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Ephemeral_Dream's avatar

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Now...I'm no science buff at all, but I'm into Astronomy regardless. I read on Wikipedia about the Rare Earth hypothesis. Like for example, one detail they mentioned was that Earth needed a support planet like Jupiter to be protected from space comets. Others mention that a plant like ours would need to be at a stable distance from the sun, get too far and we freeze or get too close and we'll burn. Or we have to be a right size or we couldn't hold an atmosphere.

Sorry, I don't sound too intelligent on the wording, but I found this topic to be really fascinating. How do you guys feel? I personally think there are too many galaxies out there that it should be blatantly possible have systems match our own solar system.
Usaki Tsukino's avatar

Familiar Shapeshifter

I think animals is rather uncommon on other planets :/

I saw a list with probabilities somewhere, i dont know where but at first glance it looked kinda reliable. To sum it up, a lot of conditions need to be met for life to evolve into multicellular form.

Even if that list were biased, I still think advanced life is kinda sparse, we might as well be alone in this galaxy.
Dieu des hommes's avatar

Enduring Prophet

I don't think solar systems like ours, or in fact life, are a rare thing in our universe. Neither do I think a solar system has to be exactly like ours to be capable of supporting life. Although I think life evolving to be capable of building sophisticated technology, is probably rare.
Rhea Valente's avatar

Gracious Tipper

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        There are many other planets in the habitable zone of other solar systems. Many of which have atmosphere and the conditions are right for liquid water.

        Given the incomprehensible enormity of the Universe, "Earths" or "Earth like planets, capable of supporting life," I do not think are rare.

        Whether we'll visit them... unlikely. Of course, technology is evolving at incredible speeds, and your grandchildren's grandchildren might well live in a space station and we might, one long day in the distant future, colonise another planet.

        http://www.facebook.com/AstrophysicsAndAstronomy?fref=ts

constantLogic's avatar

Enduring Entrepreneur

No, we've already found several that seem to fit supporting us, much less whatever or whoever lives there already.

Also don't assume all life has to be humanoid. That's the kind of narrow thinking that leads to egotism. There are plenty of organisms outside this planet, even bacteria found on various things.

I wouldn't put it past science in general to figure out how to get to said other planets, back on the OT, as we're already working on formulas that will potentially unlock warp drives.
[x] Bob-IT [x]'s avatar

Dapper Sex Symbol

There is a habitable zone around a star known as the 'Goldilocks Zone' where, so far as we know, helps to create the best support for life. Whether or not life can exist outside of this zone? We don't know - we just know that life as we know it can't exist. And there have been a few hundred discovered planets that are within this zone.

A planet of any size can have an atmosphere. Jupiter does. Saturn Does. Mars (albeit it is quite small). Even Venus. Whether or not these atmospheres are 'life supporting' is an entirely different thing. To our knowledge, life (lets say, for posterity's sake, 'life' means complex organisms and not bacterial life) can not exist in an atmosphere that varies much from ours. Too much methane? No life. Too much nitrogen? No life. Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide (and of course many other chemicals)? Life.

Really, that's what it all comes down to - it's based off of what we already know, which really, given the enormity of the universe, is not a lot. Our knowledge and experience is limited, but we're off to a good start. I honestly believe that we'll find evidence of life within my lifetime (I'm 21), although the type of life I'm referring to is that of the bacterial kind and not complex organisms like humans, plants, and animals.


So, in a sense, yes. The Earth is very rare - it's the only planet that we know of that supports life. The only place that has just the right balance to support the (so far) rare miracle of life. But we don't know exactly how rare it is yet. For all we know, we could be living in a galaxy TEEMING with life, and we've just been looking for the wrong signs.

For all we know, there could be no complex organisms outside of Earth. Perhaps we're the first to evolve and there is no complex life besides us out there yet.

There is just so much we don't know yet. But I'm SUPER excited to find out.
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

Ephemeral_Dream
Now...I'm no science buff at all, but I'm into Astronomy regardless. I read on Wikipedia about the Rare Earth hypothesis. Like for example, one detail they mentioned was that Earth needed a support planet like Jupiter to be protected from space comets. Others mention that a plant like ours would need to be at a stable distance from the sun, get too far and we freeze or get too close and we'll burn. Or we have to be a right size or we couldn't hold an atmosphere.

Sorry, I don't sound too intelligent on the wording, but I found this topic to be really fascinating. How do you guys feel? I personally think there are too many galaxies out there that it should be blatantly possible have systems match our own solar system.
You should look up the Drake Equation. I think you'll find it rather interesting.
Ephemeral_Dream
Now...I'm no science buff at all, but I'm into Astronomy regardless. I read on Wikipedia about the Rare Earth hypothesis. Like for example, one detail they mentioned was that Earth needed a support planet like Jupiter to be protected from space comets. Others mention that a plant like ours would need to be at a stable distance from the sun, get too far and we freeze or get too close and we'll burn. Or we have to be a right size or we couldn't hold an atmosphere.

Sorry, I don't sound too intelligent on the wording, but I found this topic to be really fascinating. How do you guys feel? I personally think there are too many galaxies out there that it should be blatantly possible have systems match our own solar system.


Well of course our situation is rare, but if we're talking about life on other planets that's not really all that important. First off, we don't know what all the conditions under which life can originate are. Just because life on this planet requires conditions similar to this planet (is that really all that surprising?) doesn't mean that all life requires these conditions.

Also, even if life is rare, the universe is unfathomably big, so the question isn't really if there is other life, but if there is other life within a range that we could reasonably be expected to find it.
Touching Hair's avatar

Enduring Regular

There are many billions of planets in our galaxy and probably many billions of planets in every other galaxy so it's safe to assume the Earth isn't rare but just one of many millions.
Puppy_Luppy's avatar

Tipsy Raider

There has to be other sustainable planets. We haven't explored enough of Space to think that Earth is "rare".

Our brains cannot comprehend the size of the universe.

go figure.
silver dew's avatar

Shadowy Prophet

Rhea Valente
        There are many other planets in the habitable zone of other solar systems. Many of which have atmosphere and the conditions are right for liquid water.

        Given the incomprehensible enormity of the Universe, "Earths" or "Earth like planets, capable of supporting life," I do not think are rare.

        Whether we'll visit them... unlikely. Of course, technology is evolving at incredible speeds, and your grandchildren's grandchildren might well live in a space station and we might, one long day in the distant future, colonise another planet.

        http://www.facebook.com/AstrophysicsAndAstronomy?fref=ts

Vestri Umbra's avatar

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Our planet is "rare" in our limited knowledge of the vastness of the universe. Though as has been pointed out, we have found certain planets of a somewhat similar condition
Cortinarri's avatar

Interesting Shapeshifter

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From a biological perspective, not necessarily. For other planets to be inhabitable, their conditions would not have to be identical to Earth's. Other forms of life could adapt to a particular planet's conditions. Earth's conditions may be favorable from what we can tell with our limited knowledge, thus we have such a thriving planet that has been able to support life. Yet, there is still so much we do not know yet, so theoretically, no- possible life supporting planets such as Earth are not rare.
Miramelle's avatar

Friendly Heckler

I think finding a world with the same composition as ours is moderately unlikely, but we have found similar ones! There's just so much out there that it seems silly to assume that planets like ours are uncommon. An interesting (and rather egotistic) part of the Rare Earth hypothesis is that a planet like ours is the only place intelligent life can come from - there has to be other life out there. Primitive precursors have been created in labs with nothing more than minerals and energy (and I don't have a link to that, but if I find it I'll add it in), two things very abundant out in the big wide world. Things have a habit of surviving and adapting despite insane conditions, as volcanoes and sea-vents show. Intelligent life will show up somewhere, eventually, though it may not match our definitions (or even be carbon-based).

[x] Bob-IT [x]
For all we know, there could be no complex organisms outside of Earth. Perhaps we're the first to evolve and there is no complex life besides us out there yet.

There is just so much we don't know yet. But I'm SUPER excited to find out.
Have you read any David Brin (the writer and astrophysicist, not the other one)? That's one of the possibilities he has brought up - there's hundreds of races, they're going to bicker and trade and travel- and we're too early. No one's evolved within shouting distance yet. "The Crystal Spheres" (a fantastic science fiction story) is a logical extreme of the idea (which he referred to as "too improbable for my SETI presentations, but worth writing down'').

Yeah, we understand an estimated 4% of the universe. There's so much more out there, and it's going to be fascinating!

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