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Astronomers Estimate Milky Way May Have 100 Billion Alien Worlds

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the that's-a-lot-of-away-missions dept.

Space 294

astroengine writes "Last year, using the exoplanets discovered by the Kepler space telescope as a guide, astronomers took a statistical stab at estimating the number of exoplanets that exist in our galaxy. They came up with at least 50 billion alien worlds. Today, astronomers from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md., and the PLANET (Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork) collaboration have taken their own stab at the 'galactic exo-planetary estimate' and think there are at least 100 billion worlds knocking around the Milky Way."

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Sweet (5, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669640)

Then statistically tell me which planet has Amazonian Women, hot green chicks, and Galactic Girls Gone Wild.
No tentacle monsters though, they will take all our womens!

Re:Sweet (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669738)

No tentacle monsters though, they will take all our womens!

Only the Japanese ones.

Re:Sweet (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670248)

No tentacle monsters though, they will take all our womens!

Only the Japanese ones.

I experience an alien world ever time I return from vacation, sushi or no.

Re:Sweet (5, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669740)

You just want death by snu snu

Re:Sweet (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670030)

You just want death by snu snu

Do you blame him? Without a partner, he's just having snu.

Re:Sweet (5, Funny)

tenaciousj (769989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669798)

Unfortunately, the probability of you finding one of those just went from 1:50 billion to 1:100 billion.

Re:Sweet (4, Informative)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669876)

Unfortunately, the probability of you finding one of those just went from 1:50 billion to 1:100 billion.

That is assuming that a planet with Amazonian Women, hot green chicks, and Galactic Girls Gone Wild is unique. If it is the sort of planet that comes up once in every ten billion, his chances of finding such a planet just doubled.

Re:Sweet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669982)

So you're saying there's a chance. Sweet!

Plus minus 50 billion (-1, Troll)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669646)

Who cares

Re:Plus minus 50 billion (-1, Offtopic)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669886)

Hey i've got a score of minus -1
That's pretty insignificant compared to all those alien worlds out here :)
You can do better than that asshole...Bring it on baby..who ever you are..LOL..hehe
Mod me down..modderfokker

Re:Plus minus 50 billion (1, Offtopic)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670056)

you're really upset at being downmod for a two word post?

something tells me you need to reinforce your ego somehow - it's looking a bit fragile.

Re:Plus minus 50 billion (-1, Offtopic)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670120)

Yes, but i don't know how to do that.
Could you please help me...friend?

Re:Plus minus 50 billion (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670414)

you're really upset at being downmod for a two word post?

concise wisdom?

redundant (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669662)

aren't all worlds, not our own, alien?

Re:redundant (2)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669790)

aren't all worlds, not our own, alien?

Yes, that's why we call them alien worlds....

Re:redundant (4, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669916)

I think he's trying to say that its not necessary to say alien worlds, just say worlds. He does kinda have a point, saying alien worlds makes it sound like we're not one of the 100 billion, which we are.

Re:redundant (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38670360)

We are the 0.0000001%...

This Universe Sucks (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669678)

Why couldn't I be born to a universe with a less restrictive set of physical laws?!

Re:This Universe Sucks (5, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669752)

You were. You just don't know it yet.

Re:This Universe Sucks (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38670006)

*You were, humanity is just too stupid to look past their own interpretations of physical law and accept that things aren't limited to how they see them.

FTFY

Re:This Universe Sucks (0, Flamebait)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670064)

all aboard the GodBus!

man, i wish the universe were so simple we could just ask God for interstallar travel :)

Re:This Universe Sucks (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670164)

Well we can ask God for just that. And Her mode of granting the prayer is likely to be Her commonest way: letting us figure it out.

Re:This Universe Sucks (1, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670192)

This sort of LSD-laden bullshit is why the hippies accomplished a three-day music festival, new lows in hygiene, and nothing else.

Re:This Universe Sucks (1, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670308)

the 1%-ers don't have to follows those laws. you should have been born with money, that's all.

I'll jump in (0)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669704)

I put my estimate in at 150 billion. What's the prize if I guess the closest?

Re:I'll jump in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669732)

1 Internets. But you have to be closest without going over. So I guess 150 billion and one.

TPIR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669954)

1 planet Bob.

Re:TPIR (0)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670014)

But with alien slave girls, amazons, and the like, wouldn't it be more aptly named "planet 'boobs'" instead?

Re:I'll jump in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669734)

I got 150 billion and 1

Re:I'll jump in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669864)

I'll take 150 billion minus 1 then, and we should be good.

Re:I'll jump in (1)

harperska (1376103) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669736)

The satisfaction of knowing you were correct.

Your prize is... (2)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669750)

I put my estimate in at 150 billion. What's the prize if I guess the closest?

Alien invasion!!! Blerg! We come in pieces, shoot to kill! Take me to your ladder!

Re:Your prize is... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669804)

Blerg?
I was expecting Lrrr

Re:I'll jump in (1)

partiklehead (2425806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669756)

I'll see your 150 billion and raise you 200 billion.

Re:I'll jump in (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670168)

Sorry, string bet.

Re:I'll jump in (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669778)

I put my estimate in at 150 billion. What's the prize if I guess the closest?

Please wait approximately 150 billion years while our galactic survey is completed. Meanwhile, you'll have to clear off, we're building a highway.

Re:I'll jump in (3, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670250)

It doesn't matter, you lose, by a long shot.
(Which you learn when you read the details and learn that this only applies to worlds about 5x as big as earth. Everything smaller is left out of the estimate, and may result in the final number being as much as 5-10x higher).

Re:I'll jump in (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670398)

But I beat the scientists since my estimate is closer than theirs

100 billion likely way too low (5, Interesting)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669744)

100 Billion is likely too low. Based on a survey of close suns using Doppler shift indicated at least 50% had planetary systems of some sort. I think the future will boost this percentage to 90% or better, probably virtually all suns have some kind of orbiting object that could be termed a planet. Depending on where you draw the line on size this makes for probably more than 2 Trillion alien worlds in the Milky Way alone (which is estimated to have 200-400 billion suns).

As for examining Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) more closely it seems there is little point to single them out. So what if we know they have planets -- everywhere you could point a radio dish there are planets. I am a big supporter of SETI and this is all good news for SETI, but it doesn't do anything to narrow the search.

Re:100 billion likely way too low (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669780)

It will narrow our search by telling us the properties of some of these planets. For instance, it would be nice to know where all the earth-like planets around sun-like stars are. That would certainly narrow the search, wouldn't it?

Re:100 billion likely way too low (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669870)

Fortunately, most of the Earth-like planets in the Milky Way seem to have stargates on them, so exploring those would be relatively easy.

Re:100 billion likely way too low (2)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669928)

So we find one or two possibly Earth like planets. Likely the other KOIs also had many near Earths that we missed. Eventually we might get some bound on the percentage of systems with Earth like planets, but listening at these few KOIs is like like looking under a street lamp for the keys you lost half a block away because the light is better.

With 200-400 Billion suns to survey and most having Planets and probably 10-50% have some planets in its equivalent of the Goldie-Locks zone, then you are far better of getting on with a broad general survey of thousands or millions (or ideally billions) of suns. I fear concentrating on these particular KOIs will dilute more productive SETI searches. I fear the general public is under the assumption that we were lucky to find these near-Earths because they are rare when the opposite is almost certainly true.

I'll make it easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38670020)

There is at least one rocky body (planet or moon) with liquid water and equal or lesser mass than 1.5 Earths in the habitable zone around over 80% of all the stars currently within 10,000 lightyears of Sol.

Now what are you going to do about it?

-D'all rth p'targh

Re:100 billion likely way too low (5, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670312)

It doesn't matter, in your lifetime.

To make a car analogy, for the Slashdot crowd; It is like a bunch of hot chicks driving cool cars, you know they exist, but you will never touch them. Just try to keep your basement tidy, since that is where you have to live. If a '61 'vette drives thru the storm doors, you might get lucky.

Re:100 billion likely way too low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669860)

If you want to increase the odds, point SETI at distant galaxies and listen for very obvious "we are here" signals.

Once you figure out what the obvious "we are here" signals are, search for nearby stars that appear to be responding to those signals. Repeat until you find one close enough to talk to in our lifetimes.

Re:100 billion likely way too low (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669882)

You cannot increase the odds by pointing to 'distant galaxies' as the speed of light and therefore radio waves get in the way just a bit.

Re:100 billion likely way too low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38670148)

Ahem. Speed of light is only a problem for 2-way communication, and RF interference is just noise.

The entire point is to look for unmistakable signals. In other words, point at a random galaxy and see what RF spikes you find. Then check each of those spikes for a coherent signal. If there's no obvious +k dB s/n ratio, move on to another random galaxy.

If life is out there, and it wants to be found, you'll find it a dozen orders of magnitude faster by looking at galaxies rather than individual stars.

Re:100 billion likely way too low (5, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670246)

The problem is that unless said aliens are pulling the strings on a galactic core super massive black hole and manipulating the plasma jet to serve as a "fucking huge" high gain antenna, the attenuation of the rf signal by interaction with cosmic dust will turn even a real whopper of a broadcast into white noise before it reaches us.

Basically, they would have to be broadcasting a massively powerful signal capable of killing off lifeforms from the raw energy in the wave before we could detect it at our distance.

Re:100 billion likely way too low (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670074)

neither radio nor light signals would not be detectable at such distances, not even at the distance of Andromeda which is the nearest spiral galaxy

Like Pluto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669890)

... probably virtually all suns have some kind of orbiting object that could be termed a planet.

Yeah, whatever. That's what they called Pluto at one time.

And they had the nerve to name it after Mickey Mouse's dog!

Re:Like Pluto? (4, Funny)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670238)

Disney sued them for copyright infringement. That's why they had to stop calling Pluto a planet.

Re:Like Pluto? (2)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670340)

I get the joke, but Disney's Pluto was named after the "planet" Pluto, which itself was named after the god of the underworld who was around a long time before Disney. :)

Re:Like Pluto? (4, Informative)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670374)

Since when has prior use stopped them from suing someone?

Re:100 billion likely way too low (3, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670268)

It's acknowledged in the article that this is only for 'worlds' about 5x as big as earth and higher.
The real number, counting everything that would count as a planet in our solar system, may be 5-10X as high.

Sure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669746)

Sounds about right.

Alien life would be quite different from Star Trek (3, Interesting)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669786)

Alien life in the universe that we could encounter, depending on the climactic conditions, gravity and atmosphere would be very different from humans to say the least. They would not be all humanoid races that speak english and can walk and act just like humans, they might be boneless creatures like an octopus or evolved dolphins that pilot ships full of water, or something that we have not even encountered yet. Dolphins show amazing intelligence so it is easy to imagine, that if they evolved over the course of millions of years on a remote planet and developed mathematics and science, they could invent space flight. Star Trek had humanoid aliens as standard, but the science fiction of Larry Niven envisaged quite different creatures such as the puppeteers.

Not to forget the even stranger aliens in the book Sundiver [wikimedia.org] by David Brin. Discovery channel one time showed a Jupiter sized Earth like planet that had small creatures crawling along its surface that had to eat continually in order to have enough energy to move in the massive gravity. I am not sure if it is possible for such a large planet to form, most large planets that have been discovered are gas giants. But any alien planet we visited could have alien bacteria that we would not have a immunity to and it could be very dangerous if we brought it back to Earth. So any future space exploration would still require caution.

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (4, Interesting)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669918)

Alien life in the universe that we could encounter, depending on the climactic conditions, gravity and atmosphere would be very different from humans to say the least. They would not be all humanoid races that speak english and can walk and act just like humans, they might be boneless creatures like an octopus or evolved dolphins that pilot ships full of water, or [...].

Ships full of water - multiply the difficulties to escape the gravity well by about 1000.
Imagine developing metallurgy and special ceramics (I reckon these would be needed for at least propulsion) in/under water...

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (2)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670076)

Ships full of water - multiply the difficulties to escape the gravity well by about 1000.
Imagine developing metallurgy and special ceramics (I reckon these would be needed for at least propulsion) in/under water...

Who said the ship needs to be full of water. given many of the oceanic creatures on earth only the breathing apparatus needs to meet the creatures environmental requirements. Isn't it entirely possible to create a space suite for an aquatic organism in the same way we have pressure suits for humans?

Your second point is much more interesting. I the best guesses I can come up with are either do it on land using machines (in the same way we use submersibles to work under the sea) or have an entirely different method of smelting and fabrication that we've never considered.

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670224)

I think the issue is how does this water creature develop fire and metal smelting in the first place (you know bronze and iron age level) - once they have technology working around it is easy, the tricky bit would be developing that technology in the first place.

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (3, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670244)

I think the issue is how does this water creature develop fire and metal smelting in the first place (you know bronze and iron age level) - once they have technology working around it is easy, the tricky bit would be developing that technology in the first place.

You can create fire underwater, it's a different chemical process to on land.

Besides, you dont need fire for smelting, you simply need heat and there are plenty of active underwater volcano's on earth as well as other heat sources.

Needless to say, an aquatic civilisation would develop things in radically different ways to the way we have.

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670256)

Ships full of water - multiply the difficulties to escape the gravity well by about 1000.

Who said the ship needs to be full of water.

The GP post did - straight copy/paste citation: ... they might be boneless creatures like an octopus or evolved dolphins that pilot ships full of water, or something that we have not even encountered yet

given many of the oceanic creatures on earth only the breathing apparatus needs to meet the creatures environmental requirements.

I really doubt it (the only part of it). E.g. reverse the situation and imagine yourself travelling for years in a complete suit that wouldn't allow you to clean you skin.

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670098)

Plus the difficulty of developing technology if you don't have hands

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670266)

Wouldn't matter that much you if have tentacles.

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (2, Funny)

james.mcarthur (154849) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670410)

And if you had tentacles your technology would only need to reach the stage where you can trap helpless human females.

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670122)

And with fins instead of fingers

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670274)

what about tentacles?

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (4, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670108)

Alien life in the universe that we could encounter, depending on the climactic conditions, gravity and atmosphere would be very different from humans to say the least.

Not proven until we meet one.

They would not be all humanoid races that speak english....

Star Trek did not portray this.

Dolphins show amazing intelligence so it is easy to imagine..

No, it is not easy to imagine. Dolphins lack the dexterity to build a space ship. We may find out that any given species rarely (if ever) reach space unless they meet certain other criteria like opposable thumbs and originate from a planet where it's easy to start a fire. We don't know what all is involved in inspiring a species to leave the planet, just that it likely requires a complex series of events.

It's easy to jump to the conclusion that every planet that sports life will create a random space faring civilization species. However, to put things into a more realistic perspective, consider that this planet has created over a hundred million species of life and only one has intentionally gone into orbit.

Star Trek had humanoid aliens as standard...

No, they did not. The 'humanoid' races were explained by one species that seeded our area of the galaxy with similar genetic material. Elsewhere in the series, the Federation was accused of really only allowing humanoids to join.

We just don't know.

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670300)

Man, that [memory-alpha.org] episode sucked, but it was some brilliant meta-humor lampooning the anticlimactic ending of the episode.

Basically, a guy dies, leaving clues to a big mystery. Piccard, as well as a Klingon crew and Cardassian crew are all in competition to independently solve this mystery, hoping for gold or secret mega-weapons.

They all solve the mystery at once and meet at the same place where the secret is finally activated: It is a hologram of a proto-humanoid, describing(in English) how their race seeded their genetic material across the galaxy and that they are the common ancestor of all humanoid races.

Afterward, perfect comedic silence before the Cardassian says, "That's it?!" The Klingon captain responds with, "If she were not dead, I would kill her myself!"

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670334)

Alien life in the universe that we could encounter, depending on the climactic conditions, gravity and atmosphere would be very different from humans to say the least.

My favourite example at the moment is Solaris (the book by Lem, not the new movie I've never seen or the old one I can't remember). In that example humanity has spent a lot of resources over a century trying to understand WTF is some connection between themselves and the alien/s and at that point even the human experts have trouble communicating to each other about the subject. Meanwhile the aliens seem to be trying to communicate as well but despite Godlike powers and the ability to create human shaped avatars with human thoughts about all they can do is confuse people and their own avatars.
I think the theme was that aliens are not going to be some guy with a weird accent and a funny hat, but instead something we can't understand without vast amounts of time and effort.

Re:Alien life would be quite different from Star T (2)

netsavior (627338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670394)

The final season of Enterprise dealt primarily with the Xindi, one of the Xindi races (5 different sentient species on one planet) were spacefaring water creatures that weren't humanoid, and flew in ships filled with water, this fact was not particularly shocking or foreign to the captain of Enterprise, nor his highly experienced Vulcan crewmate. But also the Federation are a bunch of bigots who only let humanoids in anyway.

And one planet has been identified (2)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669816)

as having no intelligent life.

Other life in the universe is likely... (1)

ratguy (248395) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669818)

But the real question is how likely is it to happen during our time in this universe. The chances of it occuring are likely very high, but when it might happen or have already happened could be spans of billions of years. Then there's the question of whether we'd even be able to reach it or communicate with it, given the vast distances.

And as Calvin once said: "The surest sign of intelligent life in the universe is that it hasn't contacted us yet."

Just a factor of 2? (4, Funny)

chrism238 (657741) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669834)

50 billion here, 100 billion there. Pretty soon you're talking big numbers.

Star Control was right! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669854)

Now where are the ruby worlds?

Re:Star Control was right! (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670126)

Now where are the ruby worlds?

Alpha Centauri is the closest, but we need to trade the locations of at least three rainbow worlds to afford the lander upgrades before I'll even consider landing on those worlds.

Fermi Paradox (1)

Avarist (2453728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669888)

Am I the only one wanting to scream 'Fermi Paradox!' at the top of my lungs whenever the probability of extraterrestrial life is discussed?

Re:Fermi Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38669904)

the claim is about the number of planets, not the likelihood of alien life on those planets

Re:Fermi Paradox (3, Interesting)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670010)

I'm not sure why you want to shout Fermi Paradox, it is not an answer but a question.

20 years or more ago we could have speculated that planetary systems were rare, thus life had few places to evolve on and that could have been a possible solution to the Fermi Paradox -- finding so many worlds deepens the Fermi Paradox.

Let us hope Fred Saberhagen doesn't have the correct answer to the question with his Berserker series of novels.

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670182)

1. Takeaway all the planets that are orbiting inside the equivalent of Mercury's orbit. That's a lot.
2. Takeaway all the gas giants (a lot) but include the moons (not known).
3. Takeaway the ones without a proper magnetic field (and therefore pummeled with cosmic rays and solar particles).
4. Takeaway the ones that are not protected from asteroids by outer gas giants.
5. Takeaway the ones with environments that are too static for life to evolve beyond micro-organisms
6. Takeaway the ones with basic life forms only
7. Takeaway the ones where they're still inventing fire.
8. Takeaway the ones that are simply too far away.

Re:Fermi Paradox (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670188)

we could be awash in ETI signals and not know it yet. there is no reason to even think we have a Fermi Paradox, we're too new at long distance communication.

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670050)

Am I the only one wanting to scream 'Fermi Paradox!' at the top of my lungs whenever the probability of extraterrestrial life is discussed?

Seems like a good guess.

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670116)

there is no Fermi Paradox yet, we've only learned how to use radio and light waves for comm in the last century and a half (discounting smoke signals and mirrors in the sun). Thus far, we've been searching mostly microwave frequencies for ET signals, but the smart thing for them would be to use light or even higher frequency waves (gain, effective radiated power). It's a bit early in the game to say there are no signs of any ET around us

Re:Fermi Paradox (4, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670202)

Or even some clever use of entangled particle pairs. (Simply because we haven't figured out how to use them for comm doesn't mean others haven't.)

Personally though, I think seti is looking for the wrong things.

Instead of trying to eavesdrop on the grey aliens ordering space pizza from planet foodcourtia, they should be looking for localized light displacements from known stellar markers, as caused by the huge gravitational eddies that several hypotherical FTL systems would make. Interstellar highways would show up on a sufficiently detailed map of the CBR because of the regular disruptions.

(This assumes something like an albucare (however you spell his name...) warp drive though, which create a wave of negative spacial curvature behind the vessel, and a synthetic gravity well in front.)

Our current CBR maps are pretty coarse, since we are dealing with single measurement devices with very wide frequency emmisions, so a highway search would require interferometry to be fruitful. We need to launch about 50 more COBE sats up.

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670186)

Am I the only one wanting to scream 'Fermi Paradox!' at the top of my lungs whenever the probability of extraterrestrial life is discussed?

I suspect there are lots of people signalling "Fermi Paradox' all over with smoke signals, but I use the Internet now, so I never notice.

Oblig. Arthur C Clarke quote (5, Interesting)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669898)

“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many--perhaps most--of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven--or hell.

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars. "

Re:Oblig. Arthur C Clarke quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38670078)

There's a bit more than a hundred billion stars.

Re:Oblig. Arthur C Clarke quote (1)

dhavleak (912889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670204)

So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

Not universe.. galaxy..

"alien worlds" count not so interesting (4, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669922)

In a couple years kepler will have sufficient data so we can estimate the number of rocky worlds in habitable zones, that's what is most interesting to me. Once we find such worlds, we'd need to fund the type of probe that can analyze atmosphere, life as we know it does a very detectable transformation. Then step up our optical SETI efforts in those world's directions (they won't use radio waves, sorry microwave SETI dudes....)

Re:"alien worlds" count not so interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38670124)

Only if it's still alive. Kepler funding is at risk, *again*, and it does need software support from the ground to continue operations. Also, with the Shuttle offline and no sign of NASA getting its bureaucracy burdened assets out of the way of private spacecraft, any mechanical failures are irreparable.

A "probe to detect atmosphere" can be done relatively cheaply: launching several more Kepler grade telescopes with good distances among them will permit a much larger baseline for certain types of observation, and improve Kepler's data tremendously.

Re:"alien worlds" count not so interesting (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670232)

funding runs out November 2012. The cost is $20 million per additional year, and NASA would like four more years to have 7.5 year mission, that will allow them to get more transits from earth sized worlds that are hiding in noise currently (stars are more variable on average than was thought, a discovery in itself) http://www.space.com/13857-nasa-kepler-mission-extension-alien-planets.html [space.com]

Drake equation++ (2, Funny)

FuturePerson (2471030) | more than 2 years ago | (#38669972)

I recently had the misfortune of meeting some extraterrestrial aliens from outer space right here on earth.

I have not much time now, but I'll jot down what I can.

They were very enthusiastic. They explained how wonderful it was to find a planet with the temperature and the water and the magnetic field and the life and the intelligence and the technology and ... advertising(!?) .

They we're an ancient species, homeless since eons. They had been scouring space, looking for intelligent life that could scratch their itch.

Their itch is having control. They get off on manipulation. They crave displays of advertising and propaganda, whatever moves masses to act against their own self-interest, or something.

They have evolved telepathy. It is the result of a million years of marketing, the art of lying, the pinnacle of manipulation.

I would describe them as psychopathic and sadistic. I think they want to enslave people for the joy of seeing a living, feeling life form manipulated.

They had me devising marketing campaigns. I escaped. Other ET:s helped me. I'll tell about it later. I'm too upset now to be very coherent, maybe.

I have to go now. I do not want to be anywhere near these creatures. Watch out for the mindfuckers!

Re:Drake equation++ (5, Funny)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670146)

So you went out on your first date, don't be so dramatic.

Stating the obvious or not so obvious (1)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670094)

Wasn't this already covered by Arthur C Clarke, Carl Sagan and a myriad of other great astronomers? This is not surprising. What I want is to have them find an Earth Like planet. I want the existence of Alien humanoid life to be confirmed.

Wider implications (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670096)

That's just the number of possible planets in our galaxy. If you take a rough estimate of galaxies we can see as 500 billion, in other words a galaxy for every star in the Milky Way, and those are just the ones we can see.

Okay, 500 billion galaxies, 100 billion exoplanets per galaxy, which is probably conservative. I'm going to go out on a limb and say there's at least one other earth-like planet out there.

BS! There are exactly 42 alien worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38670144)

EOM

whatever (2, Interesting)

milkmage (795746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670166)

everyone knows they'll ignore us until we have warp capability.

2 weeks to the Moon?
9 months to Mars? lol.

too many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38670176)

in other words, one for every star...

Junk Science (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38670242)

Probably no life on other planets. Extra terrestrial life is a concept that became popular in the 60's and 70's pseudo-science new age period. During this time there were many crazy theories ranging from dolphin cities to crystal healing. The Drake equation came from this era.
The calculus of events that came to form life and then intelligence is unique. Our egos are more evolved then our intelligence. Recent theories are intelligence evolved from the part of the brain that controls speech. It is easy to forget that everything came from somewhere. I have noticed an "adam and eve" view of intelligence in that intelligence "popped" into existence.
Also, the belief in extra terrestrial life is too closely related to common religions ideas. The passionate belief in something that has never had a single shred of evidence is called faith. Theoretical physics, evolution, and paleontology all exist on theory as well but are based on observable evidence; they are examples of "soft science"; ideas that are constantly and purposely making past ideas obsolete. The search for extra terrestrial life does not fall into this category.

Galactic Explanetary Estimate? (2)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38670316)

Jeeze.

Why not just call it what it is?

An ass-pull number.

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