RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 140,223
Posts: 5,438,028
Members: 24,957
Currently online: 522
Newest member: zanejc

TrekToday headlines

Cumberbatch In Wax
By: T'Bonz on Oct 24

Trek Screenwriter Washington D.C. Appearance
By: T'Bonz on Oct 23

Two Official Starships Collection Ships
By: T'Bonz on Oct 22

Pine In New Skit
By: T'Bonz on Oct 21

Stewart In Holiday Film
By: T'Bonz on Oct 21

The Red Shirt Diaries #8
By: T'Bonz on Oct 20

IDW Publishing January Comics
By: T'Bonz on Oct 20

Retro Review: Chrysalis
By: Michelle on Oct 18

The Next Generation Season Seven Blu-ray Details
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17

CBS Launches Streaming Service
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science and Technology

Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 27 2013, 10:24 PM   #16
Metryq
Captain
 
Metryq's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

Christopher wrote: View Post
But nobody is claiming that comets are bone-dry -- except for one crackpot page I found with lots of exclamation points and misspelled rantings about scientist conspiracies and extended tracts on politics and philosophy.
Then you're not looking very hard. There are plenty of sites with no misspellings, exclamation points, rants, or conspiracy theories. But if a site does not agree with mainstream astrophysics, you might still call them crackpot.

The point is, most people have no idea how tenuous astronomical models are, yet they are always presented as hard fact.
__________________
"No, I better not look. I just might be in there."
—Foghorn Leghorn, Little Boy Boo
Metryq is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 27 2013, 10:34 PM   #17
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

Metryq wrote: View Post
But if a site does not agree with mainstream astrophysics, you might still call them crackpot.
Hey, no need to get personal.


The point is, most people have no idea how tenuous astronomical models are, yet they are always presented as hard fact.
Now, that's simply not true. Science never claims to be the absolute revealed truth. The whole process of science is built around testing and questioning hypotheses -- basing conclusions on the evidence, and changing theories to fit new evidence. Of course there's always room for doubt and re-evaluation in light of new evidence. But what you're doing is ignoring hard evidence we already have that proves there are water and other volatiles on comets.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 30 2013, 10:22 PM   #18
T J
Commodore
 
T J's Avatar
 
Location: milky way... there abouts
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

Thank you everyone for this discussion, very interesting. So the planet is most likely a hot lava like planet, ouch and a pity as it is the closest. I don't think a robotic mission to any other planet we find would be doable, just to far, 8 light years might as well be 50,000. Loved all the extended reading offered here so again, thanks.
__________________
One of the great revelations of space exploration is
the image of the earth, finite and lonely bearing the entire human species through the oceans of space and time. ~ Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
T J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 30 2013, 10:45 PM   #19
ConRefit79
Captain
 
ConRefit79's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

Since we don't currently have a way to view the planet, should we consider sending a message to the system? I know we've been transmitting radio and TV signals for a long time, but if there is an inhabited planet there, a powerful signal, directed at specific system may get their attention. That is if we haven't ruled out other planets orbiting either star.
ConRefit79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 30 2013, 11:31 PM   #20
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

T J wrote: View Post
Thank you everyone for this discussion, very interesting. So the planet is most likely a hot lava like planet, ouch and a pity as it is the closest.
ConRefit79 wrote: View Post
That is if we haven't ruled out other planets orbiting either star.
Alpha Centauri Bb is the only planet we've detected in that system so far, because it's the easiest one to detect using our methods. As I believe I remarked above, we don't yet have the technology to detect an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of either star. So it's way too early to rule out other planets in the Alpha Centauri system. It'll probably take a few more years before we have the means to see what else is there.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1 2013, 01:11 AM   #21
T J
Commodore
 
T J's Avatar
 
Location: milky way... there abouts
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

Which is the exciting part. Year by year our planet hunting methods improve. At first we could only see the largest gas giants close in to their star. Then large rocky planets. The day is coming (I'm sure) when we'll strike gold, figuratively speaking.

Should we then beam a message there once found? That opens a whole other door to a discussion. Remember the Conquistadors and native people of South America. Or for that matter the native North Americans and other European powers. The only thing that could protect us are vast distances... perhaps.

I recently read the synopsis for an older sci-fi book (sorry I don't remember the name, they were cephalopods) where aliens detected our transmissions and took from them that whenever we encounter aliens we were violent. To protect themselves and waltzed right over and wiped out humanity on Earth and throughout our system. Scary thought to be judged and made extinct because of Hollywood and bad writers!
__________________
One of the great revelations of space exploration is
the image of the earth, finite and lonely bearing the entire human species through the oceans of space and time. ~ Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
T J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1 2013, 01:54 AM   #22
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

Remember: Earth has supported life for 3.5 billion years, but has only supported sentient life for a few million years (counting dolphins), has only had civilization for a few thousand years, and has only had the ability to detect radio signals for a few decades. So even if we do find an inhabited planet, that doesn't mean it's at all likely to have intelligence and radio telescopes. Granted, Alpha Centauri seems to be 2 billion years older than Sol, so any life-bearing planets there could have a considerable headstart; but so far as we know, there's nothing inevitable about the emergence of intelligence or technological civilization, or at least no set timetable for its development.

We like to think about discovering extraterrestrial life in terms of communication and interaction because that's what science fiction has conditioned us to think about, and because it's more satisfying to think about. But realistically it's likely to be more a matter of very long-distance spectroscopy of an alien world's atmosphere and surface, and maybe, if we're ambitious enough, some slower-than-light robot probes which will let our children or grandchildren get a detailed look at whatever's living there.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1 2013, 02:07 AM   #23
ConRefit79
Captain
 
ConRefit79's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

While it is true if there is intelligent life there, they may not have radio communication, why would we not want to send a message? If there is life that has radio communication, surely they've heard some of our transmissions. All this would be is, we know your system has planets. It would only take about 10yrs to get a reply if there is one. Start with prime numbers. Then I guess a mathematical model of their system as we know it and of ours.

I know we've been listening for decades. But I don't recall reading any serious attempts at sending messages to some of our neighbors. If we haven't, our nearest neighbor is a good place to start.

Last edited by ConRefit79; May 1 2013 at 04:55 AM.
ConRefit79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1 2013, 02:15 AM   #24
T J
Commodore
 
T J's Avatar
 
Location: milky way... there abouts
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

All very good and true points... in a way science fiction has gives us many delusions. In the end I find when it comes to these matters real life science trumps popular media. Doubtful we'll ever have a "take me to your leader moment", but who says planetary spectral analysis isn't as interesting. To see how a planet developed differently to ours would be engrossing.
__________________
One of the great revelations of space exploration is
the image of the earth, finite and lonely bearing the entire human species through the oceans of space and time. ~ Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
T J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1 2013, 01:45 PM   #25
Metryq
Captain
 
Metryq's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

Christopher wrote: View Post
Hey, no need to get personal.
With all due respect, you were the one who used the term "crackpot."

Christopher wrote: View Post
But what you're doing is ignoring hard evidence we already have that proves there are water and other volatiles on comets.
You mean like this evidence?

Cometary Asteroids
“The electric field near the comet nucleus is expected if a comet is a highly negatively charged body, relative to the solar wind…So the presence of negative oxygen and other ions close to the comet nucleus is to be expected. Negative oxygen ions will be accelerated away from the comet in the cathode jets and combine with protons from the solar wind to form the observed OH radical at some distance from the nucleus. The important point is that the OH does not need to come from water ice on, or in, the comet.”
In other words, a comet with a full coma and tail(s) is a dry rock at the nucleus. The material sputtered from the surface later combines with the Solar wind to form "water."

Does Science Admit When it’s Wrong?
As mentioned above, the Wild 2 mineral cubanite only forms in the presence of liquid water. And the mineral olivine was discovered, which could not have survived in the presence of liquid water over geological time frames. Also discovered was pyrrhorite/sphalerite, which requires extremely high temperatures. But then again, liquid water requires atmospheric or other pressure – it cannot exist in a vacuum. So the investigators needed the water to “quickly refreeze” after the presumed events that caused an original melting of “pockets of ice.”
Christopher wrote: View Post
The whole process of science is built around testing and questioning hypotheses -- basing conclusions on the evidence, and changing theories to fit new evidence.
In idealized science, yes, but institutionalized science induces numerous pressures to preserve a status quo. Grants and/or even careers may be at stake.
When I pointed this out, he admitted to a lifelong obsession with order and symmetry.
...
In his early years of research — when he supposedly collected real experimental data — Stapel wrote papers laying out complicated and messy relationships between multiple variables. He soon realized that journal editors preferred simplicity. “They are actually telling you: ‘Leave out this stuff. Make it simpler,’ ” Stapel told me. Before long, he was striving to write elegant articles.
...
What the public didn’t realize, he said, was that academic science, too, was becoming a business. “There are scarce resources, you need grants, you need money, there is competition,” he said. “Normal people go to the edge to get that money. Science is of course about discovery, about digging to discover the truth. But it is also communication, persuasion, marketing. I am a salesman. I am on the road. People are on the road with their talk. With the same talk. It’s like a circus.”
__________________
"No, I better not look. I just might be in there."
—Foghorn Leghorn, Little Boy Boo
Metryq is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1 2013, 01:46 PM   #26
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

ConRefit79 wrote: View Post
While it is true if there is intelligent life there, they may not have radio communication, why would we not want to send a message?
For one thing, it would take a lot of power to send one that was strong and focused enough to be comprehensible across interstellar distances. Doing that before you've found out if there's any chance of reception is putting the cart before the horse, don't you think? You're focusing on the wrong set of priorities. There are more fundamental questions where our attention should be focused before we get to that one.

And while the desire to communicate with other life in the universe is understandable, it's not the end-all and be-all of science. There's a wealth of amazing stuff we can learn about life and nature and physics without intelligence or communication coming into the picture at all. That's just one narrow slice of the subject.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1 2013, 03:23 PM   #27
ConRefit79
Captain
 
ConRefit79's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

Christopher wrote: View Post
ConRefit79 wrote: View Post
While it is true if there is intelligent life there, they may not have radio communication, why would we not want to send a message?
For one thing, it would take a lot of power to send one that was strong and focused enough to be comprehensible across interstellar distances. Doing that before you've found out if there's any chance of reception is putting the cart before the horse, don't you think? You're focusing on the wrong set of priorities. There are more fundamental questions where our attention should be focused before we get to that one.

And while the desire to communicate with other life in the universe is understandable, it's not the end-all and be-all of science. There's a wealth of amazing stuff we can learn about life and nature and physics without intelligence or communication coming into the picture at all. That's just one narrow slice of the subject.
I would think the cost would be small compared to developing an orbiting telescope array or an interstellar probe.
ConRefit79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1 2013, 05:56 PM   #28
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

^Again, not the point. The problem isn't with whether it would work, the problem is that it's not the best question to ask in the first place. You're getting way ahead of yourself.

Look at it this way: When you're thinking about taking up scuba diving, the first question to focus on is not whether you'll find sunken treasure. There's a ton of other, more fundamental stuff you have to think about and ask and learn first, and that's going to be a lot more useful to think about during the learning process.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 2 2013, 05:22 AM   #29
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

^ Not finding sunken treasure, establishing contact with a mermaid.

One of the earliest things SETI did was sweep local stars, since those are the ones from which we could receive the strongest signal and within a human lifetime. Nothing has been received, so it would be like going scuba diving in a pond yet again on the theory that maybe a bluegill evolved into a mermaid since the last time you went fishing.
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 2 2013, 04:48 PM   #30
ConRefit79
Captain
 
ConRefit79's Avatar
 
Re: Planet around Alpha Centauri - lets talk about it

gturner wrote: View Post
^ Not finding sunken treasure, establishing contact with a mermaid.

One of the earliest things SETI did was sweep local stars, since those are the ones from which we could receive the strongest signal and within a human lifetime. Nothing has been received, so it would be like going scuba diving in a pond yet again on the theory that maybe a bluegill evolved into a mermaid since the last time you went fishing.
They listened for radio transmissions. I still haven't seen anywhere, where we've deliberately sent a message to a single star system.
ConRefit79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 03:50 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.