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At Mind Matters News: Former astronaut names planet he thinks most likely to have life

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Chris Hadfield picked Kepler-442b. Researchers now seek to narrow down the list of exoplanets for the James Webb Space Telescope to research from thousands to dozens, to avoid wasting time.

Now, even if the James Webb Space Telescope found signatures of life, no one would be able to get there before about 3220 AD, unless we beat the speed of light or discover wormholes that work.

All that said, some are willing to put in a word for less likely planets, including tidally locked ones, where one side always faces the “sun” star and the other always faces the darkness (our Moon is like that in relation to Earth)

News, “Former astronaut names planet he thinks most likely to have life” at Mind Matters News (February 26, 2022)

They are thinking that such planets may have habitable zones between the light side and the dark side.

Takehome: Chris Hadfield points to Kepler-442b as Earth-like but some researchers defend the possibility of life even on tidally locked planets, in “edge” zones.


You may also wish to read: How exoplanets have made the search for ET respectable. Recent years have seen a marked change from official skepticism to official curiosity, which includes more generous funding for the search. Even a top science journal, Nature, now sees false alarms simply as an opportunity to refine the search, currently focused on exoplanets.

and

Interstellar travel: The four top technologies for getting there. Astrophysicist Adam Frank looks at the technologies we meet in science fiction and identifies the challenges that hold them back. In a world where technology must confront fundamental physics, what are the chances and obstacles for cryosleep, light sails, wormholes, and warp drives?

4 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Former astronaut names planet he thinks most likely to have life

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Those permanent margins aren’t very large. If the planet is distant enough from its sun, the whole sun-facing side would get ‘just enough’ heat. The researchers need to widen their (ahem) horizons a bit more.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    “in 2015, a team of astrobiologists argued that several exoplanets identified by NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions, including Kepler-442b, were highly likely to possess liquid surface water, like Earth.
    “We ranked the known Kepler and K2 planets for habitability and found that several have larger values of H [the probability of it being terrestrial] than Earth,” reads the paper.”
    – Victor Tangermann

    Well first off, the belief that you can ‘just add water’ and life will somehow magically poof into existence is, to put it mildly, naive. Thermodynamically, water acts to breakdown long chains of biopolymers.

    As the following recent animated video and article explained, “Water is a big problem”, and “The essential presence of long, homochiral, homolinked biopolymers in a water solution, for all known life forms, is astoundingly unnatural.”

    Challenge to Origin of Life: Biopolymers (Long Story Short, Ep. 5) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qxm3yVTcZ4E

    Long Story Short — A Strikingly Unnatural Property of Biopolymers
    Rob Stadler December 1, 2021
    Excerpt: The essential presence of long, homochiral, homolinked biopolymers in a water solution, for all known life forms, is astoundingly unnatural. It has been seventy years since the Miller-Urey experiment produced amino acids. At that time, we didn’t even know the structure of DNA. Since then, we have learned a great deal about the extremely unnatural properties of biopolymers, which explains why almost no discernable progress has been made toward producing biopolymers via prebiotic processes in laboratories.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2021/12/long-story-short-a-strikingly-unnatural-property-of-biopolymers/

    Moreover, and also contrary to their naive ‘just add water’ presupposition, there are many more conditions that have to be met in order for a planet to be able host life than just ‘adding water’ and the planet being the right distance from the sun.

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability Estimates for the Features Required by Various Life Forms:
    Excerpt:
    Requirements to sustain bacteria for 90 days or less:
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10-614
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10^-333
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^311 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Requirements to sustain unicellar life for three billion year:
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-859
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-578
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^556 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle

    Requirements to sustain intelligent physical life:
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle
    http://d4bge0zxg5qba.cloudfron.....3_ver2.pdf

    Dr. Ross is hardly alone in his observation that the Earth is extremely unique in its ability to host life. Several notable researchers, who have taken an in-depth look at this question, have all reached the same conclusion that Dr. Ross has and found that the Earth is extremely unique in its ability to host life in this universe.

    The Loneliest Planet – Alan Hirshfeld – December 2011
    Excerpt: While he cannot prove a galaxy-wide absence of other civilizations, he presents an array of modern, research-based evidence that renders that conclusion eminently reasonable.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....79152.html

    Scientific Paper: It’s Likely We Are Alone In The Observable Universe – By Hank Berrian – June 26, 2018
    The authors conclude:
    When we take account of realistic uncertainty, replacing point estimates by probability distributions that reflect current scientific understanding, we find no reason to be highly confident that the galaxy (or observable universe) contains other civilizations, and thus no longer find our observations in conflict with our prior probabilities. We found qualitatively similar results through two different methods: using the authors’ assessments of current scientific knowledge bearing on key parameters, and using the divergent estimates of these parameters in the astrobiology literature as a proxy for current scientific uncertainty.
    When we update this prior in light of the Fermi observation, we find a substantial probability that we are alone in our galaxy, and perhaps even in our observable universe
    https://www.dailywire.com/news/32287/scientific-paper-its-likely-we-are-alone-hank-berrien

    “If some god-like being could be given the opportunity to plan a sequence of events with the expressed goal of duplicating our ‘Garden of Eden’, that power would face a formidable task. With the best of intentions but limited by natural laws and materials it is unlikely that Earth could ever be truly replicated. Too many processes in its formation involve sheer luck. Earth-like planets could certainly be made, but each would differ in critical ways. This is well illustrated by the fantastic variety of planets and satellites (moons) that formed in our solar system. They all started with similar building materials, but the final products are vastly different from each other . . . . The physical events that led to the formation and evolution of the physical Earth required an intricate set of nearly irreproducible circumstances.”
    – Peter B. Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe (New York: Copernicus, 2000)

    Still Taking Aim at Eric Metaxas, the Media Underestimate the Degree to which Physicists See Evidence for Intelligent Design – Casey Luskin – January 13, 2015
    Excerpt: “Earth is a precious jewel possessing a rare combination of qualities that happen to make it almost perfect for sustaining life. Lucky Planet investigates the idea that good fortune, infrequently repeated elsewhere in the Universe, played a significant role in allowing the long-term life-friendliness of our home and that it is unlikely we will succeed in finding similarly complex life elsewhere in the Universe.”
    London astrobiologist – David Waltham, Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional — and What That Means for Life in the Universe (Basic Books, 2014), p. 1.)
    – per ENV

    The Privileged Planet – video – (Guillermo Gonzalez)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmIc42oRjm8

    16 Steps to Generating Advanced Life | Dr Hugh Ross – July 13, 2017
    Excerpt: Naturalists, materialists, deists, and most theistic evolutionists would answer that the chemicals on early Earth spontaneously self-assembled into a simple cell that was able to reproduce. From there, the cell’s daughters evolved to produce all the life-forms that have ever existed throughout the past 3.8 billion years. Such a history requires that life make at least 16 transitional steps in order to generate advanced life-forms.,,,
    ,,, Evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala notes that, from a Darwinian perspective, each step is highly improbable. Taking into account just a few of these steps, Ayala determined that the probability of intelligent life arising from bacteria to be less than one chance in 10^1,000,000.(1)
    Physicists John Barrow, Brandon Carter, and Frank Tipler calculated the probability of all 16 steps occurring to be less than one chance in 10^24,000,000.(2) To get a feel for how miniscule this probability is, it is roughly equivalent to someone winning the California lottery 3,000,000 consecutive times where that individual purchases just one lottery ticket each time. Realistically, this probability is indistinguishable from someone winning the California lottery 3,000,000 consecutive times where the individual purchases no tickets at all.
    https://bcooper.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/16-steps-to-generating-advanced-life-dr-hugh-ross/

    “In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God.”
    – William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA

    Verse:

    Isaiah 45:18-19
    For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related interest to this comment “unless we beat the speed of light or discover wormholes that work”, (we will not be able to go to other planets that might host life)

    Well, I hold that we certainly have discovered “wormholes that work”. i.e. Wormholes that go to another place that contains life. Although they are certainly not the type ‘wormholes’ to another place with life that Atheistic Naturalists want to hear about.

    In the following video, Barbara Springer gives her Near Death Experience testimony as to what it felt like for her to go through a ‘tunnel’ to a higher heavenly dimension:

    “I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.”
    Barbara Springer – Near-Death Experience Documentary: “Shadows: Perceptions of Near-Death Experiencers”
    https://youtu.be/HR0x57aMv-k?t=494

    And in the following audio clip, (Vicki Noratuk, who has been blind from birth, and besides being able to see for the very first time during in her life during her Near Death Experience), also gives testimony of going through a tunnel to a higher heaven dimension:

    “I was in a body, and the only way that I can describe it was a body of energy, or of light. And this body had a form. It had a head, it had arms and it had legs. And it was like it was made out of light. And it was everything that was me. All of my memories, my consciousness, everything.”,,, “And then this vehicle formed itself around me. Vehicle is the only thing, or tube, or something, but it was a mode of transportation that’s for sure! And it formed around me. And there was no one in it with me. I was in it alone. But I knew there were other people ahead of me and behind me. What they were doing I don’t know, but there were people ahead of me and people behind me, but I was alone in my particular conveyance. And I could see out of it. And it went at a tremendously, horrifically, rapid rate of speed. But it wasn’t unpleasant. It was beautiful in fact.,, I was reclining in this thing, I wasn’t sitting straight up, but I wasn’t lying down either. I was sitting back. And it was just so fast. I can’t even begin to tell you where it went or whatever it was just fast!” –
    Vicki’s NDE – Blind since birth –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e65KhcCS5-Y

    Moreover, these Near-Death testimonies of going through a tunnel to a higher heavenly dimension fall in line with what we ‘scientifically’ know to be true from Special Relativity,

    December 2021 – Thus in conclusion Einstein himself may not have personally believed in life after death, (nor in a personal God), but Special Relativity itself contradicts Einstein and offers stunning confirmation that Near Death Testimonies are accurate ‘physical’ descriptions of what happens after death, i.e. going to a ‘higher timeless/eternal dimension’, i.e. heavenly dimension, that exists above this temporal realm.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/50-christmases-later/#comment-743334

    Verse:

    Matthew 6:33
    But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

  4. 4
    Fasteddious says:

    I’ve never understood why some people think that a tidally locked planet could harbour life. Any water boiled off the hot side would quickly move to the cold side and freeze out. Any liquid water in the margins between the two sides would eventually be transported to the cold side and freeze out as well. Moreover, the dry, cold atmosphere from the cold side would probably flow into the margins, and the hot, drier atmosphere from the hot side would then flow over that into the cold side. The “weather” would then consist of cold, dry winds howling across the surface at the margins, further narrowing the life supporting area. Mind you, if life existed before tidal locking occurred, then it might be able to adapt to the approach of locking.
    However, I suspect that most tidally locked planets either lack atmosphere and water (e.g. Mercury), or have been around too little time for life to develop. Of course, even that assumes live can “develop” wherever conditions allow, most evidence to the contrary.

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