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  • #16
    Alan, I just tried again, but no joy.
    The NYT usually allows me five(?) articles a month when I follow a link from Arts and Letters Daily, but the sod-off messages I get in your links are different.
    Never mind, I read all about it in local papers anyway.
    Peter Beck is a truly remarkable guy, and his company is doing astonishingly well. For a New Zealand company to launch a GPS satellite for the US military is quite a feat. NZ is proud of him!

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    • #17
      If you've ever been to Iceland, you will probably recall the atmosphere has a smell that is not from rotting fish. Believe it is all geological. You just get used to it.

      To lighten things up a little, I wonder if far off worlds, with powerful telescopes, see us as a planet inhabited by Godzillas when they view our atmosphere?
      Attached Files
      S E Michigan

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      • #18
        Boslab, I sort of had the same thought, must be some smart guys down there... Jim

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        • #19
          that cloud pic is scary!

          It's quite possible that life does (or did) exist elsewhere in our solar system - the challenge is in proving it without contaminating that environment with life from Earth. Life has been found in the most unimaginable places on Earth and I think that there are only a couple of places (the dry valleys of Antarctica are one) where no life has been found. It's a real fun topic to read about that's for sure. Fingers crossed I'll get to teach it again, Astrobiology is one of my favourite courses.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Mike Burch View Post
            . . . Peter Beck is a truly remarkable guy, and his company is doing astonishingly well. . . . NZ is proud of him!
            He is a paragon of the can-do Kiwi spirit, a worthy successor to the legendaries Richard Pearse and Burt Munro. There must be some magic in the waters of Invercargill.

            Self-taught after leaving home at age seventeen, he never attended varsity, and against all odds is an adjunct professor at the University of Auckland.
            Last edited by aostling; 09-17-2020, 03:25 PM.
            Allan Ostling

            Phoenix, Arizona

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            • #21
              Life in the universe- this is a question that doesn't seem to have a bottom line. Our science to date tells us that when the right ingredients are present, life can emerge and evolve. These latest discussions of Venus are saying that the right ingredients are present- and so nobody should be surprised if life is found to exist there. On the same hand, if suitable ingredients are not found, then it should be no surprise that life is not found.

              On earth, deep in the oceans, life is found thriving at enormous pressures and very high temperatures- factors which would seemingly rule out life. It's also found in very cold regions, and in places completely devoid of sunlight. When it comes to aliens, that term has to be defined. It seems to mean 'not found on earth', which could simply mean 'not yet found on earth'. If alien life is found on earth, again it's not something that in my opinion should be a surprise- though it may be 'earth-shaking' in the sense that it doesn't fit with our preconceived notions that we've been indoctrinated to believe.

              We are certainly not ready to receive aliens in the sense of what we're expecting- arms and legs, heads, huge bulging eyes, etc, but we need not continue to believe that 'we are the only life in the universe'. I think one thing we should look at is this idea- if the ingredients for life are found somewhere, either on earth or anywhere in space, then why would life NOT have evolved from that. Is there actually a requirement for some mystically omnipotent entity to spawn it?
              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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              • #22
                I've always been troubled by the narrow definition - or non-definition - of "Life". Something that consumes energy and reproduces itself? Fire fits that definition - is fire "alive"? How bout if we add "evolves to adapt to its environment", or "tends away from randomness and toward complexity", or "spits in the face of the 1st law of thermodynamics"? Even then, the unspoken or not-thought beyond expectation is that "Life" is biological, and not only that, but that it has a biology that is essentially the same as what we call "life" on Earth, probably carbon based.

                If you only look for things you are already familiar with, there is liable to be a lot you miss. I'd like to hear a definition of "life" that is widely accepted by the scientific community, but is a wee bit more abstract and less earth-centric, if there is such a thing.
                "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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                • #23
                  Either we're alone in the universe or we're not. Either thought is equally frightening.
                  Regards, Marv

                  Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things
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                  Location: LA, CA, USA

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                  • #24
                    This reminds me of the joke once told me by a retired archbishop:

                    God was discussing his forthcoming holidays, wondering where He might go.
                    "Well, there's Mars, God" said an angel.
                    "Nah, too hot and arid" replied God.
                    "Have you tried Venus, God?" asked another angel.
                    "Dreadful climate" said God sadly. "All that methane..."
                    Then up piped a young and inexperienced angel.
                    "What about Earth, God?"
                    "Earth? EARTH! Don't talk to me about Earth," roared God. "I went there two thousand years ago, got a girl pregnant—and they're STILL talking about it!"

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by mickeyf View Post
                      I've always been troubled by the narrow definition - or non-definition - of "Life". Something that consumes energy and reproduces itself? Fire fits that definition - is fire "alive"? How bout if we add "evolves to adapt to its environment", or "tends away from randomness and toward complexity", or "spits in the face of the 1st law of thermodynamics"? Even then, the unspoken or not-thought beyond expectation is that "Life" is biological, and not only that, but that it has a biology that is essentially the same as what we call "life" on Earth, probably carbon based.

                      If you only look for things you are already familiar with, there is liable to be a lot you miss. I'd like to hear a definition of "life" that is widely accepted by the scientific community, but is a wee bit more abstract and less earth-centric, if there is such a thing.
                      defining life is tricky, but typically it has to consume energy, reproduce independently of other organisms, pass on information to its offspring, be able to adapt to its environment and a couple of other things I can never remember. As with all definitions it has plenty of holes in it. Viruses fulfil some of that, but can't reproduce on their own = not alive. But parasites also can't reproduce without a host, yet they're alive. Plenty of life can be dormant and so consume little to no energy, but it's still life.

                      The tricky question isn't what is life now but how did life start. There are plenty of interesting hints and a ton of theories, but no answer. You could say that the chance events and conditions that led to life emerging and surviving (especially surviving) on Earth are so unique that it can only be a one off. Or you could say that there are so many similar environments out there (4000+ exoplanets discovered and rising) that it's inconceivable that life hasn't emerged elsewhere in the universe. Until we find it or it finds us, we won't know which is correct or where between those two extremes lies reality.

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                      • #26
                        You can all forget about Venus, Putin says it belongs to Russia, so they will control the tourism business.
                        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                        Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                        Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                        • #27
                          well I guess they were the only ones to land anything on Venus, even if it only survived for a few hours!

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                          • #28
                            Wouldn't it be ironic if what they have found on Venus as potential life came from earth on those Rooskie landers.
                            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                            • #29
                              Remember the sci-fi story about "How To Serve Mankind"?
                              Last edited by Corbettprime; 09-18-2020, 08:21 PM.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by darryl View Post
                                Wouldn't it be ironic if what they have found on Venus as potential life came from earth on those Rooskie landers.
                                it's possible, but pretty unlikely. Most bacterial hitchhikers are likely to be mesophiles (like us) and the conditions on Venus, even in the upper atmosphere, are crazy bonkers extreme. it's a pretty serious consideration in all solar system exploration though. THat's why they nose dived Cassini into Saturn, where it was quickly destroyed in the upper upper atmosphere, so that it wouldn't accidentally crash land on Enceladus or Titan.

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