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Life-Forming Chemicals Found in Distant Galaxy - Comments

pastin's Avatar Comment 1 by pastin

Wow! What does this do to Drakes Equation?

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 09:27:00 UTC | #109050

Synchronium's Avatar Comment 2 by Synchronium

It'll be interesting to see if any glycine is found. Although, even if it were found, all it would mean is that glycine is present, not life itself.

A step in the right direction, I suppose...

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 09:33:00 UTC | #109052

Double Bass Atheist's Avatar Comment 3 by Double Bass Atheist

Astronomers have long said that we are made of "the stuff of stars." He's further evidence. At least that's what I thought when I submitted this link. Apparently Josh used my real name in the credit. Oh well, that's ok JoshÂ… now's as good a time as any to 'come out', and if my devout Christian employers have a problem with that, they can go to their hell! ;-b

~Carmine

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 09:36:00 UTC | #109053

Aaron's Avatar Comment 4 by Aaron

Methamphetamine??? Get me on a rocket ship right...oh wait. Nevermind.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 10:36:00 UTC | #109074

tacitus's Avatar Comment 5 by tacitus

Wow! What does this do to Drakes Equation?

Probably not much. The values inserted into the equation are more likely to be influenced by what we discover about extrasolar planets in this galaxy. Once we can start "sniffing" the atmospheres of Earth-like planets (i.e. rocky worlds in the habitable zone), and we will in a decade or two, then we'll be able to start to hone in on the correct values for the equation's terms.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 10:39:00 UTC | #109076

NormanDoering's Avatar Comment 6 by NormanDoering

Once we can start "sniffing" the atmospheres of Earth-like planets (i.e. rocky worlds in the habitable zone), and we will in a decade or two, then we'll be able to start to hone in on the correct values for the equation's terms.


How do you sniff the atmospheres of Earth-like planets? I assume you're not talking about physically sending probes to those planets to physically sample them.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:16:00 UTC | #109097

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 7 by Steve Zara

How do you sniff the atmospheres of Earth-like planets? I assume you're not talking about physically sending probes to those planets to physically sample them.


Spectroscopy.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:19:00 UTC | #109099

annabanana's Avatar Comment 8 by annabanana

Norman, it would essentially be the same thing they're doing in the article, it will just be more precisely targeted. Different chemicals express different types of movement due to the nature of their chemical bonds. We have essentially catalogued these movements so that they are fairly easily identifiable.

On a side note, if you've ever been through organic chemistry and used the older technology, mass spectroscopy is NOT that easy, but fortunately newer technology than my lab was equipped with is available.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:27:00 UTC | #109104

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 9 by IaninPA

Please God! let me live long enough to be on the first Starship Mayflower off this rock to the nearest habitable planet so I can escape all this religious insanity.

Oh - that's right.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:30:00 UTC | #109108

annabanana's Avatar Comment 10 by annabanana

*laughing and crying at the same time*

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:35:00 UTC | #109111

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 11 by al-rawandi

Ian,


I don't know if you are a Star Trek fan (starship reference, sorry), but I simply loved the absence of religion. At the same time the cooperation between various races/species.

Maybe the latter due to the former?

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:35:00 UTC | #109112

tacitus's Avatar Comment 12 by tacitus

It would just be cool if we found some other intelligent species to cooperate with!

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:41:00 UTC | #109115

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 13 by Steve Zara

I don't know if you are a Star Trek fan (starship reference, sorry), but I simply loved the absence of religion. At the same time the cooperation between various races/species.


Absence of religion? What about the Bajorans? What about the Klingons?

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:44:00 UTC | #109117

JSW's Avatar Comment 14 by JSW

The Klingons didn't mention their religion in Star Trek other than to state that they had no devil. There was no species called "Bajorans" mentioned at all.

You must be thinking of one of those other shows.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:52:00 UTC | #109120

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 15 by IaninPA

Ahhh.. Busted! I am a closet Star Trek fan - please don't out me I am not ready to come out yet!

To show how deep the nerdyness runs I refer you to episode 14, season 1 "Balance of terror" which begins with Kirk officiating at the marriage of two crew members. Before the ceremony is interrupted by the Romulans Kirk makes an allusion to faith with the following:

"In accordance with our many beliefs..."

That is the only clear reference to the existence of religion I remember in the Original series. Steve is right to mention that in the spin offs it became much more explicit. Shame really.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:25:00 UTC | #109139

BrandonB's Avatar Comment 16 by BrandonB

JSW, Steve is refering to the Bajorans of "The Next Generation", "Deep Space Nine", etc. They had all these silly rituals and prophecies.

BTW, I've been lurking here reading the articles and all of your comments for a while now, but I just registered today. Nice to finally "meet" you!

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:47:00 UTC | #109165

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 17 by IaninPA

Welcome BrandonB!

This is the best site in the Alpha Quadrant.

:-)

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:52:00 UTC | #109167

obscured by clouds's Avatar Comment 18 by obscured by clouds

Apparently Josh used my real name in the credit. Oh well, that's ok JoshÂ… now's as good a time as any to 'come out', and if my devout Christian employers have a problem with that, they can go to their hell! ;-b


Sorry that was me!

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:57:00 UTC | #109173

hurrican's Avatar Comment 19 by hurrican

Only thing was that the Bajorans gods were actually wormhole aliens.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:59:00 UTC | #109174

tacitus's Avatar Comment 20 by tacitus

The Original Series had an episode called "Bread and Circuses" set on an Earth-like planet where the equivalent of the Roman Empire never fell. It involved a cult who were supposedly "sun" worshippers, but it turns out at the end they are "son" worshippers -- i.e. the "Son of God". I haven't seen the episode in many years but I seem to recall that after all was revealed, the show ended with the cast all giving each other "significant looks".

A pretty heavy dose of religion if you ask me, to the point of addressing the question if the Christian God exists then will other planets have their own messiahs?

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:02:00 UTC | #109176

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 21 by Steve Zara

The Klingons didn't mention their religion in Star Trek other than to state that they had no devil.


http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Klingon_mythology

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:04:00 UTC | #109177

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 22 by IaninPA

Comment #114605 by tacitus:

A pretty heavy dose of religion if you ask me


You are right! How could I have forgotten that one. Probably because it's a really crap episode. :-)

But yes, that one was pretty awful in its pandering to Christianity.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:05:00 UTC | #109178

happinessiseasy's Avatar Comment 23 by happinessiseasy

The new wide-band spectrometer at Arecibo can digest 800 megahertz chunks of data at a time.


Uhh... Megahertz is not an amount; it's a rate. It's like saying "This car can travel 32 miles per hour at a time."

Maybe they meant Megabytes? Or maybe they meant the CPU operates at 800 MHz. Either way, wtf?

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:26:00 UTC | #109186

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 24 by Steve Zara

Uhh... Megahertz is not an amount; it's a rate. It's like saying "This car can travel 32 miles per hour at a time."


No, in this case it is an amount. It means it can deal with all frequencies within a range of 0-800MHz from a given frequency.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:31:00 UTC | #109193

Friend Giskard's Avatar Comment 25 by Friend Giskard

Just to add all that I know about religion in Star Trek.

I remember in one of the original episodes, Kirk and the crew meet Apollo, last survivor of the ancient gods who once lived on Earth. Near the the end Kirk makes a statement to the effect that we don't need those gods anymore because one god is enough for us.

In contrast, though, check out Picard's explicitly atheistic rant against religion in an episode called "Who Watches the Watchers".

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:33:00 UTC | #109195

happinessiseasy's Avatar Comment 26 by happinessiseasy

Ah. It can digest chunks or data 800MHz wide. That makes more sense. I'm a computer scientist, rather than a "Spectroscopist" or something similar.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:34:00 UTC | #109196

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 27 by al-rawandi

Ian,


My post got lost.


But I would say that Picard would say "engage" and not invoke Jesus power. The Klingons had a sort of religion, but they were portrayed as violent and backward, which seems to be endemic to the religious in any galaxy.

Whatever religion there was, it was very marginal. Starfleet was not a religious institution, the crew members were not portrayed as religious in their personal lives.

I also need to say that as a yougin' that I grew up around Star Trek TNG. So I am biased to that representation of the show.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:42:00 UTC | #109203

MPhil's Avatar Comment 28 by MPhil

Ah yes, Friend Giskard - the wonderful speech:

"Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to send them back into the Dark Ages of superstition and ignorance and fear. No! We will find some way to undo the damage we've caused."

Add to that that Roddenberry was a staunch anti-clericalist and atheist

But there are a few more episodes in which this becomes clear. Some in TOS. Sadly, it went all wrong with the later seasons of DS9, but what the hell...

Btw and back on topic - cool news!

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:43:00 UTC | #109205

epeeist's Avatar Comment 29 by epeeist

Comment #114528 by Steve Zara


How do you sniff the atmospheres of Earth-like planets?
Spectroscopy.
Specifically microwave spectroscopy. They will be looking for the rotational spectrum of molecules. A fair number have been found, glycine has been claimed but not confirmed.

There is a substantial amount of ethanol out there, even if methamphetamine hasn't been found.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:50:00 UTC | #109210

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 30 by IaninPA

Well, when Star Trek went down the tubes with "enterprise" and their ridiculous plot lines I defected and became a Battle Galactica fan.

They unashamedly put religion in that show and made it a major plot point. I'm interested to see where they go with it if they ever make the fourth series.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:59:00 UTC | #109216