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Herschel Space Observatory Finds Precursors of Life In Orion

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-not-as-we-know-it dept.

Space 142

ogre7299 recommends an announcement out of Caltech on a milestone for HIFI, the Herschel Space Observatory's Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared. "The Herschel Space Observatory has revealed the chemical fingerprints of potential life-enabling organic molecules in the Orion Nebula, a nearby stellar nursery in our Milky Way galaxy. ... This detailed-spectrum, obtained with the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI) — one of Herschel's three innovative instruments — demonstrates the gold mine of information that Herschel-HIFI will provide on how organic molecules form in space. The spectrum, one of the first to be obtained with HIFI since it returned to full health in January 2010 following technical difficulties, clearly demonstrates that the instrument is working well. ... [The HIFI instrument had previously been offline since] August 2009 when HIFI experienced an unexpected voltage spike in the electronic system, probably caused by a high-energy cosmic particle, resulting in the instrument shutting down. On 14 January 2010, HIFI was successfully switched back on using its spare electronics, with science observations commencing on 28 February."

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142 comments

Nuke it! (3, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392722)

It's the only way to be sure!

 

Re:Nuke it! (2, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392864)

The orion nebula is (very) roughly spherical, with a radius of 12 ly. It's about 1344ly away. Developing the technology to deliver millions of nukes across hundreds of parsecs might well be the sort of stimulus are planet needs to crawl out of this recession.

Re:Nuke it! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393062)

pedant:
are = The second-person singular and plural forms of the verb "to be",
our = Our is the possessive determiner of the personal pronoun "we".
Rrr = What a pirate or old sea captain says.

Re:Nuke it! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393116)

pedant:
Aspergers victims/grammar nazis should be seen and not heard. You losers can't see the forest from the trees. BTW, I still kicked all your asses in math and science at Uni.

Re:Nuke it! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393382)

The correct formulation is "can't see the wood for the trees".

No it isn't! (1)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394066)

It's, "..can't see the forest for the trees".

Re:No it isn't! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394468)

It's, "..can't see the forest for the trees".

It's "plenty of fish in the seas". I suppose there is some audible similarity, but let's not loose sight of the big picture by focusing on the details.

*Yes, I threw that "loose" in their instead of "lose" to annoy the pedants. Can you find the other one? Mail a letter to Lord British at Origin Systems detailing your accomplishment!

Re:No it isn't! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394566)

Wrong, you fat cunt.

Re:Nuke it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393960)

Uni? You say that like you're actually still proud of what you did while you were a child in school.

When you can kick someone's ass in the real world, then you can talk.

Re:Nuke it! (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393488)

Hmm. Perhaps, I should of used the preview function.

Re:Nuke it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394740)

"Hmm. Perhaps, I should of used the preview function."
Hmm. Perhaps, I should have used the preview function.
ftfy :^)

Re:Nuke it! (1)

rubicelli (208603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395474)

"Hmm. Perhaps, I should of used the preview function."
Hmm. Perhaps, I should have used the preview function.
ftfy :^)

*whooosh*

DNA in spaaaaace. (2, Funny)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392732)

Can pigs be far behind

Re:DNA in spaaaaace. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394672)

My dad was out driving in country Western Australia once where the roads are seriously straight, remote and flat. He passes this line across the road. One kilometre ahead there is a second line with a sign, something like police aircraft speed detection.

Some smartarse had updated the sign by appending "pigs in space".

Definition of "working well" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31392750)

"The spectrum [...] clearly demonstrates that the instrument is working well."

Yep, we got a result that's good for some headlines, so clearly the system is working well! Otherwise, we'd have had to conclude it's still not working.

Re:Definition of "working well" (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392776)

Oh no! They make headlines with the device! It's obviously corrupted and not pure Science!

Re:Definition of "working well" (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393540)

Not Science? Not Science???

I'm doing a series of papers on the Procedural Generation of Headlines in Science Journals, you insensitive clod!

Re:Definition of "working well" (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394094)

Yep, we got a result that's good for some headlines, so clearly the system is working well!

The "Headline of the month club"?
That's one giant leap below the "Publication of the month club". Less effort, too.

Just don't go there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31392758)

Or The Guardian gets you! At least until you have invented something called 'merculite' and stuck it in missiles.

So that's where he went! (1)

blirp (147278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392760)

God isn't dead, he just moved to Orion!

M.

Re:So that's where he went! (2, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393278)

God isn't dead, he just moved to Orion!

But, did God need a starship to get there?

Re:So that's where he went! (2, Funny)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393684)

No. He actually moved there to him. Less work than figuring out how to make a starship.

So, what next? (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392780)

Ok, so lets say we do find life even as advanced as, say, rats. What do we do with that information? Especially if its so far out that we can't possibly make it to that planet?

Re:So, what next? (4, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392812)

We send a probe? We rejoice in the fact that there is life outside of Earth, that there is strong possibility we are not the only intelligent life in this Universe?

Also prepare for our new overlords.

Re:So, what next? (2, Interesting)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393112)

We send a probe?

... which we don't sterilize properly or which picks up life earth has scattered around the solar system. Then this type of life, which has a hundreds of millions of years head start, kills all the native life. But that might explain the Star Trek nose-ridge aliens.

I would really want to leave another planet with no interesting life alone so see what other molecular bases support life.

Re:So, what next? (3, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393224)

Who ever said the probe had to land on the planet?

Re:So, what next? (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393306)

Yeah, more likely NASA will get their feet and meters mixed up again and the probe will spectacularly crash on the planet.
In the process of crashing it will probably also wipe out a budding otter civilization.

Re:So, what next? (2, Funny)

migla (1099771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393844)

Do you know something we don't know about advances in beam-up technology? Of course the probe has to land to get access to the butts to be probed. And butts need probing. Aliens always do that. And in this case, the aliens are us!

Re:So, what next? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394166)

You're a rather silly person to assume they have a "butt."

Re:So, what next? (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396690)

It seems you're the silly one, for assuming that any form of life wouldn't have an input and output port. Ports need probing!

Re:So, what next? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393266)

We send a large fleet of Death-Stars armed with Stellar-Converters to exterminate those Antareans,

Re:So, what next? (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393416)

or, if there are rats, then it's a potential location for acquiring emergency nutrition supplies in case a space trip goes awry...

Celebrate! (2, Insightful)

bsharma (577257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392910)

Why rats? we should celebrate it as among the greatest discoveries if we can even confirm something as primitive as a worm. Evolutionarily, the jump from inorganic to a worm is far bigger jump than from a worm to (even an intelligent) man.

Re:Celebrate! (1, Insightful)

bsharma (577257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392970)

Can evidence of even primitive life in galaxies so far away that they may not even exist now disprove all geocentric religions? (e.g. the Abrahamic faiths)

Re:Celebrate! (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393086)

No. That is the great thing about faith, it can not be proven wrong. Evidence will be ignored by certain groups, some more than others, we still have flat earthers, people who claim that cell phones make them ill and vegans. I could claim 1 + 1 != 2 all day long and still believe it even if you whip out page 379 of Principia Mathematica.

Re:Celebrate! (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393308)

Arggggggggggggg the Principia Mathematica. Why did you mention that on a Sunday? I was trying to forget about Russell.

Re:Celebrate! (1)

smaddox (928261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395334)

Can you show me the page in Principia Mathematica where it proves the assumed axioms? It seems you have to start with something to get something.

Scientists and Mathematicians aren't immune to blind faith.

Re:Celebrate! (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396524)

Not off the top of my head, I believe they at least define addition. But its not exactly what I would call light reading.

Re:Celebrate! (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393172)

Can evidence of even primitive life in galaxies so far away that they may not even exist now disprove all geocentric religions?

Probably about as well as the existence of native americans wiped out Christianity in 1492. Err, that's not quite how it turned out.

Considering how televangelists and shortwave broadcasters like to spend money, to blast people whom aren't interested with religious indoctrination, I'd suggest buying stock in companies that manufacture large satellite dishes and high power transmitters. Also expect at attempt at missionary activity (and by missionary activity, I'm not talking about the position).

Of course there is a bad side, the aliens will probably think we're idiots. On the other hand, if they've been watching TV, they already know that.

Re:Celebrate! (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393246)

Don't forget your own arrogance in assuming the Aliens do not believe in Gods or have their own religions.

Re:Celebrate! (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393312)

I don't think that was arrogance. I think he simply assumed they would be smarter than humans.

Re:Celebrate! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393228)

Can evidence of even primitive life in galaxies so far away that they may not even exist now disprove all geocentric religions? (e.g. the Abrahamic faiths)

I frequently see people raise concerns like this. What I don't understand about it is simple: nowhere does the Bible (including the Pentateuch) say "Earth is the one and only place where God created life and there are no aliens of any sort". Or if it says that, I certainly cannot find it and have never received a reference for where it may be found. If it did say that, then I would understand the concerns about extraterrestrial life and the damage it might cause for various religions. So far as I can tell, the entire concern is either the doctrine of a particular church, making it intellectually dishonest to imply that this affects all Abrahamic faiths, or it's complete bullshit.

It's possible the Quran might have such teachings as I am much less familiar with it, but again if it were only Islam then that would not be "the Abrahamic faiths" it would be "one particular Abrahamic faith".

Re:Celebrate! (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393346)

nowhere does the Bible (including the Pentateuch) say "Earth is the one and only place where God created life and there are no aliens of any sort". Or if it says that, I certainly cannot find it and have never received a reference for where it may be found. If it did say that, then I would understand the concerns about extraterrestrial life and the damage it might cause for various religions.

http://www.roseavenue.org/Who%20we%20are/what%20we%20believe/Bible/complete%20and%20perfect.htm [roseavenue.org]

The Bible is "perfect and complete". If the Bible didn't mention it, it didn't happen.

Re:Celebrate! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394576)

nowhere does the Bible (including the Pentateuch) say "Earth is the one and only place where God created life and there are no aliens of any sort". Or if it says that, I certainly cannot find it and have never received a reference for where it may be found. If it did say that, then I would understand the concerns about extraterrestrial life and the damage it might cause for various religions.

http://www.roseavenue.org/Who%20we%20are/what%20we%20believe/Bible/complete%20and%20perfect.htm [roseavenue.org]

The Bible is "perfect and complete". If the Bible didn't mention it, it didn't happen.

The way I have always understood that, is that for a Christian, the Bible is "everything you need to know" and it is not "everything that could possibly be known." This is obvious, as the Bible does not mention the transistor, the internal combustion engine, integrated circuits, rock music, rap music, or many other things we now know of. In the sense that it's "everything you need to know" (i.e. to be a Christian) it is indeed perfect and complete. This neither affirms nor denies the existence of extraterrestrial life, however.

So I still consider my question unanswered. I haven't found a Biblical basis for the concern that ETs would destroy the Abrahamic religions as we know them. The way a group or a church chooses to interpret the Bible is not the same thing as the Bible making a positive statement to that effect. I mean, for that matter, some passages in the Bible were once used to justify American slavery of black people, something that all serious Christians would universally recognize as wrong. That does not mean you can find any passage in the Bible that says "thou shalt enslave a group of people based on race and treat them in an inhuman fashion" because it doesn't say that. So I think it's important to separate what the Bible actually says from what certain people decide to read into it.

Re:Celebrate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31395916)

You do realize that perfect and complete are two different ways to translate the same word from Greek?

Actually all Christians that actually believe in God believe in extra-terrestrial life. (God himself)

Based on the principle of Jeremiah 16:21, if you find an intelligent species inhabiting another planet that knows nothing about YHWH, then you have a case.

Re:Celebrate! (4, Interesting)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393424)

The American Breed of Christian is something totally nuts. I'm a Christian, and I can tell you some of those religious Americans I've met scare me. Truly something else, really *really* narrow-minded, extreme fundamentalist and take the bible literally (WTF?).

I never understood the vitrol some people on /. show towards religion, until I met some of their Christians. It explained a lot, very irritating people, kept shoving god into every discussion or action.

Note: I'm sure there are very many normal Christians there too, just that a minority really really give the rest a bad name (I hope to god they are a minority).

And what's with tele-evangelism? It's like they turned religion into some sort of pay-for entertainment. I didn't get it at all.

Re:Celebrate! (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394832)

But isn't that because the US was originally founded by European Christians who believed that they were more serious about their religion than their peers?

Re:Celebrate! (2, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395564)

And what's with tele-evangelism? It's like they turned religion into some sort of pay-for entertainment.

You answered the question yourself, I've just emphasized the relevant bit.

Re:Celebrate! (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396714)

Can evidence of even primitive life in galaxies so far away that they may not even exist now disprove all geocentric religions? (e.g. the Abrahamic faiths)

Not any more than evolution has managed to disprove the same religions, I'd wager. Oh there might be life elsewhere, but only man is created directly by God in his image and had Jesus Christ die for our sins. That's the true arrogance in those religions, not whether there's some überpowerful guy who runs the universe but that we humans are so important to him. If we were 7 billion whiny ants to him, God would still be God but religion wouldn't have nearly the same appeal.

Not rats but 'Space Herring' (1)

fuego451 (958976) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393314)

I like the idea of space herring for a couple of reasons. It would lend credence to the poem 'Wynken, Blynken and Nod' which mom read to me as a child and it would give the Discovery Channel something to look forward to other than another case of crabs.

Re:So, what next? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393330)

Isn't it obvious? We figure out how to get over there, go there and deliver lots and lots of anal probes!

Re:So, what next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393460)

We can't possibly make it? As a whole, we don't seem to be interested in making it. Life might make us all interested. Then I'll show you 'can't possibly'.

Re:So, what next? (1)

DustoneGT (969310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393784)

Depends...did the spectrometer find any signs of unobtainium? If it did, we form a quasi-governmental corporate entity to kill the rats and harvest the minerals.

Re:So, what next? (4, Insightful)

johno.ie (102073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393832)

If you want to rank life forms according to some arbitrary scale from most to least advanced, you'll find that rats are just as advanced as humans. Their body chemistry is almost identical to ours, they exhibit high intelligence and ability to solve problems. They outnumber humans worldwide, and their high reproductive rate allows them to evolve much faster than us, they probably go through 100 generations for each human generation.

Re:So, what next? (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394428)

Humans kill rats at will... if we really wanted to we could wipe them out, its just a matter of them being good at hiding and your average human having other things to worry about or not caring that much. I would say that ability (although hypothetical, try imagining rats wiping humans out on purpose...) makes humans more advanced.

Re:So, what next? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393846)

Ok, so lets say we do find life even as advanced as, say, rats. What do we do with that information? Especially if its so far out that we can't possibly make it to that planet?

We reduce our ignorance as a species. You see, science is about discovering the truths of the universe, regardless of whether or not certain truths are applicable to profitable business plans.

Re:So, what next? (1)

Xone47 (57666) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395046)

Great point. We should probably stop any and all science that doesn't have direct, actionable results. Like stop sending robots to the bottom of the ocean. It's not like we'll ever move down there...

I've seen things ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31392796)

you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die.

- Roy Batty

Reverse optical psychology (5, Insightful)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31392976)

I don't know if they have thought of this, but it seems that what is not seen has more meaning than what is seen. If I had the data, I would look to see if the absorption spectrum was different at the primary frequency of the solar emissions and would indicate to me that life was present. I would assume that inorganic materials would have an absorption spectrum which was different from organic life as it uses this energy to manufacture itself. It would seem that this would be generally true in the overall spectrum of the universe and like the cosmic background measurements there should be a signature of the universe without life and one that indicates life. Just a thought.

Re:Reverse optical psychology (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393024)

You sir sound very high.

Re:Reverse optical psychology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393558)

Nah, just look for empty beer cans floating in space. The greatest indicator of intelligent life.

Re:Reverse optical psychology (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393992)

Sounds extremely oversimplified to me... I don‘t think that organic material necessarily has a different spectrum.

Re:Reverse optical psychology (2, Informative)

nashv (1479253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394284)

Umm, no.

1. You are assuming that all life works in the same way, that it will be based directly on absorption of solar energy.

2. Even if it was happening as such, the amount of light absorbed by life in any part of the spectrum represents an unbelievably small fraction of the total solar output. On Earth, the total radiations received is ~1% of total solar output. And of course, plants use a fraction of that energy. To detect this over cosmic scales, you would need an instrument with sensitivity that is probably not achievable (yet, anyway) due to basic quantum barriers.

3. The instrument has high spectral sensitivity, you would need to couple that with spatial sensitivity to figure out if there is actually a local region where the spectrum is different. Given that planets are again, very tiny compared to stars , and we are just beginning to observe them indirectly out of our solar system, that seems like a hard call.

4. Finally, how would you know what the real , unperturbed spectrum of the star? The HIFI can detect signatures in the infra-red which is essentially vibrational and rotational modes of molecules. We know for sure that these organic molecules are far to unstable to exist in the stellar environment. So there must be a pool of it which the light is passing through. Their way is far better than yours because it works.

Re:Reverse optical psychology (1)

wasmoke (1055116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396920)

You seem to have the wrong idea about what has been found. They have not found *life* in space but organic molecules commonly referred to as the "building blocks of life." This really is not a new development- we've found I want to say 92 (don't quote me on that number) amino acids in the middle of chondritic meteorites. To get life you essentially need to stick a bunch of these precursors in a bag (we use lipids on Earth) and get them to metabolize and replicate.

Anyone else (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31393056)

Anyone else having trouble logging in.

(Posted as AC for obvious reasons)

Why did they wait 5 months? (1)

laing (303349) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393088)

OK so their instrument had an upset. That sort of thing happens in space. Why did it take them 5 months to switch over to the redundant string?

Re:Why did they wait 5 months? (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393332)

To make sure that switching over would not cause problems of its own. One does not make changes to spacecraft operations lightly.

Re:Why did they wait 5 months? (2, Insightful)

laing (303349) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393538)

OK, maybe you are involved in the mission and know more than I. What I do know is that all spacecraft have an expected mission life (anywhere from a few months to 15 years depending upon the mission). Generally when an anomaly occurs there is a balancing act between understanding what went wrong and getting things going again quickly.

Five months is an awfully long time to spend scratching your head if you've got a redundant string ready to be switched on.

Re:Why did they wait 5 months? (1)

nashv (1479253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394342)

There isn't exactly a deadline on finding the signature of life in the Universe. Sure , it would be cool....but if the star/nebula I am looking at has a life of millions of years, I'd rather wait 5 months and be sure the instrument is fine, rather than flick it on to have a series of other mishaps because 50 other components had begun to malfunction.

Re:Why did they wait 5 months? (1)

close_wait (697035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394506)

Because unless you know what fried the primary controller, there's a good chance you'll just fry the back up controller too when turning it on.

Re:Why did they wait 5 months? (2, Insightful)

ogre7299 (229737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393572)

OK so their instrument had an upset. That sort of thing happens in space. Why did it take them 5 months to switch over to the redundant string?

It took them 5 months to switch over to the redundant system because they wanted to be sure that they fully understood what happened with the first failure. The problem was that there wasn't software protection for the critical systems.
They then had to put preventative measures in place to ensure that it didn't happen to the redundant system; otherwise they would be screwed. The HIFI instrument has some of the most discovery potential and its capabilities cannot be duplicated from earth or and only partly with the SOFIA airborne mission.

Re:Why did they wait 5 months? (1)

laing (303349) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393688)

Thanks! That's a reasonable explanation. The post (and the linked content) did not describe the anomaly in detail. Generally an SEU is a recoverable event. Apparently this one caused actual hardware damage to the primary string. I'm glad that they were able to figure out a solution and make this amazing observation in Orion.

Re:Why did they wait 5 months? (1)

uburoy (1118383) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393716)

It is a very complex instrument. And a cosmic is not the first hypothesis in these case. It was very hard to find out the cause of the issue. And they could not risk switching to backup without knowing for sure it would not fail as the first one, and loose the instrument for good. It is not like you can go out there and repair it by trial and errors.

Sigh. (-1, Offtopic)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393138)

Please: Caltech, not Cal Tech. Caltech (or, just Tech) is not part of the UC system. Yes, one writes or says, "Cal Berkeley" or just "Cal" for many of the UC schools or even some of the State schools, but the California Institute of Technology is an independent, private university. As such, Caltech has chosen to use one word, not two, in its official nickname.

Re:Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394370)

"MIT wannabe" also works.

Very Old News (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393658)

The Dogon already knew of the existance of life in Orion centuries ago... http://www.unmuseum.org/siriusb.htm [unmuseum.org]

Re:Very Old News (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394654)

The Dogon already knew of the existance of life in Orion centuries ago

Unfortunately (for it is a rather cool story) there is convincing evidence that it was cultural contamination (see Walter E. A. van Beek: "Dogon Restudied: A Field Evaluation of the Work of Marcel Griaule." Current Anthropology, 32 (1991): 139-167).

Herschel's seen things you people wouldn't believe (2, Interesting)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31393766)

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Precursors of life off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die.
- Herschel Space Observatory's last transmission before deorbiting, November 2019

Small temp variations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31394030)

Here we are waiting for China's pollution as a way to stop the First World eternal climate debate and force them to admit that looting the Earth isn't a sound strategy.

Meanwhile, and on topic, why not check for small temp increases?

Any advanced civilization is bound to generate heat -- and hopefully find a way out of it. If we filter these places about which our records point to a small temperature increase (e.g. 5C), we might find someone doing the same error we're doing.

Of course, we could find the Genii. 8-/

no nerds here (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394134)

A story about possible life in Orion and not a single comment about green slave women? What is wrong with you people?

Now, get off my lawn.

Hurry already (1)

chucklebutte (921447) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394136)

the search for life else where needs to hurry up already. The moment life is detected else where will once and for end the silly notion of god or religion. I cant wait!

Re:Hurry already (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396088)

But God is by definition "life elsewhere."

If you want to really shake a religionist to the core, find an extraterrestrial that doesn't age or die, lives in a paradise/heaven, and knows nothing of the LORD God or ole sweet Jesus. That will break their faith if anything will.

Re:Hurry already (3, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396112)

"The moment life is detected else where will once and for end the silly notion of god or religion."

Because?

Diplomatic envoys (1)

Kulfaangaren! (1294552) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394372)

We need to immediately send diplomatic representation to these little space guys.
I was thinking maybe ...
  1. Bill Clinton (Head of delegation)
  2. Britney Spears (Cultural attache)
  3. MPAA, RIAA (IP attaches. If these aliens has been monitoring our radio/TV signals they have done so without paying the "artists" what they are owed, they are pirates!!!! I see a new ACTA discussion participant on the horizon. This in combination with that we really really don't want them on planet earth.)

Why are headline so extereme? (1)

JDOHERTY (323140) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394574)

Why is astronomy layman reporting (and global warming, and meteor science) all about the extreme case? Only so many characters in the headline field? Too much character in the headline writer? Thing is you're wearing out the reader - in a few more generations the only way for this story to get noticed will be "Aliens From Orion On Their Way To Eat You".

Not Guildford after all (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394760)

Not news, we all know that Ford came from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and not Guildford after all.

Caltech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31395122)

Please. It's Caltech, not Cal Tech.

Find life or we're dead meat (1)

gamecrusader (1684024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395518)

I hope they find Life soon
It would be a bummer if Planet earth was on a list for demolition and since planet earth hasn't so far found life we haven't found out that our planet was scheduled for demolition.
and they say your planet has been scheaduled for demoliton you (planet earth) have not replyed there for your planet will be destroyed for an interglatic teleportation byway

Organic Molecules (4, Informative)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396394)

Its not exactly new that organic molecules and precursors of life exist in the Orion Nebula. Radio telescopes have found them since the sixties, and the Orion Nebula is an especially easy place to detect such compounds. Still the Herschel satalite, can view Nebula in unpresidented detail.

---

Radio Astronomy [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

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