. As I recall, Israelis already crashed a spacecraft full of tardigrades on the Moon, though they are unlikely to accomplish much there. Also, to terraform Mars or whatever, we will need to send in bacteria, just like bacteria terraformed planet Earth to make it livable (Earth wasn't Earthlike). Humans should go to space after robots make physical habitats and bacteria/plants make organic habitats. You are asking very good questions.

    Or does it matter how it matters? Does it matter how the reduction takes place, where we define the system?
     

    Well, from the perspective of life, even a bacteria might be able to do the job (if panspermia is correct, and considering how we find early evidence of life on Earth dating to almost planet formation, it looks more and more likely). However, bacteria spores traveling between planets and stars is not very efficient and its time consuming. This is where humans can come in. While evolution can create vast array of advanced technology given sufficient environmental pressures and incentives, and time, space travel (unlike atmospheric flight) has not been in focus. So space program could fill this ecological niche.

    In the very long run, a billion years or so, it will be human duty to preserve Earth's biodiversity when the Sun starts expansion. Humans won't survive long by themselves in test tubes aka spaceships without planetary life support. It won't be just about human reproduction challenges in space - how do you keep something like hippopotamus running around and breeding on a space platform?

    We will need to recreate Earth's biomes on orbital stations, or lose it all. While we have a couple billion years, the scope of the project required is beyond daunting. It will require massive amount of genetic engineering and DNA libraries to get done.

    Replies: @Polemos, @Spisarevski

  69. @Spisarevski
    @In Catilinam


    There is virtually no hydrogen. Without hydrogen there can’t be water, proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, nucleotides, RNA, DNA.
     
    In the phosphine gas formula (PH3), guess what the H stands for..

    The clouds on Venus are made of sulfuric acid, which gives you water when dissociated.

    I would agree that much more hydrogen is needed if we were talking about creating Earth-like oceans for complete terraforming - in that case hydrogen will have to be transported from the gas giants or from the Sun, and since transporting it requires about as much energy as spinning the planet to have a 24 hour day (which may also boost its magnetic field) the hydrogen pods can be crashed near the equator at the correct angle to impart maximum spin.

    Replies: @In Catilinam

    I’m still very skeptical about the possibility of life on Venus. How do you get all reactions needed to produce biological compounds to work with so little hydrogen? Almost all molecules in biological matter have hydrogen.

    Plus… the CO2 ==> COH chemical transformation requires energy and catalysts. On Earth this is produced by photosynthesis… how is this going to happen inside clouds of sulphuric acid?

    I’m not really into chemistry… but maybe there is some non-biological mechanism (unknown to the authors of the paper) to produce phosphines from existing chemical compounds on Venus.

  70. @nokangaroos
    @songbird

    I see. The critters developed on the surface when it was habitable and when it turned into a runaway greenhouse they "ascended" and are now floating above the sulfuric acid clouds. And playing the venereal harp. What do they eat? Oh, they do not have to. And aren´t there bacteria who eat electrons?

    OK, sorry ;)

    The late Prof. Heinrich K. Erben, paleontologist and philosopher of science, had some rather unkind words (there might be minors reading this) for the "thinkable" crowd who use terms like "carbaquist" or "life as we know it" (as noted, almost always astrophysicists; they probably think it gets them the gurrlz. Not that down-to-earth scientists are overrun with groupies :P ).
    As usual it is not that simple:
    - There is no way around carbon and water; no other combination of elements provides (IV)valence, good solubilities and low activation energies.
    - Concentration; there is no "dilute" life - rules out the atmosphere (nothing "lives" or reproduces in the atmosphere, these are just "transport" forms)
    - Individuation/Delimitation; an oft-overlooked factor, same as above (of interest to the open borders crowd, there can be no life without it)
    - Energy source, chemical or radiation; good in the atmosphere, but usually too much to maintain a quasistationary disequilibrium ("life")
    - If all that and the numerous geological and astrophysical constraints (size and composition of planet, distance and nature of star etc.) are still not enough and you want it "intelligent", Erben pointed out at least 26 bifurcation points for the only life as we know it.
    (Note these are not a posteriori, they COULD NOT have happened otherwise)

    Need I add Erben was a radical sceptic? :D

    Replies: @songbird, @reiner Tor

    Well, I’m just playing devil’s advocate. I’m skeptical myself, but for food there are two possibilities – solar radiation and volcanic upspew. There is some small evidence to suggest Venus is still volcanically active, and it certainly has plenty of carbon on it, in a form many organisms on earth use as food, and perhaps, only very little water vapor, but not zero.

    Who says they need to be above the clouds of sulfuric acid? To make a crude and perhaps not very scientific analogy, there are extremophiles that eat sulfur and piss out sulfuric acid.

    As to staying up there, the important takeaways from our shallow knowledge of microscopic organisms in the Earth’s atmosphere are that they can get up high and travel thousands of miles. It just adds to the imagination, rather than acts as a proof of concept. But it is probably easier to stay up in a denser atmosphere.

    • Agree: Polemos, mal
  71. Some suggestions from XKCD on how to frame the discussion.

    PEACE 😇
    _______

    https://xkcd.com/2359/
    .

    • Agree: mal
  72. I too think that the Great Filter is the barrier between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Life.

    Life forms such as Prokaryotes like Bacteria, Archea and simple Viruses are virtually inevitable given the basic energy requirements and conditions for chemical replication are relatively modest. Nick Lane’s “A Vital Question” looks ar the thermodynamics and fundamentals of biochemistry to posit how prokaryotes arose.

    Using the same tools, Lane claims that Eukaryotes – which make up all complex life – are hardly inevitable and indeed incredibly difficult to create. What makes Lane’s analysis compelling is that unlike many luminaries who opine on the subject, he is not a physicist or AI researcher or mathematician – most of whom make no distinction between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes and seem to regard them as a continuum, and so are supremely unqualified to hypothesize the existence of various life forms – but a biochemist.

    Lane points out that while Prokaryotes arose relatively quickly after the Earth formed, and despite an estimated billion year head start over Eukaryotes have never succeeded in forming morphologically complex life forms over 4 billion years that the Eukaryotes did. Thus while Bacteria, for example, are metabolically more complex than Eukaryotes – as a Kingdom they can metabolize almost any chemical to survive while Eukaryotes cannot – they have not even evolved into a fungus or simple plant let alone animals and consciously intelligent beings.

    Thus the lack of prokaryote-like life in other planets would be surprising as would be the presence of Eukaryotic-like life. It would not be totally surprising then to find bacteria/Archean like life in Venusian clouds, while finding even something as complex as a fungus would be shocking and crossing the Great Filter.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    @Ludwig

    Eukaryotic cell clearly emerged as a symbiosis of aerobic bacteria (now our mitochondria) and anaerobic archebacteria (now our cell), and then developed additional internal membranous compartments (lysosomes, Golgi, endosomes, etc.). Mitochondria have typical bacterial circular genome, although much smaller than free-living bacteria. Mitochondria to this day have two surrounding membranes, like an engulfed bacteria would have. What’s more, mitochondria have bacterial small and fast ribosomes (protein-making organelles), whereas the rest of our cell uses clunky slow archeal ribosomes, even though most proteins that make mitochondrial ribosomes are encoded by nuclear genes, made in the cytoplasm, and then imported into mitochondria. This difference in ribosomes (why use slow inefficient ones when you have fast and efficient?) kills intelligent design theories better than anything.

    Yes, emergence of eukaryotes can only happen after prokaryotic life emerged, but this is hardly the Great Filter. I’d say the Great Filter (the lowest probability event) is the emergence of protein coding mechanisms: encoding of proteins in DNA, which is then copied into messenger RNA, which is then read by ribosomes “translating” (this is the biological term) nucleic acid sequence into protein sequence. It is clear that this event happened on Earth only once: that is why all life forms, viral, pro- and eukaryotic, have exactly the same genetic code.

    Replies: @Ano4, @Ludwig

  73. @Polemos
    @mal


    The one goal of life, the only goal that matters, is taking excess energy and using it to reduce entropy in the system. Nothing else matters.
     
    Do you find that this is a different point altogether from the one anonymous coward was making in asking "what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?"

    I mean, consider your last statement: "If humanity is to matter at all, we must take this process as far and wide as we possibly can, and do so as soon as possible."

    What does 'matter at all' mean if you've already said that the goal of life, the only goal that matters, is to take excess energy and use it to reduce entropy? Why spread "as far and wide as we possibly can?" Couldn't we just stack wood into symmetric piles in our backyards and thus reduce entropy, and would this be less a reduction of entropy than if we gathered together into spaceships or space-faring arcologies?

    Why send humans? Why not send out rocks coated with tardigrades or Kineococcus radiotolerans — forms of life much more tolerating than fragile, resource-intensive space-traveling humans?

    Or does it matter how it matters? Does it matter how the reduction takes place, where we define the system?

    Replies: @mal

    Why spread “as far and wide as we possibly can?”

    Because there are other sources of excess energy out there. (Other stars for example). It is life’s imperative to utilize them to the greatest extent possible, similar to how life utilizes energy from the Sun.

    Couldn’t we just stack wood into symmetric piles in our backyards and thus reduce entropy, and would this be less a reduction of entropy than if we gathered together into spaceships or space-faring arcologies?

    If stacking wood into symmetric piles leads to reproductive success, we must by all means do so. I mean, we stack lipids into a bilayer for that reason, if the result is the same, why not wood? If we organized fertility rituals around stacking wood, it would serve the same purpose and would be all good. In the longer run, those stacks of wood would get destroyed though, so you would want to have a space program so that you can stack wood in many locations and thus preserve your capacity to stack wood should misfortune befall any particular location.

    Why send humans? Why not send out rocks coated with tardigrades or Kineococcus radiotolerans — forms of life much more tolerating than fragile, resource-intensive space-traveling humans?

    Yes, directed panspermia is also a very good idea, and should be done. Maybe that’s how life even got started on Earth, who knows. As I recall, Israelis already crashed a spacecraft full of tardigrades on the Moon, though they are unlikely to accomplish much there. Also, to terraform Mars or whatever, we will need to send in bacteria, just like bacteria terraformed planet Earth to make it livable (Earth wasn’t Earthlike). Humans should go to space after robots make physical habitats and bacteria/plants make organic habitats. You are asking very good questions.

    Or does it matter how it matters? Does it matter how the reduction takes place, where we define the system?

    Well, from the perspective of life, even a bacteria might be able to do the job (if panspermia is correct, and considering how we find early evidence of life on Earth dating to almost planet formation, it looks more and more likely). However, bacteria spores traveling between planets and stars is not very efficient and its time consuming. This is where humans can come in. While evolution can create vast array of advanced technology given sufficient environmental pressures and incentives, and time, space travel (unlike atmospheric flight) has not been in focus. So space program could fill this ecological niche.

    In the very long run, a billion years or so, it will be human duty to preserve Earth’s biodiversity when the Sun starts expansion. Humans won’t survive long by themselves in test tubes aka spaceships without planetary life support. It won’t be just about human reproduction challenges in space – how do you keep something like hippopotamus running around and breeding on a space platform?

    We will need to recreate Earth’s biomes on orbital stations, or lose it all. While we have a couple billion years, the scope of the project required is beyond daunting. It will require massive amount of genetic engineering and DNA libraries to get done.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Thanks: Polemos
    • Replies: @Polemos
    @mal

    So if the human uses bacterial help and machine help and even animal help to work all together as One for the project of replicating the form (you mention those whole replicated ecosystems of so many, many smaller forms for raw materials to take) this system took, takes and will take anew across a universe it can occupy and convert into more of the system, then humans are already just like the other helpers to the One encompassing all things into itself, right?

    We are in between the devas and the machine spirits, once again, a great chain of being in becoming.

    I don't know if it's your intention, but the answer reminds me of Schopenhauer, of the Will, and how he thinks of Love as distinct from reproducing. Do you think your position is incompatible with one claiming all is guided by a karmic and benevolent but still self-interested Being whose manifestation within consciousness requires creating itself through any means for generating one, whether biology or magnetic plasmas, whether plant or animal or geometry?

    Or maybe that question is too confusing. I'm trying to be economic on a small screen with a small mind, but I appreciate your thinking very much.

    Replies: @mal

    , @Spisarevski
    @mal


    Humans won’t survive long by themselves in test tubes aka spaceships without planetary life support. It won’t be just about human reproduction challenges in space – how do you keep something like hippopotamus running around and breeding on a space platform?
     
    Easily. O'Neill cylinders or larger similar structures.

    If Earth is destroyed for raw material, it can be used to create enough O'Neill cylinders for at least 4 million times Earth's living space.

    Of course it should not be destroyed, but planets are kind of pointless in general and most of the matter in the Solar system is in the Sun itself in the first place, and can be extracted via starlifting.

    My point is that there is no shortage of raw material in the solar system alone to build space habitats for trillions of hippos and humans if we wanted to.
  74. @mal
    @anonymous coward


    1000 years or 1000000, what difference does it make if your only goal in life is to turn as much raw material into organic waste as possible?
     
    There is no such thing as "organic waste". All "organic waste" is food for somebody else. You eat and drink and breathe "organic waste". From the universal perspective, organic waste is more valuable than all the gold in the world - there's literally an infinite amount of gold in the universe, but only a very small, limited amount of your shit, and that creates bottlenecks.

    The one goal of life, the only goal that matters, is taking excess energy and using it to reduce entropy in the system. Nothing else matters. You, as an "organic waste" construct, has been created for this only purpose, and so has every other living thing. Those who refuse this process are eliminated and become food for others who carry on.

    If humanity is to matter at all, we must take this process as far and wide as we possibly can, and do so as soon as possible.

    Replies: @Polemos, @adreadline

    there’s literally an infinite amount of gold in the universe

    No, there is not.

    You, as an “organic waste” construct, has been created for this only purpose, and so has every other living thing. Those who refuse this process are eliminated and become food for others who carry on.

    Anthropomorphizing nature galore. I guess Archaea just refuse to become Eukaryota and mosquitos were created with the purpose of reducing their entropy. Intelligent design on steroids.

    • Thanks: nokangaroos
    • Replies: @mal
    @adreadline


    No, there is not.
     
    Well, considering that universe is potentially infinite, infinite gold is also a possibility. Either way, there's far more gold in the universe than humanity knows what to do with. If you don't like "infinite", substitute "absurdly large amounts of gold".

    Anthropomorphizing nature galore. I guess Archaea just refuse to become Eukaryota and mosquitos were created with the purpose of reducing their entropy. Intelligent design on steroids.
     
    I wouldn't call it "anthropomorphizing nature", i'd say it more like "naturalizing humans". Humans are subject to evolutionary pressure just like all critters. Humans have been constructed from the same biowaste as vast majority of other species, and human genetic lines will go on as long as humans choose to reproduce, and will stop when reproductive process stops. Similar to other organisms, no intelligent designer necessary. Archaea and mosquitoes evolved to occupy their respective ecological niche. If the world blew up and resulting environmental conditions became such that only archaea and mosquitoes could survive, they would become genetic "lottery winners" and would continue to work on minimizing entropy while rest of the critters would be increasing entropy with their bodies decaying in the ditch.

    Replies: @anonymous coward

  75. @adreadline
    @mal


    there’s literally an infinite amount of gold in the universe
     
    No, there is not.

    You, as an “organic waste” construct, has been created for this only purpose, and so has every other living thing. Those who refuse this process are eliminated and become food for others who carry on.
     
    Anthropomorphizing nature galore. I guess Archaea just refuse to become Eukaryota and mosquitos were created with the purpose of reducing their entropy. Intelligent design on steroids.

    Replies: @mal

    No, there is not.

    Well, considering that universe is potentially infinite, infinite gold is also a possibility. Either way, there’s far more gold in the universe than humanity knows what to do with. If you don’t like “infinite”, substitute “absurdly large amounts of gold”.

    Anthropomorphizing nature galore. I guess Archaea just refuse to become Eukaryota and mosquitos were created with the purpose of reducing their entropy. Intelligent design on steroids.

    I wouldn’t call it “anthropomorphizing nature”, i’d say it more like “naturalizing humans”. Humans are subject to evolutionary pressure just like all critters. Humans have been constructed from the same biowaste as vast majority of other species, and human genetic lines will go on as long as humans choose to reproduce, and will stop when reproductive process stops. Similar to other organisms, no intelligent designer necessary. Archaea and mosquitoes evolved to occupy their respective ecological niche. If the world blew up and resulting environmental conditions became such that only archaea and mosquitoes could survive, they would become genetic “lottery winners” and would continue to work on minimizing entropy while rest of the critters would be increasing entropy with their bodies decaying in the ditch.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    @mal


    Well, considering that universe is potentially infinite, infinite gold is also a possibility.
     
    The visible universe is not 'infinite'. In fact it is very tiny, comparatively speaking.

    If you don’t like “infinite”, substitute “absurdly large amounts of gold”.
     
    'Absurdly large' is infinitely smaller than 'infinity'.

    P.S. Math is the new literacy. If people had a better grasp of math they wouldn't be writing silly nonsense like you do.

    Replies: @Spisarevski

  76. @Ludwig
    I too think that the Great Filter is the barrier between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Life.

    Life forms such as Prokaryotes like Bacteria, Archea and simple Viruses are virtually inevitable given the basic energy requirements and conditions for chemical replication are relatively modest. Nick Lane’s “A Vital Question” looks ar the thermodynamics and fundamentals of biochemistry to posit how prokaryotes arose.

    Using the same tools, Lane claims that Eukaryotes - which make up all complex life - are hardly inevitable and indeed incredibly difficult to create. What makes Lane’s analysis compelling is that unlike many luminaries who opine on the subject, he is not a physicist or AI researcher or mathematician - most of whom make no distinction between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes and seem to regard them as a continuum, and so are supremely unqualified to hypothesize the existence of various life forms - but a biochemist.

    Lane points out that while Prokaryotes arose relatively quickly after the Earth formed, and despite an estimated billion year head start over Eukaryotes have never succeeded in forming morphologically complex life forms over 4 billion years that the Eukaryotes did. Thus while Bacteria, for example, are metabolically more complex than Eukaryotes - as a Kingdom they can metabolize almost any chemical to survive while Eukaryotes cannot - they have not even evolved into a fungus or simple plant let alone animals and consciously intelligent beings.

    Thus the lack of prokaryote-like life in other planets would be surprising as would be the presence of Eukaryotic-like life. It would not be totally surprising then to find bacteria/Archean like life in Venusian clouds, while finding even something as complex as a fungus would be shocking and crossing the Great Filter.

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

    Eukaryotic cell clearly emerged as a symbiosis of aerobic bacteria (now our mitochondria) and anaerobic archebacteria (now our cell), and then developed additional internal membranous compartments (lysosomes, Golgi, endosomes, etc.). Mitochondria have typical bacterial circular genome, although much smaller than free-living bacteria. Mitochondria to this day have two surrounding membranes, like an engulfed bacteria would have. What’s more, mitochondria have bacterial small and fast ribosomes (protein-making organelles), whereas the rest of our cell uses clunky slow archeal ribosomes, even though most proteins that make mitochondrial ribosomes are encoded by nuclear genes, made in the cytoplasm, and then imported into mitochondria. This difference in ribosomes (why use slow inefficient ones when you have fast and efficient?) kills intelligent design theories better than anything.

    Yes, emergence of eukaryotes can only happen after prokaryotic life emerged, but this is hardly the Great Filter. I’d say the Great Filter (the lowest probability event) is the emergence of protein coding mechanisms: encoding of proteins in DNA, which is then copied into messenger RNA, which is then read by ribosomes “translating” (this is the biological term) nucleic acid sequence into protein sequence. It is clear that this event happened on Earth only once: that is why all life forms, viral, pro- and eukaryotic, have exactly the same genetic code.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    @AnonFromTN

    RNA might have appeared before DNA (rybozymes are autocatalytic sometimes).

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26876/

    Also the eukaryotic nucleus might be a giant viral remnant integrated into a (proto)archeae cell just like mitochondria and chloroplasts have been captured/integrated.

    Some biologists actually think that virii appeared first. That would be after the autocatalytic ribozymes.

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2019.00523/full

    Giant viruses carry their own ribosomes and can be infected by smaller virophages.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128096338209242

    Anyway, that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I mean in the case of panspermia the planetary disc might have been carrying the molecules needed for the formation of living organisms before even the formation of the planet Earth.

    https://phys.org/news/2012-03-compounds-proto-planetary-disks.html

    I believe Universe is chock-full with life, although there is probably no more than a few space-faring civilizations per galaxy (multiple extinction filters involved).

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

    , @Ludwig
    @AnonFromTN

    Yes the Eukaryote is a symbiosis of an Archea with the Bacteria, but as Nick Lane posits using various energy calculations and citing the complexity of the symbiosis it’s an extremely low probability event compared to the emergence of Bacteria/Archea.

    The storing of information as DNA possibly occurred in stages starting with information first stored in RNA (but which is far more fragile) and then eventually in the more robust DNA thus leading to the evolution of the transcription from DNA onto mRNA to translation to Amino Acids and protein synthesis.

    Prior to reading Lane, I too thought that the storage and replication of information via R/DNA was the ultimate barrier in creating Life. Lane argues - in the Vital Question - that this focus on information storage and reproduction as key for Life has left out the focus on Energy production specifically in the creation of the ATP Synthase proton gradient mechanism. His thesis in brief is that to manufacture prokaryotic life given the right chemical environments (Eg undersea vents) and gradients with a proton pump as an energy source is reasonably probable including the ability of to store and transfer information via some mechanism like the RNA and the DNA.

    He argues that the redox mechanisms needed to power a Eukaryotic cell is not a simple evolutionary step. Lane argues through a series of technical arguments that it was a highly improbable step that only occurred once. The step to morphologically complex life - not necessarily intelligent, sentient life - once the basic cellular machinery of a Eukaryotic cell evolved is virtually assured (a point made by de Vuve in “Life Evolving” for example) or at the least not improbable.

    At any rate, I came away convinced of Lane’s arguments starting with the simple observation that despite almost 4 billion years of Bacterial and Archean existence, neither evolved morphologically complexity while only Eukaryotes did. (He does away with older arguments that competing in a niche pointing out that all three can exist in the same niche).

    If Lane is right, Prokaryotic-like life would be relatively common in the Universe, but Eukaryotic-like life would be most uncommon, let alone the evolution of multicellular sentient life capable of pondering all this.

    Replies: @Ludwig, @AnonFromTN

  77. …the Venusian surface.

    Venusian sounds lame. Someone named “Anatoly” should know that the traditional adjectival form is Venerian. Cf. Jovian, rather than Jupiterian, Martian, not Marsan.

    Let’s revive White Russian, while we’re at it. And bury Czechia for good. It’s Polish-Latin, neither Czech nor English.

    • Replies: @A123
    @Reg Cæsar


    the traditional adjectival form is Venerian.
     
    While technically accurate, that term is highly unfortunate as a predicate to low humor.

    Venarian is waaaayyyy too close to Venereal. Add the term Disease and the bottom falls out of the internet.

    Here is a relatively clean leading indicator:

    https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/phosphine


    Venusian sounds lame.
     
    It also sounds much less likely to be abused.

    PEACE 😇

  78. Also in somewhat related space news: Russia started assembling their nuclear space tug aka Transport Energy Module.

    https://german-kmw.livejournal.com/112316.html

    That is very good news and a very important step in nuclear electric propulsion and large scale space power management.

    Ultimately, i would like to see high capacity (100 MW+) nuclear reactors with hydrogen propellant as the working body. If high thrust is needed (think planetary takeoff), dump the hydrogen into the reactor and use it as in nuclear thermal rocket for about 800 seconds ISP. If high efficiency is needed (think interplanetary flight), ionize it and shoot protons with ~8,000 seconds ISP. Nuclear reactor provides heat in the first case, and electricity in the second case.

    Material science needs to come up with temperature resistant ceramics (like that hafnium carbonitride) that can take the heat and also electrodes that won’t evaporate with high current loads. Also, cooling systems must be able to radiate the heat away.

    Anyway, this nuclear TEM tug is ideal for Venus orbital mission.

    • Thanks: Ano4
    • Replies: @Ano4
    @mal


    Anyway, this nuclear TEM tug is ideal for Venus orbital mission.

     

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/09/15/venus-is-a-russian-planet-roscosmos-chief-says-a71451
  79. @AnonFromTN
    @Ludwig

    Eukaryotic cell clearly emerged as a symbiosis of aerobic bacteria (now our mitochondria) and anaerobic archebacteria (now our cell), and then developed additional internal membranous compartments (lysosomes, Golgi, endosomes, etc.). Mitochondria have typical bacterial circular genome, although much smaller than free-living bacteria. Mitochondria to this day have two surrounding membranes, like an engulfed bacteria would have. What’s more, mitochondria have bacterial small and fast ribosomes (protein-making organelles), whereas the rest of our cell uses clunky slow archeal ribosomes, even though most proteins that make mitochondrial ribosomes are encoded by nuclear genes, made in the cytoplasm, and then imported into mitochondria. This difference in ribosomes (why use slow inefficient ones when you have fast and efficient?) kills intelligent design theories better than anything.

    Yes, emergence of eukaryotes can only happen after prokaryotic life emerged, but this is hardly the Great Filter. I’d say the Great Filter (the lowest probability event) is the emergence of protein coding mechanisms: encoding of proteins in DNA, which is then copied into messenger RNA, which is then read by ribosomes “translating” (this is the biological term) nucleic acid sequence into protein sequence. It is clear that this event happened on Earth only once: that is why all life forms, viral, pro- and eukaryotic, have exactly the same genetic code.

    Replies: @Ano4, @Ludwig

    RNA might have appeared before DNA (rybozymes are autocatalytic sometimes).

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26876/

    Also the eukaryotic nucleus might be a giant viral remnant integrated into a (proto)archeae cell just like mitochondria and chloroplasts have been captured/integrated.

    Some biologists actually think that virii appeared first. That would be after the autocatalytic ribozymes.

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2019.00523/full

    Giant viruses carry their own ribosomes and can be infected by smaller virophages.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128096338209242

    Anyway, that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I mean in the case of panspermia the planetary disc might have been carrying the molecules needed for the formation of living organisms before even the formation of the planet Earth.

    https://phys.org/news/2012-03-compounds-proto-planetary-disks.html

    I believe Universe is chock-full with life, although there is probably no more than a few space-faring civilizations per galaxy (multiple extinction filters involved).

    • Agree: mal
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    @Ano4


    Also the eukaryotic nucleus might be a giant viral remnant integrated into a (proto)archeae cell
     
    Quite possible. Nucleus also has double membrane, like something engulfed.

    Large viruses carry big and slow archebacterial ribosomes, like eukaryotic cytoplasm, not fast bacterial ones. Likely their genes were borrowed from eukaryotes and/or archebacteria.

    Actually, if the life exists on Venus or Mars and has the same genetic code as life on Earth, it might have been seeded from terrestrial life. But is we ever get to other star systems and discover life with the same genetic code, that would be proof positive for panspermia. However, panspermia has the same problem as religions: one begs the question where all these seeds originated, the others beg the question where did god(s) come from, how they emerged.

    there is probably no more than a few space-faring civilizations per galaxy (multiple extinction filters involved).
     
    Yep, we are witnessing one of those extinction filters. I won’t bet a lot of money on humanity survival. Then again, if we start WWIII, intelligent life would reemerge from survivors, humans, monkeys, or other mammals: after all, it took mammals only 60 million years to evolve from rodent-like creatures to apes, and rodents are remarkably resistant to radiation.

    Replies: @Ano4, @anonymous coward

  80. @mal
    Also in somewhat related space news: Russia started assembling their nuclear space tug aka Transport Energy Module.

    https://german-kmw.livejournal.com/112316.html

    That is very good news and a very important step in nuclear electric propulsion and large scale space power management.

    Ultimately, i would like to see high capacity (100 MW+) nuclear reactors with hydrogen propellant as the working body. If high thrust is needed (think planetary takeoff), dump the hydrogen into the reactor and use it as in nuclear thermal rocket for about 800 seconds ISP. If high efficiency is needed (think interplanetary flight), ionize it and shoot protons with ~8,000 seconds ISP. Nuclear reactor provides heat in the first case, and electricity in the second case.

    Material science needs to come up with temperature resistant ceramics (like that hafnium carbonitride) that can take the heat and also electrodes that won't evaporate with high current loads. Also, cooling systems must be able to radiate the heat away.

    Anyway, this nuclear TEM tug is ideal for Venus orbital mission.

    Replies: @Ano4

    Anyway, this nuclear TEM tug is ideal for Venus orbital mission.

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/09/15/venus-is-a-russian-planet-roscosmos-chief-says-a71451

    • Agree: mal
  81. @mal
    @Polemos


    Why spread “as far and wide as we possibly can?”
     
    Because there are other sources of excess energy out there. (Other stars for example). It is life's imperative to utilize them to the greatest extent possible, similar to how life utilizes energy from the Sun.

    Couldn’t we just stack wood into symmetric piles in our backyards and thus reduce entropy, and would this be less a reduction of entropy than if we gathered together into spaceships or space-faring arcologies?
     
    If stacking wood into symmetric piles leads to reproductive success, we must by all means do so. I mean, we stack lipids into a bilayer for that reason, if the result is the same, why not wood? If we organized fertility rituals around stacking wood, it would serve the same purpose and would be all good. In the longer run, those stacks of wood would get destroyed though, so you would want to have a space program so that you can stack wood in many locations and thus preserve your capacity to stack wood should misfortune befall any particular location.

    Why send humans? Why not send out rocks coated with tardigrades or Kineococcus radiotolerans — forms of life much more tolerating than fragile, resource-intensive space-traveling humans?
     

    Yes, directed panspermia is also a very good idea, and should be done. Maybe that's how life even got started on Earth, who knows. As I recall, Israelis already crashed a spacecraft full of tardigrades on the Moon, though they are unlikely to accomplish much there. Also, to terraform Mars or whatever, we will need to send in bacteria, just like bacteria terraformed planet Earth to make it livable (Earth wasn't Earthlike). Humans should go to space after robots make physical habitats and bacteria/plants make organic habitats. You are asking very good questions.

    Or does it matter how it matters? Does it matter how the reduction takes place, where we define the system?
     

    Well, from the perspective of life, even a bacteria might be able to do the job (if panspermia is correct, and considering how we find early evidence of life on Earth dating to almost planet formation, it looks more and more likely). However, bacteria spores traveling between planets and stars is not very efficient and its time consuming. This is where humans can come in. While evolution can create vast array of advanced technology given sufficient environmental pressures and incentives, and time, space travel (unlike atmospheric flight) has not been in focus. So space program could fill this ecological niche.

    In the very long run, a billion years or so, it will be human duty to preserve Earth's biodiversity when the Sun starts expansion. Humans won't survive long by themselves in test tubes aka spaceships without planetary life support. It won't be just about human reproduction challenges in space - how do you keep something like hippopotamus running around and breeding on a space platform?

    We will need to recreate Earth's biomes on orbital stations, or lose it all. While we have a couple billion years, the scope of the project required is beyond daunting. It will require massive amount of genetic engineering and DNA libraries to get done.

    Replies: @Polemos, @Spisarevski

    So if the human uses bacterial help and machine help and even animal help to work all together as One for the project of replicating the form (you mention those whole replicated ecosystems of so many, many smaller forms for raw materials to take) this system took, takes and will take anew across a universe it can occupy and convert into more of the system, then humans are already just like the other helpers to the One encompassing all things into itself, right?

    We are in between the devas and the machine spirits, once again, a great chain of being in becoming.

    I don’t know if it’s your intention, but the answer reminds me of Schopenhauer, of the Will, and how he thinks of Love as distinct from reproducing. Do you think your position is incompatible with one claiming all is guided by a karmic and benevolent but still self-interested Being whose manifestation within consciousness requires creating itself through any means for generating one, whether biology or magnetic plasmas, whether plant or animal or geometry?

    Or maybe that question is too confusing. I’m trying to be economic on a small screen with a small mind, but I appreciate your thinking very much.

    • Thanks: mal
    • Replies: @mal
    @Polemos


    So if the human uses bacterial help and machine help and even animal help to work all together as One for the project of replicating the form (you mention those whole replicated ecosystems of so many, many smaller forms for raw materials to take) this system took, takes and will take anew across a universe it can occupy and convert into more of the system, then humans are already just like the other helpers to the One encompassing all things into itself, right?
     
    That's correct. We are all relatives here, coming from LUCA, Last Universal Common Ancestor, billions of years ago. Our grandad/grandma. Life as we see it today is an adaptation to various environments of that specific genetic profile, it was adapting as it was encountering different stuff on Earth. Humans are a part of that adaptive response. In that sense, everybody alive is really 4 billion years old (at least), but can you imagine a birthday cake with 4 billion candles? It will be a tough sell to people.

    I don’t know if it’s your intention, but the answer reminds me of Schopenhauer, of the Will, and how he thinks of Love as distinct from reproducing. Do you think your position is incompatible with one claiming all is guided by a karmic and benevolent but still self-interested Being whose manifestation within consciousness requires creating itself through any means for generating one, whether biology or magnetic plasmas, whether plant or animal or geometry?
     
    Well, life as an anti-entropy device i have heard (and stole from ) Erwin Shrodinger (the famous quantum cat guy). I don't know if he came up with it originally, but it makes the most sense to me. As for things being guided by supreme beings, that's a lot dicier. I can't reject directed panspermia outright, but i don't see too much evidence for it either. I used to be skeptical of the whole panspermia thing entirely, but we keep discovering evidence of life earlier and earlier, at some point it will be like "and 5 minutes before planet even formed there were already bugs on it" so you have to wonder. But i don't see much in a way of direction. Life just bumps into things and each other and tries to eat it. Countless trillions die in the process but survivors carry on the genetic code. It is a self directed process, not a guided one.

    But i guess we will never know unless we meet LUCA in person. If that genetic code still exists unaltered baked into an asteroid somewhere, it will be a meeting of a lifetime.
  82. These SF posts are by far your best. Shows what you are capable of. Your ex-Soviet Union stuff is a distant second, informative and reasonably unbiased, although you have an open preference (that to your credit you don’t try to hide). The HBD stuff is what keeps you an ignored “deplorable”, at least here in the non-dead-ender anglosphere, and I suppose in Moscow young elite society.

  83. @Reg Cæsar

    ...the Venusian surface.
     
    Venusian sounds lame. Someone named "Anatoly" should know that the traditional adjectival form is Venerian. Cf. Jovian, rather than Jupiterian, Martian, not Marsan.

    Let's revive White Russian, while we're at it. And bury Czechia for good. It's Polish-Latin, neither Czech nor English.

    Replies: @A123

    the traditional adjectival form is Venerian.

    While technically accurate, that term is highly unfortunate as a predicate to low humor.

    Venarian is waaaayyyy too close to Venereal. Add the term Disease and the bottom falls out of the internet.

    Here is a relatively clean leading indicator:

    https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/phosphine

    Venusian sounds lame.

    It also sounds much less likely to be abused.

    PEACE 😇

  84. @Ano4
    @AnonFromTN

    RNA might have appeared before DNA (rybozymes are autocatalytic sometimes).

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26876/

    Also the eukaryotic nucleus might be a giant viral remnant integrated into a (proto)archeae cell just like mitochondria and chloroplasts have been captured/integrated.

    Some biologists actually think that virii appeared first. That would be after the autocatalytic ribozymes.

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2019.00523/full

    Giant viruses carry their own ribosomes and can be infected by smaller virophages.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128096338209242

    Anyway, that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I mean in the case of panspermia the planetary disc might have been carrying the molecules needed for the formation of living organisms before even the formation of the planet Earth.

    https://phys.org/news/2012-03-compounds-proto-planetary-disks.html

    I believe Universe is chock-full with life, although there is probably no more than a few space-faring civilizations per galaxy (multiple extinction filters involved).

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

    Also the eukaryotic nucleus might be a giant viral remnant integrated into a (proto)archeae cell

    Quite possible. Nucleus also has double membrane, like something engulfed.

    Large viruses carry big and slow archebacterial ribosomes, like eukaryotic cytoplasm, not fast bacterial ones. Likely their genes were borrowed from eukaryotes and/or archebacteria.

    Actually, if the life exists on Venus or Mars and has the same genetic code as life on Earth, it might have been seeded from terrestrial life. But is we ever get to other star systems and discover life with the same genetic code, that would be proof positive for panspermia. However, panspermia has the same problem as religions: one begs the question where all these seeds originated, the others beg the question where did god(s) come from, how they emerged.

    there is probably no more than a few space-faring civilizations per galaxy (multiple extinction filters involved).

    Yep, we are witnessing one of those extinction filters. I won’t bet a lot of money on humanity survival. Then again, if we start WWIII, intelligent life would reemerge from survivors, humans, monkeys, or other mammals: after all, it took mammals only 60 million years to evolve from rodent-like creatures to apes, and rodents are remarkably resistant to radiation.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    @AnonFromTN


    Yep, we are witnessing one of those extinction filters. I won’t bet a lot of money on humanity survival.
     
    Sadly I have to admit that you are probably right.

    Then again, if we start WWIII, intelligent life would reemerge from survivors, humans, monkeys, or other mammals: after all, it took mammals only 60 million years to evolve from rodent-like creatures to apes, and rodents are remarkably resistant to radiation.
     
    I would bet on raccoons. They are terribly smart although they lack opposable thumbs. Maybe we should try to CRISPR-ize them before it is too late and our technological civilization is washed down the drain? Or maybe not. They are already too smart...

    https://youtu.be/M5JFeTtSS3c

    Replies: @AnonFromTN, @Jim Christian

    , @anonymous coward
    @AnonFromTN


    ...one begs the question where all these seeds originated,
     
    Yes.

    ...the others beg the question where did god(s) come from, how they emerged.

     

    No. God, by definition, is outside of time, and so cannot 'emerge'. You can argue with the axioms, but the logical consequences are sound.

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

  85. @AnonFromTN
    @Ano4


    Also the eukaryotic nucleus might be a giant viral remnant integrated into a (proto)archeae cell
     
    Quite possible. Nucleus also has double membrane, like something engulfed.

    Large viruses carry big and slow archebacterial ribosomes, like eukaryotic cytoplasm, not fast bacterial ones. Likely their genes were borrowed from eukaryotes and/or archebacteria.

    Actually, if the life exists on Venus or Mars and has the same genetic code as life on Earth, it might have been seeded from terrestrial life. But is we ever get to other star systems and discover life with the same genetic code, that would be proof positive for panspermia. However, panspermia has the same problem as religions: one begs the question where all these seeds originated, the others beg the question where did god(s) come from, how they emerged.

    there is probably no more than a few space-faring civilizations per galaxy (multiple extinction filters involved).
     
    Yep, we are witnessing one of those extinction filters. I won’t bet a lot of money on humanity survival. Then again, if we start WWIII, intelligent life would reemerge from survivors, humans, monkeys, or other mammals: after all, it took mammals only 60 million years to evolve from rodent-like creatures to apes, and rodents are remarkably resistant to radiation.

    Replies: @Ano4, @anonymous coward

    Yep, we are witnessing one of those extinction filters. I won’t bet a lot of money on humanity survival.

    Sadly I have to admit that you are probably right.

    Then again, if we start WWIII, intelligent life would reemerge from survivors, humans, monkeys, or other mammals: after all, it took mammals only 60 million years to evolve from rodent-like creatures to apes, and rodents are remarkably resistant to radiation.

    I would bet on raccoons. They are terribly smart although they lack opposable thumbs. Maybe we should try to CRISPR-ize them before it is too late and our technological civilization is washed down the drain? Or maybe not. They are already too smart…

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    @Ano4

    Arguably, monkeys acquired opposable thumbs to better hold onto tree branches (although sloths and koalas manage just fine w/o them). There are many fairly smart mammals of various kinds: most carnivores (say, wolves or bears), dolphins, elephants, even cows and horses with all their relatives. Even if we take all these smarter mammals out with us, rodents would eventually evolve into everything: when the dinosaurs died out, all mammals were small rodent-like omnivorous scavengers, and look at the variety today. Warm blood plus cerebral cortex give mammals a lot of potential.

    , @Jim Christian
    @Ano4


    I would bet on raccoons. They are terribly smart although they lack opposable thumbs.
     
    The coons up here in New England can open latched and bungee-corded outdoor waste food bins, they make off with the watermelon rinds and chicken bones. Curious, no?

    Replies: @Ano4

  86. @Ano4
    @AnonFromTN


    Yep, we are witnessing one of those extinction filters. I won’t bet a lot of money on humanity survival.
     
    Sadly I have to admit that you are probably right.

    Then again, if we start WWIII, intelligent life would reemerge from survivors, humans, monkeys, or other mammals: after all, it took mammals only 60 million years to evolve from rodent-like creatures to apes, and rodents are remarkably resistant to radiation.
     
    I would bet on raccoons. They are terribly smart although they lack opposable thumbs. Maybe we should try to CRISPR-ize them before it is too late and our technological civilization is washed down the drain? Or maybe not. They are already too smart...

    https://youtu.be/M5JFeTtSS3c

    Replies: @AnonFromTN, @Jim Christian

    Arguably, monkeys acquired opposable thumbs to better hold onto tree branches (although sloths and koalas manage just fine w/o them). There are many fairly smart mammals of various kinds: most carnivores (say, wolves or bears), dolphins, elephants, even cows and horses with all their relatives. Even if we take all these smarter mammals out with us, rodents would eventually evolve into everything: when the dinosaurs died out, all mammals were small rodent-like omnivorous scavengers, and look at the variety today. Warm blood plus cerebral cortex give mammals a lot of potential.

    • Agree: Ano4
  87. @AnonFromTN
    @Ludwig

    Eukaryotic cell clearly emerged as a symbiosis of aerobic bacteria (now our mitochondria) and anaerobic archebacteria (now our cell), and then developed additional internal membranous compartments (lysosomes, Golgi, endosomes, etc.). Mitochondria have typical bacterial circular genome, although much smaller than free-living bacteria. Mitochondria to this day have two surrounding membranes, like an engulfed bacteria would have. What’s more, mitochondria have bacterial small and fast ribosomes (protein-making organelles), whereas the rest of our cell uses clunky slow archeal ribosomes, even though most proteins that make mitochondrial ribosomes are encoded by nuclear genes, made in the cytoplasm, and then imported into mitochondria. This difference in ribosomes (why use slow inefficient ones when you have fast and efficient?) kills intelligent design theories better than anything.

    Yes, emergence of eukaryotes can only happen after prokaryotic life emerged, but this is hardly the Great Filter. I’d say the Great Filter (the lowest probability event) is the emergence of protein coding mechanisms: encoding of proteins in DNA, which is then copied into messenger RNA, which is then read by ribosomes “translating” (this is the biological term) nucleic acid sequence into protein sequence. It is clear that this event happened on Earth only once: that is why all life forms, viral, pro- and eukaryotic, have exactly the same genetic code.

    Replies: @Ano4, @Ludwig

    Yes the Eukaryote is a symbiosis of an Archea with the Bacteria, but as Nick Lane posits using various energy calculations and citing the complexity of the symbiosis it’s an extremely low probability event compared to the emergence of Bacteria/Archea.

    The storing of information as DNA possibly occurred in stages starting with information first stored in RNA (but which is far more fragile) and then eventually in the more robust DNA thus leading to the evolution of the transcription from DNA onto mRNA to translation to Amino Acids and protein synthesis.

    Prior to reading Lane, I too thought that the storage and replication of information via R/DNA was the ultimate barrier in creating Life. Lane argues – in the Vital Question – that this focus on information storage and reproduction as key for Life has left out the focus on Energy production specifically in the creation of the ATP Synthase proton gradient mechanism. His thesis in brief is that to manufacture prokaryotic life given the right chemical environments (Eg undersea vents) and gradients with a proton pump as an energy source is reasonably probable including the ability of to store and transfer information via some mechanism like the RNA and the DNA.

    He argues that the redox mechanisms needed to power a Eukaryotic cell is not a simple evolutionary step. Lane argues through a series of technical arguments that it was a highly improbable step that only occurred once. The step to morphologically complex life – not necessarily intelligent, sentient life – once the basic cellular machinery of a Eukaryotic cell evolved is virtually assured (a point made by de Vuve in “Life Evolving” for example) or at the least not improbable.

    At any rate, I came away convinced of Lane’s arguments starting with the simple observation that despite almost 4 billion years of Bacterial and Archean existence, neither evolved morphologically complexity while only Eukaryotes did. (He does away with older arguments that competing in a niche pointing out that all three can exist in the same niche).

    If Lane is right, Prokaryotic-like life would be relatively common in the Universe, but Eukaryotic-like life would be most uncommon, let alone the evolution of multicellular sentient life capable of pondering all this.

    • Replies: @Ludwig
    @Ludwig

    Incidentally what Lane argues is that Bacteria could NOT have formed Complex multicellular life as Eukaryotes did because of energy considerations involved.

    He goes into some detail about how Eukartoyes were able to overcome this with the mitochondria (a former bacteria) supplying energy with the minimum amount of DNA, shipping the rest of the original DNA - but not all! - to the nucleus. The details of how the two DNAs, the mitochondrial and nuclear have to be carefully in synch to be able to produce the protein to build and run the literal mini proton turbines which have to be precise at the Angstrom level - or else the mitochondria and thus the cell - will die is fascinating.

    Replies: @Ano4

    , @AnonFromTN
    @Ludwig

    Considering processes in living things as pure information transfer is grossly inadequate. This is one aspect of it, but not the comprehensive picture: living cells are not computers, they are sophisticated chemical machines.

    The transcription (DNA to RNA) and reverse transcription (RNA to DNA) are both accomplished by a single enzyme, and living things have several families of DNA-dependent RNA polymerases and RNA-dependent DNA polymerases, suggesting that these steps evolved several times independently, which shows that they are not all that low probability events.

    Translation (RNA to protein) involves a lot more complex machinery. First, you need a two-subunit “decoder” machine, ribosome, that contains two specialized ribosomal RNAs and 55 (bacteria) or 79 (archea and eukaryots) different proteins. Second, you need 61 different transfer RNAs (61 is the number of amino acid codons, the remaining 3 out of 64 are stop codons). Third, you need a large set of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases to charge each tRNA with appropriate amino acid. Finally, you need G protein-like initiation, elongation, and termination factors. So, you have a very complex multi-part machinery, where each part is useless w/o others. This complex machinery appeared in evolution only once, as attested by all living things using the same genetic code. So, this is really the lowest probability event in the emergence of life.

    Replies: @AnonFromTN, @Ludwig

  88. @Polemos
    @mal

    So if the human uses bacterial help and machine help and even animal help to work all together as One for the project of replicating the form (you mention those whole replicated ecosystems of so many, many smaller forms for raw materials to take) this system took, takes and will take anew across a universe it can occupy and convert into more of the system, then humans are already just like the other helpers to the One encompassing all things into itself, right?

    We are in between the devas and the machine spirits, once again, a great chain of being in becoming.

    I don't know if it's your intention, but the answer reminds me of Schopenhauer, of the Will, and how he thinks of Love as distinct from reproducing. Do you think your position is incompatible with one claiming all is guided by a karmic and benevolent but still self-interested Being whose manifestation within consciousness requires creating itself through any means for generating one, whether biology or magnetic plasmas, whether plant or animal or geometry?

    Or maybe that question is too confusing. I'm trying to be economic on a small screen with a small mind, but I appreciate your thinking very much.

    Replies: @mal

    So if the human uses bacterial help and machine help and even animal help to work all together as One for the project of replicating the form (you mention those whole replicated ecosystems of so many, many smaller forms for raw materials to take) this system took, takes and will take anew across a universe it can occupy and convert into more of the system, then humans are already just like the other helpers to the One encompassing all things into itself, right?

    That’s correct. We are all relatives here, coming from LUCA, Last Universal Common Ancestor, billions of years ago. Our grandad/grandma. Life as we see it today is an adaptation to various environments of that specific genetic profile, it was adapting as it was encountering different stuff on Earth. Humans are a part of that adaptive response. In that sense, everybody alive is really 4 billion years old (at least), but can you imagine a birthday cake with 4 billion candles? It will be a tough sell to people.

    I don’t know if it’s your intention, but the answer reminds me of Schopenhauer, of the Will, and how he thinks of Love as distinct from reproducing. Do you think your position is incompatible with one claiming all is guided by a karmic and benevolent but still self-interested Being whose manifestation within consciousness requires creating itself through any means for generating one, whether biology or magnetic plasmas, whether plant or animal or geometry?

    Well, life as an anti-entropy device i have heard (and stole from ) Erwin Shrodinger (the famous quantum cat guy). I don’t know if he came up with it originally, but it makes the most sense to me. As for things being guided by supreme beings, that’s a lot dicier. I can’t reject directed panspermia outright, but i don’t see too much evidence for it either. I used to be skeptical of the whole panspermia thing entirely, but we keep discovering evidence of life earlier and earlier, at some point it will be like “and 5 minutes before planet even formed there were already bugs on it” so you have to wonder. But i don’t see much in a way of direction. Life just bumps into things and each other and tries to eat it. Countless trillions die in the process but survivors carry on the genetic code. It is a self directed process, not a guided one.

    But i guess we will never know unless we meet LUCA in person. If that genetic code still exists unaltered baked into an asteroid somewhere, it will be a meeting of a lifetime.

  89. @Ludwig
    @AnonFromTN

    Yes the Eukaryote is a symbiosis of an Archea with the Bacteria, but as Nick Lane posits using various energy calculations and citing the complexity of the symbiosis it’s an extremely low probability event compared to the emergence of Bacteria/Archea.

    The storing of information as DNA possibly occurred in stages starting with information first stored in RNA (but which is far more fragile) and then eventually in the more robust DNA thus leading to the evolution of the transcription from DNA onto mRNA to translation to Amino Acids and protein synthesis.

    Prior to reading Lane, I too thought that the storage and replication of information via R/DNA was the ultimate barrier in creating Life. Lane argues - in the Vital Question - that this focus on information storage and reproduction as key for Life has left out the focus on Energy production specifically in the creation of the ATP Synthase proton gradient mechanism. His thesis in brief is that to manufacture prokaryotic life given the right chemical environments (Eg undersea vents) and gradients with a proton pump as an energy source is reasonably probable including the ability of to store and transfer information via some mechanism like the RNA and the DNA.

    He argues that the redox mechanisms needed to power a Eukaryotic cell is not a simple evolutionary step. Lane argues through a series of technical arguments that it was a highly improbable step that only occurred once. The step to morphologically complex life - not necessarily intelligent, sentient life - once the basic cellular machinery of a Eukaryotic cell evolved is virtually assured (a point made by de Vuve in “Life Evolving” for example) or at the least not improbable.

    At any rate, I came away convinced of Lane’s arguments starting with the simple observation that despite almost 4 billion years of Bacterial and Archean existence, neither evolved morphologically complexity while only Eukaryotes did. (He does away with older arguments that competing in a niche pointing out that all three can exist in the same niche).

    If Lane is right, Prokaryotic-like life would be relatively common in the Universe, but Eukaryotic-like life would be most uncommon, let alone the evolution of multicellular sentient life capable of pondering all this.

    Replies: @Ludwig, @AnonFromTN

    Incidentally what Lane argues is that Bacteria could NOT have formed Complex multicellular life as Eukaryotes did because of energy considerations involved.

    He goes into some detail about how Eukartoyes were able to overcome this with the mitochondria (a former bacteria) supplying energy with the minimum amount of DNA, shipping the rest of the original DNA – but not all! – to the nucleus. The details of how the two DNAs, the mitochondrial and nuclear have to be carefully in synch to be able to produce the protein to build and run the literal mini proton turbines which have to be precise at the Angstrom level – or else the mitochondria and thus the cell – will die is fascinating.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Replies: @Ano4
    @Ludwig

    I mainly agree with what you wrote, but you should not underestimate the power and complexity of the prokaryotic world:

    https://medium.com/indica/bacteria-is-an-immortal-living-god-9451b6a20d3b

    And you should not forget about the mighty flow of genetic information in the virosphere:

    https://manyworlds.space/2020/04/17/viruses-the-virosphere-and-astrovirology/

    Eukaryotic organisms are very complex, but this doesn't mean they are more efficient from a purely thermodynamic point of view or from the point of view of the selfish gene genetic information replication.

    The amount of energy, matter and more importantly information processed by bacteria and virii is immense.

    I for one welcome and hail our acient microbial overlords!

    🙂

    Replies: @Ludwig

  90. @songbird
    @The Alarmist

    Finding life would probably mean that there would be eco-terrorists blowing up rockets - rockets with people in them.

    Replies: @Jim Christian

    You’d think. But if the eco-terrorists are overlooking things to the point where they aren’t blowing up Musk’s and Bezos’ 5G launches that go off two a week each with the goal of orbiting tens of thousands of satellites, what’s a very few manned launches going up to them? Two realms, but the same, populating where we oughtn’t. You’d thing the eco-freaks would be raising hell about the more immediate situation, all these satellites.

    BTW, security is pretty tight in the launchpad realm.

    • Replies: @songbird
    @Jim Christian

    A lot of the older Left used to really like the idea of nuclear power. I suspect that, for the moment, there is a similar utopian attraction to space flight, so long as it doesn't use hypergolic fuels or nuclear components. Bezos tries to promote himself as the guy who will move dirty industry away from Earth and into LEO - seems silly. Many talk about the overview effect, or the possibilities for international cooperation. A lot of the Left are urban, so they might not really care about light pollution from low-flying satellites.

    But I think this utopian faith would be seriously shaken, if life were discovered on Mars or Venus, especially if astronauts were being sent there.

    Re: rocket security. I've always wondered if anyone has tried to use a sniper rifle to hit a rocket. Seems like most rockets are pretty tall, so that would be a pretty big parameter. Probably hard to maintain without government support.

    Replies: @nokangaroos

  91. @Ano4
    @AnonFromTN


    Yep, we are witnessing one of those extinction filters. I won’t bet a lot of money on humanity survival.
     
    Sadly I have to admit that you are probably right.

    Then again, if we start WWIII, intelligent life would reemerge from survivors, humans, monkeys, or other mammals: after all, it took mammals only 60 million years to evolve from rodent-like creatures to apes, and rodents are remarkably resistant to radiation.
     
    I would bet on raccoons. They are terribly smart although they lack opposable thumbs. Maybe we should try to CRISPR-ize them before it is too late and our technological civilization is washed down the drain? Or maybe not. They are already too smart...

    https://youtu.be/M5JFeTtSS3c

    Replies: @AnonFromTN, @Jim Christian

    I would bet on raccoons. They are terribly smart although they lack opposable thumbs.

    The coons up here in New England can open latched and bungee-corded outdoor waste food bins, they make off with the watermelon rinds and chicken bones. Curious, no?

    • Replies: @Ano4
    @Jim Christian

    I actually expect that the raccoons will start learning to code anytime soon. That's how smart they are. I think the only thing that prevents them from spending their time learning stuff is that they need to make a living by going through the garbage. We should subsidize them to ensure they evolve towards something superior. Wait, maybe be not. Forget about it, that was a bad idea...

    🙂

  92. @mal
    @Polemos


    Why spread “as far and wide as we possibly can?”
     
    Because there are other sources of excess energy out there. (Other stars for example). It is life's imperative to utilize them to the greatest extent possible, similar to how life utilizes energy from the Sun.

    Couldn’t we just stack wood into symmetric piles in our backyards and thus reduce entropy, and would this be less a reduction of entropy than if we gathered together into spaceships or space-faring arcologies?
     
    If stacking wood into symmetric piles leads to reproductive success, we must by all means do so. I mean, we stack lipids into a bilayer for that reason, if the result is the same, why not wood? If we organized fertility rituals around stacking wood, it would serve the same purpose and would be all good. In the longer run, those stacks of wood would get destroyed though, so you would want to have a space program so that you can stack wood in many locations and thus preserve your capacity to stack wood should misfortune befall any particular location.

    Why send humans? Why not send out rocks coated with tardigrades or Kineococcus radiotolerans — forms of life much more tolerating than fragile, resource-intensive space-traveling humans?
     

    Yes, directed panspermia is also a very good idea, and should be done. Maybe that's how life even got started on Earth, who knows. As I recall, Israelis already crashed a spacecraft full of tardigrades on the Moon, though they are unlikely to accomplish much there. Also, to terraform Mars or whatever, we will need to send in bacteria, just like bacteria terraformed planet Earth to make it livable (Earth wasn't Earthlike). Humans should go to space after robots make physical habitats and bacteria/plants make organic habitats. You are asking very good questions.

    Or does it matter how it matters? Does it matter how the reduction takes place, where we define the system?
     

    Well, from the perspective of life, even a bacteria might be able to do the job (if panspermia is correct, and considering how we find early evidence of life on Earth dating to almost planet formation, it looks more and more likely). However, bacteria spores traveling between planets and stars is not very efficient and its time consuming. This is where humans can come in. While evolution can create vast array of advanced technology given sufficient environmental pressures and incentives, and time, space travel (unlike atmospheric flight) has not been in focus. So space program could fill this ecological niche.

    In the very long run, a billion years or so, it will be human duty to preserve Earth's biodiversity when the Sun starts expansion. Humans won't survive long by themselves in test tubes aka spaceships without planetary life support. It won't be just about human reproduction challenges in space - how do you keep something like hippopotamus running around and breeding on a space platform?

    We will need to recreate Earth's biomes on orbital stations, or lose it all. While we have a couple billion years, the scope of the project required is beyond daunting. It will require massive amount of genetic engineering and DNA libraries to get done.

    Replies: @Polemos, @Spisarevski

    Humans won’t survive long by themselves in test tubes aka spaceships without planetary life support. It won’t be just about human reproduction challenges in space – how do you keep something like hippopotamus running around and breeding on a space platform?

    Easily. O’Neill cylinders or larger similar structures.

    If Earth is destroyed for raw material, it can be used to create enough O’Neill cylinders for at least 4 million times Earth’s living space.

    Of course it should not be destroyed, but planets are kind of pointless in general and most of the matter in the Solar system is in the Sun itself in the first place, and can be extracted via starlifting.

    My point is that there is no shortage of raw material in the solar system alone to build space habitats for trillions of hippos and humans if we wanted to.

    • Agree: Ano4, mal
  93. @Ludwig
    @Ludwig

    Incidentally what Lane argues is that Bacteria could NOT have formed Complex multicellular life as Eukaryotes did because of energy considerations involved.

    He goes into some detail about how Eukartoyes were able to overcome this with the mitochondria (a former bacteria) supplying energy with the minimum amount of DNA, shipping the rest of the original DNA - but not all! - to the nucleus. The details of how the two DNAs, the mitochondrial and nuclear have to be carefully in synch to be able to produce the protein to build and run the literal mini proton turbines which have to be precise at the Angstrom level - or else the mitochondria and thus the cell - will die is fascinating.

    Replies: @Ano4

    I mainly agree with what you wrote, but you should not underestimate the power and complexity of the prokaryotic world:

    https://medium.com/indica/bacteria-is-an-immortal-living-god-9451b6a20d3b

    And you should not forget about the mighty flow of genetic information in the virosphere:

    https://manyworlds.space/2020/04/17/viruses-the-virosphere-and-astrovirology/

    Eukaryotic organisms are very complex, but this doesn’t mean they are more efficient from a purely thermodynamic point of view or from the point of view of the selfish gene genetic information replication.

    The amount of energy, matter and more importantly information processed by bacteria and virii is immense.

    I for one welcome and hail our acient microbial overlords!

    🙂

    • Replies: @Ludwig
    @Ano4

    By no means am I denigrating Bacterial/Archean life forms. They are much more hardy than Eukaryotes in that regard and are able to survive a wider range of environments and chemicals to metabolize.

    Which is why I stress *morphological* complexity of Eukaryotes - that is the ability to form multi-cellular organisms which allow a wider variety of functional complexity and specialization that is seen as a prerequisite to beings with sentience.

    Replies: @Ano4

  94. @Jim Christian
    @Ano4


    I would bet on raccoons. They are terribly smart although they lack opposable thumbs.
     
    The coons up here in New England can open latched and bungee-corded outdoor waste food bins, they make off with the watermelon rinds and chicken bones. Curious, no?

    Replies: @Ano4

    I actually expect that the raccoons will start learning to code anytime soon. That’s how smart they are. I think the only thing that prevents them from spending their time learning stuff is that they need to make a living by going through the garbage. We should subsidize them to ensure they evolve towards something superior. Wait, maybe be not. Forget about it, that was a bad idea…

    🙂

  95. @Jim Christian
    @songbird

    You'd think. But if the eco-terrorists are overlooking things to the point where they aren't blowing up Musk's and Bezos' 5G launches that go off two a week each with the goal of orbiting tens of thousands of satellites, what's a very few manned launches going up to them? Two realms, but the same, populating where we oughtn't. You'd thing the eco-freaks would be raising hell about the more immediate situation, all these satellites.

    BTW, security is pretty tight in the launchpad realm.

    Replies: @songbird

    A lot of the older Left used to really like the idea of nuclear power. I suspect that, for the moment, there is a similar utopian attraction to space flight, so long as it doesn’t use hypergolic fuels or nuclear components. Bezos tries to promote himself as the guy who will move dirty industry away from Earth and into LEO – seems silly. Many talk about the overview effect, or the possibilities for international cooperation. A lot of the Left are urban, so they might not really care about light pollution from low-flying satellites.

    But I think this utopian faith would be seriously shaken, if life were discovered on Mars or Venus, especially if astronauts were being sent there.

    Re: rocket security. I’ve always wondered if anyone has tried to use a sniper rifle to hit a rocket. Seems like most rockets are pretty tall, so that would be a pretty big parameter. Probably hard to maintain without government support.

    • Replies: @nokangaroos
    @songbird

    The good thing about rockets is you cannot armor them; the erogenic zone is the guidance unit between the payload and engine, as a rule of thumb between the first and second thirds.

    (I did find Erben rigoristic too :D )

  96. @Daniel Chieh
    @anonymous coward

    Nothing that songbird suggested violated thermodynamics.

    Replies: @anonymous coward

    True, he just ignored the humongous energy and time budget required for drilling and pressurizing 5km tunnels on Mars.

    For reference: imagine the logistics chain required to drill a 5km subway tunnel in a random city and multiply that by three or four orders of magnitude.

    • Replies: @Spisarevski
    @anonymous coward


    he just ignored the humongous energy and time budget required for drilling and pressurizing 5km tunnels on Mars.
     
    The energy and time budget required is not "humongous". In fact it is very tiny, comparatively speaking :)

    It's nothing compared to constructing a Dyson swarm around the Sun for example.

    Whoever built the first canoe could hardly imagine a modern aircraft carrier, something impossible for his civilization. As the scale and technological level increase, suddenly formerly impossible things become normal. The modern "spaceships" and "space stations" are like canoes and rafts compared to the actual spaceships humanity would have once the Space Age really begins.
  97. @mal
    @adreadline


    No, there is not.
     
    Well, considering that universe is potentially infinite, infinite gold is also a possibility. Either way, there's far more gold in the universe than humanity knows what to do with. If you don't like "infinite", substitute "absurdly large amounts of gold".

    Anthropomorphizing nature galore. I guess Archaea just refuse to become Eukaryota and mosquitos were created with the purpose of reducing their entropy. Intelligent design on steroids.
     
    I wouldn't call it "anthropomorphizing nature", i'd say it more like "naturalizing humans". Humans are subject to evolutionary pressure just like all critters. Humans have been constructed from the same biowaste as vast majority of other species, and human genetic lines will go on as long as humans choose to reproduce, and will stop when reproductive process stops. Similar to other organisms, no intelligent designer necessary. Archaea and mosquitoes evolved to occupy their respective ecological niche. If the world blew up and resulting environmental conditions became such that only archaea and mosquitoes could survive, they would become genetic "lottery winners" and would continue to work on minimizing entropy while rest of the critters would be increasing entropy with their bodies decaying in the ditch.

    Replies: @anonymous coward

    Well, considering that universe is potentially infinite, infinite gold is also a possibility.

    The visible universe is not ‘infinite’. In fact it is very tiny, comparatively speaking.

    If you don’t like “infinite”, substitute “absurdly large amounts of gold”.

    ‘Absurdly large’ is infinitely smaller than ‘infinity’.

    P.S. Math is the new literacy. If people had a better grasp of math they wouldn’t be writing silly nonsense like you do.

    • Replies: @Spisarevski
    @anonymous coward


    The visible universe is not ‘infinite’.
     
    Except he said "the universe", not "the visible universe".
    And since space seems to be flat (the visible universe's curvature is zero), there is no reason to believe that it's not infinite.

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

  98. @AnonFromTN
    @Ano4


    Also the eukaryotic nucleus might be a giant viral remnant integrated into a (proto)archeae cell
     
    Quite possible. Nucleus also has double membrane, like something engulfed.

    Large viruses carry big and slow archebacterial ribosomes, like eukaryotic cytoplasm, not fast bacterial ones. Likely their genes were borrowed from eukaryotes and/or archebacteria.

    Actually, if the life exists on Venus or Mars and has the same genetic code as life on Earth, it might have been seeded from terrestrial life. But is we ever get to other star systems and discover life with the same genetic code, that would be proof positive for panspermia. However, panspermia has the same problem as religions: one begs the question where all these seeds originated, the others beg the question where did god(s) come from, how they emerged.

    there is probably no more than a few space-faring civilizations per galaxy (multiple extinction filters involved).
     
    Yep, we are witnessing one of those extinction filters. I won’t bet a lot of money on humanity survival. Then again, if we start WWIII, intelligent life would reemerge from survivors, humans, monkeys, or other mammals: after all, it took mammals only 60 million years to evolve from rodent-like creatures to apes, and rodents are remarkably resistant to radiation.

    Replies: @Ano4, @anonymous coward

    …one begs the question where all these seeds originated,

    Yes.

    …the others beg the question where did god(s) come from, how they emerged.

    No. God, by definition, is outside of time, and so cannot ’emerge’. You can argue with the axioms, but the logical consequences are sound.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    @anonymous coward

    Sorry to point that out, but if you make the same baseless anti-logical assumption that seeds are outside of time, and only enter time when they seed a planet (same as gods enter time when they influence events in the material world), you get both theories on the same footing (which is exceedingly lame in my view).

    I always tell students that if they are conventionally religious, they don’t want to discuss religion with me. The same applies to everybody.

  99. @anonymous coward
    @mal


    Well, considering that universe is potentially infinite, infinite gold is also a possibility.
     
    The visible universe is not 'infinite'. In fact it is very tiny, comparatively speaking.

    If you don’t like “infinite”, substitute “absurdly large amounts of gold”.
     
    'Absurdly large' is infinitely smaller than 'infinity'.

    P.S. Math is the new literacy. If people had a better grasp of math they wouldn't be writing silly nonsense like you do.

    Replies: @Spisarevski

    The visible universe is not ‘infinite’.

    Except he said “the universe”, not “the visible universe”.
    And since space seems to be flat (the visible universe’s curvature is zero), there is no reason to believe that it’s not infinite.

    • Agree: mal
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    @Spisarevski

    As Einstein rightly said, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe”.

  100. @anonymous coward
    @Daniel Chieh

    True, he just ignored the humongous energy and time budget required for drilling and pressurizing 5km tunnels on Mars.

    For reference: imagine the logistics chain required to drill a 5km subway tunnel in a random city and multiply that by three or four orders of magnitude.

    Replies: @Spisarevski

    he just ignored the humongous energy and time budget required for drilling and pressurizing 5km tunnels on Mars.

    The energy and time budget required is not “humongous”. In fact it is very tiny, comparatively speaking 🙂

    It’s nothing compared to constructing a Dyson swarm around the Sun for example.

    Whoever built the first canoe could hardly imagine a modern aircraft carrier, something impossible for his civilization. As the scale and technological level increase, suddenly formerly impossible things become normal. The modern “spaceships” and “space stations” are like canoes and rafts compared to the actual spaceships humanity would have once the Space Age really begins.

    • Agree: mal
  101. @Ludwig
    @AnonFromTN

    Yes the Eukaryote is a symbiosis of an Archea with the Bacteria, but as Nick Lane posits using various energy calculations and citing the complexity of the symbiosis it’s an extremely low probability event compared to the emergence of Bacteria/Archea.

    The storing of information as DNA possibly occurred in stages starting with information first stored in RNA (but which is far more fragile) and then eventually in the more robust DNA thus leading to the evolution of the transcription from DNA onto mRNA to translation to Amino Acids and protein synthesis.

    Prior to reading Lane, I too thought that the storage and replication of information via R/DNA was the ultimate barrier in creating Life. Lane argues - in the Vital Question - that this focus on information storage and reproduction as key for Life has left out the focus on Energy production specifically in the creation of the ATP Synthase proton gradient mechanism. His thesis in brief is that to manufacture prokaryotic life given the right chemical environments (Eg undersea vents) and gradients with a proton pump as an energy source is reasonably probable including the ability of to store and transfer information via some mechanism like the RNA and the DNA.

    He argues that the redox mechanisms needed to power a Eukaryotic cell is not a simple evolutionary step. Lane argues through a series of technical arguments that it was a highly improbable step that only occurred once. The step to morphologically complex life - not necessarily intelligent, sentient life - once the basic cellular machinery of a Eukaryotic cell evolved is virtually assured (a point made by de Vuve in “Life Evolving” for example) or at the least not improbable.

    At any rate, I came away convinced of Lane’s arguments starting with the simple observation that despite almost 4 billion years of Bacterial and Archean existence, neither evolved morphologically complexity while only Eukaryotes did. (He does away with older arguments that competing in a niche pointing out that all three can exist in the same niche).

    If Lane is right, Prokaryotic-like life would be relatively common in the Universe, but Eukaryotic-like life would be most uncommon, let alone the evolution of multicellular sentient life capable of pondering all this.

    Replies: @Ludwig, @AnonFromTN

    Considering processes in living things as pure information transfer is grossly inadequate. This is one aspect of it, but not the comprehensive picture: living cells are not computers, they are sophisticated chemical machines.

    The transcription (DNA to RNA) and reverse transcription (RNA to DNA) are both accomplished by a single enzyme, and living things have several families of DNA-dependent RNA polymerases and RNA-dependent DNA polymerases, suggesting that these steps evolved several times independently, which shows that they are not all that low probability events.

    Translation (RNA to protein) involves a lot more complex machinery. First, you need a two-subunit “decoder” machine, ribosome, that contains two specialized ribosomal RNAs and 55 (bacteria) or 79 (archea and eukaryots) different proteins. Second, you need 61 different transfer RNAs (61 is the number of amino acid codons, the remaining 3 out of 64 are stop codons). Third, you need a large set of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases to charge each tRNA with appropriate amino acid. Finally, you need G protein-like initiation, elongation, and termination factors. So, you have a very complex multi-part machinery, where each part is useless w/o others. This complex machinery appeared in evolution only once, as attested by all living things using the same genetic code. So, this is really the lowest probability event in the emergence of life.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    @AnonFromTN

    One more thing: symbiosis of bacteria with archea, that gave rise to eukaryotes, happened in evolution at least twice: mitochondria (former aerobic bacteria) and chloroplasts in plants (likely former cyanobacteria). So, this is a higher probability event than the development of the machinery capable of making proteins with amino acid sequence corresponding to codon sequence in mRNA.

    , @Ludwig
    @AnonFromTN

    At the core of living beings *is* information transfer in the form of chemical reactions of building blocks which are themselves created via chemical reactions to form a self-sustaining mechanism.

    And yes I understand the complexity of said information transfer. In “Life Evolving” for example, Nobel Prize winning chemist Christian de Duve proposes mechanism on how the cells evolved starting with the complexity of the transcription/translation process and argues against the concept of irreducible complexity - as you seem to imply - that Creationists for example cite in how a cell could not have evolved from inanimate matter but was designed by a higher power.

    Lane et al further argue that given the right substrates and chemicals (the modern consensus is undersea vents and not the ponds with lightning of old), the formation of self-sustaining chemicals that can organize themselves and transfer “information” ie genes via lateral transfer is more plausible. There is an argument about why all life is not only built on A, C, T/U, G but shares common primal patterns - ancient genes - that are conserved across all life. Lane approaches it from a thermodynamics point of view - like the inevitability of forming water in the presence of hydrogen and oxygen. Whether the formation of this mechanism only occurred once at one location or was a form of convergent evolution is not settled.

    As I said, given the complexity of how a cell functions, I too thought the formation of the genetic code was the ultimate barrier. And without repeating myself, Lane argues that this is just one part. The fact that the first Life arose relatively quickly after the Earth formed shows that the chemistry required for simple organisms fairly probable (given favorable conditions). But in 4 billion years no bacteria for example have evolved to be multicellular which Lane argues is because the energy mechanisms of Prokaryotes don’t support it. Eukaryotes did and so the question is what the barrier to the formation of a Eukaryote was and he argues it’s quite high involving bacteria to supply energy - and evolve to be the modern mitochondria - to an Archean cell.

    I found this argument - that morphologically simple Life is probable but morphologically complex life is not - persuasive.

    Clearly, to settle this one needs to find Life elsewhere and see how they evolved and whether said Life is only bacteria/Archea like or also has eukaryote-like life.

  102. @AnonFromTN
    @Ludwig

    Considering processes in living things as pure information transfer is grossly inadequate. This is one aspect of it, but not the comprehensive picture: living cells are not computers, they are sophisticated chemical machines.

    The transcription (DNA to RNA) and reverse transcription (RNA to DNA) are both accomplished by a single enzyme, and living things have several families of DNA-dependent RNA polymerases and RNA-dependent DNA polymerases, suggesting that these steps evolved several times independently, which shows that they are not all that low probability events.

    Translation (RNA to protein) involves a lot more complex machinery. First, you need a two-subunit “decoder” machine, ribosome, that contains two specialized ribosomal RNAs and 55 (bacteria) or 79 (archea and eukaryots) different proteins. Second, you need 61 different transfer RNAs (61 is the number of amino acid codons, the remaining 3 out of 64 are stop codons). Third, you need a large set of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases to charge each tRNA with appropriate amino acid. Finally, you need G protein-like initiation, elongation, and termination factors. So, you have a very complex multi-part machinery, where each part is useless w/o others. This complex machinery appeared in evolution only once, as attested by all living things using the same genetic code. So, this is really the lowest probability event in the emergence of life.

    Replies: @AnonFromTN, @Ludwig

    One more thing: symbiosis of bacteria with archea, that gave rise to eukaryotes, happened in evolution at least twice: mitochondria (former aerobic bacteria) and chloroplasts in plants (likely former cyanobacteria). So, this is a higher probability event than the development of the machinery capable of making proteins with amino acid sequence corresponding to codon sequence in mRNA.

  103. @anonymous coward
    @AnonFromTN


    ...one begs the question where all these seeds originated,
     
    Yes.

    ...the others beg the question where did god(s) come from, how they emerged.

     

    No. God, by definition, is outside of time, and so cannot 'emerge'. You can argue with the axioms, but the logical consequences are sound.

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

    Sorry to point that out, but if you make the same baseless anti-logical assumption that seeds are outside of time, and only enter time when they seed a planet (same as gods enter time when they influence events in the material world), you get both theories on the same footing (which is exceedingly lame in my view).

    I always tell students that if they are conventionally religious, they don’t want to discuss religion with me. The same applies to everybody.

  104. @Spisarevski
    @anonymous coward


    The visible universe is not ‘infinite’.
     
    Except he said "the universe", not "the visible universe".
    And since space seems to be flat (the visible universe's curvature is zero), there is no reason to believe that it's not infinite.

    Replies: @AnonFromTN

    As Einstein rightly said, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe”.

  105. @songbird
    @Jim Christian

    A lot of the older Left used to really like the idea of nuclear power. I suspect that, for the moment, there is a similar utopian attraction to space flight, so long as it doesn't use hypergolic fuels or nuclear components. Bezos tries to promote himself as the guy who will move dirty industry away from Earth and into LEO - seems silly. Many talk about the overview effect, or the possibilities for international cooperation. A lot of the Left are urban, so they might not really care about light pollution from low-flying satellites.

    But I think this utopian faith would be seriously shaken, if life were discovered on Mars or Venus, especially if astronauts were being sent there.

    Re: rocket security. I've always wondered if anyone has tried to use a sniper rifle to hit a rocket. Seems like most rockets are pretty tall, so that would be a pretty big parameter. Probably hard to maintain without government support.

    Replies: @nokangaroos

    The good thing about rockets is you cannot armor them; the erogenic zone is the guidance unit between the payload and engine, as a rule of thumb between the first and second thirds.

    (I did find Erben rigoristic too 😀 )

  106. @nokangaroos
    @songbird

    I see. The critters developed on the surface when it was habitable and when it turned into a runaway greenhouse they "ascended" and are now floating above the sulfuric acid clouds. And playing the venereal harp. What do they eat? Oh, they do not have to. And aren´t there bacteria who eat electrons?

    OK, sorry ;)

    The late Prof. Heinrich K. Erben, paleontologist and philosopher of science, had some rather unkind words (there might be minors reading this) for the "thinkable" crowd who use terms like "carbaquist" or "life as we know it" (as noted, almost always astrophysicists; they probably think it gets them the gurrlz. Not that down-to-earth scientists are overrun with groupies :P ).
    As usual it is not that simple:
    - There is no way around carbon and water; no other combination of elements provides (IV)valence, good solubilities and low activation energies.
    - Concentration; there is no "dilute" life - rules out the atmosphere (nothing "lives" or reproduces in the atmosphere, these are just "transport" forms)
    - Individuation/Delimitation; an oft-overlooked factor, same as above (of interest to the open borders crowd, there can be no life without it)
    - Energy source, chemical or radiation; good in the atmosphere, but usually too much to maintain a quasistationary disequilibrium ("life")
    - If all that and the numerous geological and astrophysical constraints (size and composition of planet, distance and nature of star etc.) are still not enough and you want it "intelligent", Erben pointed out at least 26 bifurcation points for the only life as we know it.
    (Note these are not a posteriori, they COULD NOT have happened otherwise)

    Need I add Erben was a radical sceptic? :D

    Replies: @songbird, @reiner Tor

    Are you Austrian?

  107. @Realist
    @reiner Tor


    Bacterial life on another planet increases our prior probabilities for intelligent life elsewhere, too.
     
    I have always considered that there is a strong possibility that other intelligent life exists in the universe...let alone bacterial life.

    By the way it’s bad news, as intelligent life elsewhere would likely be bad news.
     
    Why do you think they would be uncaring, warmongering, rapacious assholes like we are?

    My belief is that as beings evolve they become less aggressive, more considerate of other sentient living things.

    BTW my comment...We already know that life exists in the universe…the question should be is there intelligent life in the universe?...was facetious.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    Why do you think they would be uncaring, warmongering, rapacious assholes like we are?

    Because being a bit of an asshole is an evolutionarily stable strategy. Being a peaceful hippie high on weed and not caring if others fuck your girlfriend is not an evolutionarily stable strategy. Since colonizing the galaxy takes a long time (probably a hundred million years or more), it’d be unexpected if anything but an evolutionarily stable strategy survived that long.

    • Replies: @Realist
    @reiner Tor


    Being a peaceful hippie high on weed and not caring if others fuck your girlfriend is not an evolutionarily stable strategy.
     
    Neither is colonization.

    That is a ridiculous analogy.


    Since colonizing the galaxy takes a long time (probably a hundred million years or more), it’d be unexpected if anything but an evolutionarily stable strategy survived that long.
     
    That is exactly the attitude I am talking about. Colonizing takes extreme amounts of resources and effort...that an advanced civilization would see as a waste...for no return. How has colonization on this planet worked out?
    Alien civilizations capable of intergalactic travel...not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000...1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are. An advanced civilization would have no interest in colonizing the earth.

    Replies: @another anon, @Daniel Chieh, @Spisarevski

  108. @reiner Tor
    @Realist


    Why do you think they would be uncaring, warmongering, rapacious assholes like we are?
     
    Because being a bit of an asshole is an evolutionarily stable strategy. Being a peaceful hippie high on weed and not caring if others fuck your girlfriend is not an evolutionarily stable strategy. Since colonizing the galaxy takes a long time (probably a hundred million years or more), it’d be unexpected if anything but an evolutionarily stable strategy survived that long.

    Replies: @Realist

    Being a peaceful hippie high on weed and not caring if others fuck your girlfriend is not an evolutionarily stable strategy.

    Neither is colonization.

    That is a ridiculous analogy.

    Since colonizing the galaxy takes a long time (probably a hundred million years or more), it’d be unexpected if anything but an evolutionarily stable strategy survived that long.

    That is exactly the attitude I am talking about. Colonizing takes extreme amounts of resources and effort…that an advanced civilization would see as a waste…for no return. How has colonization on this planet worked out?
    Alien civilizations capable of intergalactic travel…not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000…1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are. An advanced civilization would have no interest in colonizing the earth.

    • Replies: @another anon
    @Realist

    Maybe the aliens already colonized the universe?

    https://www.zmescience.com/space/dark-matter-alien-life-11042018/

    Maybe the real universe is the mysterious "dark matter" and "dark energy", and is fully settled and civilized, and the visible universe is only small heap of refuse and waste swept off construction site?

    , @Daniel Chieh
    @Realist

    I'm pretty sure an advanced, intelligent species would not abuse ellipses and may in fact engage in extreme usage of energy to annihilate such malaprops from cropping up in otherwise sane conversation.

    Replies: @Realist

    , @Spisarevski
    @Realist


    Neither is colonization.
     
    Colonization is simply spreading out. Multiplying and seeking resources is the basic requirement for the survival of any species and for life in general.

    Colonizing takes extreme amounts of resources and effort…
     
    For a space faring civilization that utilizes even 1% of 1% of the Sun's energy output, the effort and resources to colonize other stars would be negligible and the returns are incalculable.

    How has colonization on this planet worked out?
     
    Great, until the liberals started ruining everything.

    Alien civilizations capable of intergalactic travel…not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000…1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are
     
    Not necessarily. I guess you meant to say "interstellar, not to mention intergalactic" - we already have technology for interstellar colonization, the Orion drive was invented in the 60s.

    As for intergalactic, here is how you can colonize another galaxy under known science and with technologies we will probably have this century:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRB7a89Jh7w

    Replies: @Realist, @another anon

  109. @Ano4
    @Ludwig

    I mainly agree with what you wrote, but you should not underestimate the power and complexity of the prokaryotic world:

    https://medium.com/indica/bacteria-is-an-immortal-living-god-9451b6a20d3b

    And you should not forget about the mighty flow of genetic information in the virosphere:

    https://manyworlds.space/2020/04/17/viruses-the-virosphere-and-astrovirology/

    Eukaryotic organisms are very complex, but this doesn't mean they are more efficient from a purely thermodynamic point of view or from the point of view of the selfish gene genetic information replication.

    The amount of energy, matter and more importantly information processed by bacteria and virii is immense.

    I for one welcome and hail our acient microbial overlords!

    🙂

    Replies: @Ludwig

    By no means am I denigrating Bacterial/Archean life forms. They are much more hardy than Eukaryotes in that regard and are able to survive a wider range of environments and chemicals to metabolize.

    Which is why I stress *morphological* complexity of Eukaryotes – that is the ability to form multi-cellular organisms which allow a wider variety of functional complexity and specialization that is seen as a prerequisite to beings with sentience.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    @Ludwig


    functional complexity and specialization that is seen as a prerequisite to beings with sentience.
     
    Quorum sensing and bacterial communications are interesting phenomena. I once wondered how much information they might be able to process given their sheer numbers. Perhaps they have some sort of "distributed sentience " after all.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/424134a
  110. @Ludwig
    @Ano4

    By no means am I denigrating Bacterial/Archean life forms. They are much more hardy than Eukaryotes in that regard and are able to survive a wider range of environments and chemicals to metabolize.

    Which is why I stress *morphological* complexity of Eukaryotes - that is the ability to form multi-cellular organisms which allow a wider variety of functional complexity and specialization that is seen as a prerequisite to beings with sentience.

    Replies: @Ano4

    functional complexity and specialization that is seen as a prerequisite to beings with sentience.

    Quorum sensing and bacterial communications are interesting phenomena. I once wondered how much information they might be able to process given their sheer numbers. Perhaps they have some sort of “distributed sentience ” after all.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/424134a

    • Agree: mal
  111. @AnonFromTN
    @Ludwig

    Considering processes in living things as pure information transfer is grossly inadequate. This is one aspect of it, but not the comprehensive picture: living cells are not computers, they are sophisticated chemical machines.

    The transcription (DNA to RNA) and reverse transcription (RNA to DNA) are both accomplished by a single enzyme, and living things have several families of DNA-dependent RNA polymerases and RNA-dependent DNA polymerases, suggesting that these steps evolved several times independently, which shows that they are not all that low probability events.

    Translation (RNA to protein) involves a lot more complex machinery. First, you need a two-subunit “decoder” machine, ribosome, that contains two specialized ribosomal RNAs and 55 (bacteria) or 79 (archea and eukaryots) different proteins. Second, you need 61 different transfer RNAs (61 is the number of amino acid codons, the remaining 3 out of 64 are stop codons). Third, you need a large set of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases to charge each tRNA with appropriate amino acid. Finally, you need G protein-like initiation, elongation, and termination factors. So, you have a very complex multi-part machinery, where each part is useless w/o others. This complex machinery appeared in evolution only once, as attested by all living things using the same genetic code. So, this is really the lowest probability event in the emergence of life.

    Replies: @AnonFromTN, @Ludwig

    At the core of living beings *is* information transfer in the form of chemical reactions of building blocks which are themselves created via chemical reactions to form a self-sustaining mechanism.

    And yes I understand the complexity of said information transfer. In “Life Evolving” for example, Nobel Prize winning chemist Christian de Duve proposes mechanism on how the cells evolved starting with the complexity of the transcription/translation process and argues against the concept of irreducible complexity – as you seem to imply – that Creationists for example cite in how a cell could not have evolved from inanimate matter but was designed by a higher power.

    Lane et al further argue that given the right substrates and chemicals (the modern consensus is undersea vents and not the ponds with lightning of old), the formation of self-sustaining chemicals that can organize themselves and transfer “information” ie genes via lateral transfer is more plausible. There is an argument about why all life is not only built on A, C, T/U, G but shares common primal patterns – ancient genes – that are conserved across all life. Lane approaches it from a thermodynamics point of view – like the inevitability of forming water in the presence of hydrogen and oxygen. Whether the formation of this mechanism only occurred once at one location or was a form of convergent evolution is not settled.

    As I said, given the complexity of how a cell functions, I too thought the formation of the genetic code was the ultimate barrier. And without repeating myself, Lane argues that this is just one part. The fact that the first Life arose relatively quickly after the Earth formed shows that the chemistry required for simple organisms fairly probable (given favorable conditions). But in 4 billion years no bacteria for example have evolved to be multicellular which Lane argues is because the energy mechanisms of Prokaryotes don’t support it. Eukaryotes did and so the question is what the barrier to the formation of a Eukaryote was and he argues it’s quite high involving bacteria to supply energy – and evolve to be the modern mitochondria – to an Archean cell.

    I found this argument – that morphologically simple Life is probable but morphologically complex life is not – persuasive.

    Clearly, to settle this one needs to find Life elsewhere and see how they evolved and whether said Life is only bacteria/Archea like or also has eukaryote-like life.

  112. @Realist
    @reiner Tor


    Being a peaceful hippie high on weed and not caring if others fuck your girlfriend is not an evolutionarily stable strategy.
     
    Neither is colonization.

    That is a ridiculous analogy.


    Since colonizing the galaxy takes a long time (probably a hundred million years or more), it’d be unexpected if anything but an evolutionarily stable strategy survived that long.
     
    That is exactly the attitude I am talking about. Colonizing takes extreme amounts of resources and effort...that an advanced civilization would see as a waste...for no return. How has colonization on this planet worked out?
    Alien civilizations capable of intergalactic travel...not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000...1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are. An advanced civilization would have no interest in colonizing the earth.

    Replies: @another anon, @Daniel Chieh, @Spisarevski

    Maybe the aliens already colonized the universe?

    https://www.zmescience.com/space/dark-matter-alien-life-11042018/

    Maybe the real universe is the mysterious “dark matter” and “dark energy”, and is fully settled and civilized, and the visible universe is only small heap of refuse and waste swept off construction site?

    • LOL: Realist
  113. @Realist
    @reiner Tor


    Being a peaceful hippie high on weed and not caring if others fuck your girlfriend is not an evolutionarily stable strategy.
     
    Neither is colonization.

    That is a ridiculous analogy.


    Since colonizing the galaxy takes a long time (probably a hundred million years or more), it’d be unexpected if anything but an evolutionarily stable strategy survived that long.
     
    That is exactly the attitude I am talking about. Colonizing takes extreme amounts of resources and effort...that an advanced civilization would see as a waste...for no return. How has colonization on this planet worked out?
    Alien civilizations capable of intergalactic travel...not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000...1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are. An advanced civilization would have no interest in colonizing the earth.

    Replies: @another anon, @Daniel Chieh, @Spisarevski

    I’m pretty sure an advanced, intelligent species would not abuse ellipses and may in fact engage in extreme usage of energy to annihilate such malaprops from cropping up in otherwise sane conversation.

    • Agree: Spisarevski
    • Replies: @Realist
    @Daniel Chieh

    A silly childish response.

  114. @Daniel Chieh
    @Realist

    I'm pretty sure an advanced, intelligent species would not abuse ellipses and may in fact engage in extreme usage of energy to annihilate such malaprops from cropping up in otherwise sane conversation.

    Replies: @Realist

    A silly childish response.

  115. @Realist
    @reiner Tor


    Being a peaceful hippie high on weed and not caring if others fuck your girlfriend is not an evolutionarily stable strategy.
     
    Neither is colonization.

    That is a ridiculous analogy.


    Since colonizing the galaxy takes a long time (probably a hundred million years or more), it’d be unexpected if anything but an evolutionarily stable strategy survived that long.
     
    That is exactly the attitude I am talking about. Colonizing takes extreme amounts of resources and effort...that an advanced civilization would see as a waste...for no return. How has colonization on this planet worked out?
    Alien civilizations capable of intergalactic travel...not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000...1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are. An advanced civilization would have no interest in colonizing the earth.

    Replies: @another anon, @Daniel Chieh, @Spisarevski

    Neither is colonization.

    Colonization is simply spreading out. Multiplying and seeking resources is the basic requirement for the survival of any species and for life in general.

    Colonizing takes extreme amounts of resources and effort…

    For a space faring civilization that utilizes even 1% of 1% of the Sun’s energy output, the effort and resources to colonize other stars would be negligible and the returns are incalculable.

    How has colonization on this planet worked out?

    Great, until the liberals started ruining everything.

    Alien civilizations capable of intergalactic travel…not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000…1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are

    Not necessarily. I guess you meant to say “interstellar, not to mention intergalactic” – we already have technology for interstellar colonization, the Orion drive was invented in the 60s.

    As for intergalactic, here is how you can colonize another galaxy under known science and with technologies we will probably have this century:

    • Replies: @Realist
    @Spisarevski


    Colonization is simply spreading out.
     
    Not at all...it is the action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area.

    For a space faring civilization that utilizes even 1% of 1% of the Sun’s energy output, the effort and resources to colonize other stars would be negligible and the returns are incalculable.
     
    Your speculation is without factual foundation.

    Not necessarily. I guess you meant to say “interstellar, not to mention intergalactic” – we already have technology for interstellar colonization, the Orion drive was invented in the 60s.
     
    No, what I meant to say was...Alien civilizations capable of intragalactic travel…not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000…1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are. Orion drive is a fanciful dream.

    Auto correct erroneously put intergalactic instead of intragalactic as I had intended.

    , @another anon
    @Spisarevski


    Colonization is simply spreading out.
     
    Colonization is capitalist, profit oriented business.

    Old style colonization - search for gold, silver, slaves, silk, spices, sugar, tobacco, cotton etc... - was extremely profitable.
    Where are any profits to be made on Moon, Mars or Venus?

    (no, Helium3, the usual excuse of space geeks, is not the answer. Too lazy to post links why He3 is bullshit, but can do it on request)

    Replies: @mal

  116. @Spisarevski
    @Realist


    Neither is colonization.
     
    Colonization is simply spreading out. Multiplying and seeking resources is the basic requirement for the survival of any species and for life in general.

    Colonizing takes extreme amounts of resources and effort…
     
    For a space faring civilization that utilizes even 1% of 1% of the Sun's energy output, the effort and resources to colonize other stars would be negligible and the returns are incalculable.

    How has colonization on this planet worked out?
     
    Great, until the liberals started ruining everything.

    Alien civilizations capable of intergalactic travel…not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000…1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are
     
    Not necessarily. I guess you meant to say "interstellar, not to mention intergalactic" - we already have technology for interstellar colonization, the Orion drive was invented in the 60s.

    As for intergalactic, here is how you can colonize another galaxy under known science and with technologies we will probably have this century:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRB7a89Jh7w

    Replies: @Realist, @another anon

    Colonization is simply spreading out.

    Not at all…it is the action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area.

    For a space faring civilization that utilizes even 1% of 1% of the Sun’s energy output, the effort and resources to colonize other stars would be negligible and the returns are incalculable.

    Your speculation is without factual foundation.

    Not necessarily. I guess you meant to say “interstellar, not to mention intergalactic” – we already have technology for interstellar colonization, the Orion drive was invented in the 60s.

    No, what I meant to say was…Alien civilizations capable of intragalactic travel…not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000…1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are. Orion drive is a fanciful dream.

    Auto correct erroneously put intergalactic instead of intragalactic as I had intended.

  117. If NASA is so interested in finding extraterrestrial life why have they refused to test for life on Mars since 1976? Officially they’ve only ever run a single test. The Viking lander added a scoop of martian soil to a nutrient broth and heated it to body temperature. The mixture started producing signals which on earth would have been indicative of life.

    NASA announced they had found life on Mars.

    A few days later they said it was a mistake.

    Since then they have refused to test again. They tell us they are doing geological tests to see if it was possible for life to have existed there a couple of billions years ago.

    But they refuse to test to see if there’s life present now.

    The only logical reason for NASA showing no interest in the biggest question of all, a question which is part of their charter, is because they already know the answer.

    This latest Venus nonsense is a distraction. They do the same thing with “exo planets” their models allegedly detect hundreds of light years away. They claim they are looking for “Earth 2”. There is an “Earth 2”, I can see it from my backyard. Mars. But despite actually visiting Mars many times NASA refuses to rest for life. They are highly interested, they tell us, in the theoretical existence of life on a planet humans can never visit, and have announced this latest red herring breathlessly, but have no apparent interest in life on a planet they visit every second year.

    This latest Venus distraction is like their proposed Mars mission. We’re supposed to forget that they are unable to return to the moon (or for that matter go beyond low earth orbit) because now the focus is on a trip to Mars.

    NASA is hamstrung by their Apollo lies. They will always behave deceptively and their actions will always appear illogical because of the big lie of the past

  118. @Spisarevski
    @Realist


    Neither is colonization.
     
    Colonization is simply spreading out. Multiplying and seeking resources is the basic requirement for the survival of any species and for life in general.

    Colonizing takes extreme amounts of resources and effort…
     
    For a space faring civilization that utilizes even 1% of 1% of the Sun's energy output, the effort and resources to colonize other stars would be negligible and the returns are incalculable.

    How has colonization on this planet worked out?
     
    Great, until the liberals started ruining everything.

    Alien civilizations capable of intergalactic travel…not to mention intergalactic travel would be 100,000…1,000,000 or perhaps a billion years more advanced than we are
     
    Not necessarily. I guess you meant to say "interstellar, not to mention intergalactic" - we already have technology for interstellar colonization, the Orion drive was invented in the 60s.

    As for intergalactic, here is how you can colonize another galaxy under known science and with technologies we will probably have this century:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRB7a89Jh7w

    Replies: @Realist, @another anon

    Colonization is simply spreading out.

    Colonization is capitalist, profit oriented business.

    Old style colonization – search for gold, silver, slaves, silk, spices, sugar, tobacco, cotton etc… – was extremely profitable.
    Where are any profits to be made on Moon, Mars or Venus?

    (no, Helium3, the usual excuse of space geeks, is not the answer. Too lazy to post links why He3 is bullshit, but can do it on request)

    • Replies: @mal
    @another anon


    Old style colonization – search for gold, silver, slaves, silk, spices, sugar, tobacco, cotton etc… – was extremely profitable.
    Where are any profits to be made on Moon, Mars or Venus?
     
    There are profits to be made in the asteroids, and advanced nanotechnological manufacturing will be cheaper in space and therefore more profitable. (It costs $billions to build and operate clean room facilities on Earth, in the vacuum of space you can just put up an umbrella).

    First colonists won't be motivated by profit though, think Pilgrims and Mayflower. They escaped Holland for political and ideological reasons, not profits (also lack of savings and employment opportunities, and fear of new war with a superpower, sounds familiar?). Most of them also starved and died and were shot by the natives. I expect our first Space Pilgrims to have same motivations and most of them will probably have similar fate (well probably except being shot by the natives part, i hope).

    Once first colonies have been established and are more or less successful however, military implications of this will become very clear (cheap mass scale orbital bombardment of any point on the planet is no joke), and so the militaries of the planet (aka US Space Force)will get involved. The mini-arms race between the colonists and Earth will mean big $$$ to develop orbital supply depots and surveillance systems. Eventually it will be cheaper to construct those machines in space, and new Age of Discovery will bloom.

    So here is what will happen.

    Steps:
    1. Militarization of space (ongoing).
    2. Private sector contractors are handed $$$trillions to develop supply and surveillance capability for space based weapons (ongoing, see Elon Musk, Northrop Grumman etc.).
    3. Developing capability will cause congestion in low energy orbits (such as low Earth, astronomers are already complaining about Starlink satellites blocking their sky views, lol, they haven't seen anything yet). (just starting but will get worse).
    4. Counter capabilities will need to be placed at increasingly higher energy orbits (geostationary etc). From there, it's just a short walk to the Moon in terms of delta v budgets. (Happening in the near future).
    5. Military bases on the Moon to claim choice locations (like caps with water on them). Private military contractors (Elon Musk etc) go in to develop supplies for those (also worth $$$trillions from Pentagon).
    6. Private sector colonization in support of the military duty. Life support and production technology development.
    7. First Space Pilgrims from the non-military sector.
  119. @another anon
    @Spisarevski


    Colonization is simply spreading out.
     
    Colonization is capitalist, profit oriented business.

    Old style colonization - search for gold, silver, slaves, silk, spices, sugar, tobacco, cotton etc... - was extremely profitable.
    Where are any profits to be made on Moon, Mars or Venus?

    (no, Helium3, the usual excuse of space geeks, is not the answer. Too lazy to post links why He3 is bullshit, but can do it on request)

    Replies: @mal

    Old style colonization – search for gold, silver, slaves, silk, spices, sugar, tobacco, cotton etc… – was extremely profitable.
    Where are any profits to be made on Moon, Mars or Venus?

    There are profits to be made in the asteroids, and advanced nanotechnological manufacturing will be cheaper in space and therefore more profitable. (It costs $billions to build and operate clean room facilities on Earth, in the vacuum of space you can just put up an umbrella).

    First colonists won’t be motivated by profit though, think Pilgrims and Mayflower. They escaped Holland for political and ideological reasons, not profits (also lack of savings and employment opportunities, and fear of new war with a superpower, sounds familiar?). Most of them also starved and died and were shot by the natives. I expect our first Space Pilgrims to have same motivations and most of them will probably have similar fate (well probably except being shot by the natives part, i hope).

    Once first colonies have been established and are more or less successful however, military implications of this will become very clear (cheap mass scale orbital bombardment of any point on the planet is no joke), and so the militaries of the planet (aka US Space Force)will get involved. The mini-arms race between the colonists and Earth will mean big $$$ to develop orbital supply depots and surveillance systems. Eventually it will be cheaper to construct those machines in space, and new Age of Discovery will bloom.

    So here is what will happen.

    Steps:
    1. Militarization of space (ongoing).
    2. Private sector contractors are handed $$$trillions to develop supply and surveillance capability for space based weapons (ongoing, see Elon Musk, Northrop Grumman etc.).
    3. Developing capability will cause congestion in low energy orbits (such as low Earth, astronomers are already complaining about Starlink satellites blocking their sky views, lol, they haven’t seen anything yet). (just starting but will get worse).
    4. Counter capabilities will need to be placed at increasingly higher energy orbits (geostationary etc). From there, it’s just a short walk to the Moon in terms of delta v budgets. (Happening in the near future).
    5. Military bases on the Moon to claim choice locations (like caps with water on them). Private military contractors (Elon Musk etc) go in to develop supplies for those (also worth $$$trillions from Pentagon).
    6. Private sector colonization in support of the military duty. Life support and production technology development.
    7. First Space Pilgrims from the non-military sector.

  120. For those who still believe there’s life on Venus, watch this video:

    • Replies: @mal
    @In Catilinam

    I like Thunderf00t, he is a legit scientist (in Czechia or something), but a couple of points if I may.

    1. On 20 ppm water. It doesn't sound like a lot, but Venus atmosphere is very heavy and hot so water can exist only in a limited band. So those 20 ppm, on a planetary level, can mean an insane amount of water, just localized. I mean, gold in Earths' crust is only .003 ppm, but if you took all the gold atoms on Earth and put them in one place, you would get a very nice sized lake out of it. Bottom line, planets are big and Venus atmosphere makes "your mamma so fat" jokes look skinny.

    2. Billions to one odds for life. Thats only true if you are looking for novel abiogenesis and evolution. If you are like me and only looking for T-Rexes on Ganymede (regional panspermia, with Earth life getting carried over other bodies during planetary bombardment), the odds are really not that bad.

    I mean I would be surprised the life survived the transfer (I expect baked in fossils), but its not impossible.

    Actually, all it would take is for the lava rock from Earth to burn up in the Venus atmosphere, insulating ash to disperse, and proto-life spore to fly into that 20 ppm water band where it would probably be raining. Life could grow from there.

    It's not likely, but its not a million to one odds. More like 100 to 1. So its possible I think.

  121. @In Catilinam
    For those who still believe there's life on Venus, watch this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO2mVHcSDCo

    Replies: @mal

    I like Thunderf00t, he is a legit scientist (in Czechia or something), but a couple of points if I may.

    1. On 20 ppm water. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but Venus atmosphere is very heavy and hot so water can exist only in a limited band. So those 20 ppm, on a planetary level, can mean an insane amount of water, just localized. I mean, gold in Earths’ crust is only .003 ppm, but if you took all the gold atoms on Earth and put them in one place, you would get a very nice sized lake out of it. Bottom line, planets are big and Venus atmosphere makes “your mamma so fat” jokes look skinny.

    2. Billions to one odds for life. Thats only true if you are looking for novel abiogenesis and evolution. If you are like me and only looking for T-Rexes on Ganymede (regional panspermia, with Earth life getting carried over other bodies during planetary bombardment), the odds are really not that bad.

    I mean I would be surprised the life survived the transfer (I expect baked in fossils), but its not impossible.

    Actually, all it would take is for the lava rock from Earth to burn up in the Venus atmosphere, insulating ash to disperse, and proto-life spore to fly into that 20 ppm water band where it would probably be raining. Life could grow from there.

    It’s not likely, but its not a million to one odds. More like 100 to 1. So its possible I think.

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