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Is there life on Maaaaaaars! (er, Venus)


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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The point being that "last man standing" isn't necessarily a measure of how successful a species is, either.

Sure. But then, I'm questioning the idea measuring how "successful" a species is. There's a value judgement in that. But their existence is really just the result/part of a natural process, right? So's a tropical storm. I suppose that means we should have discussions on which hurricane is more successful?

If you want to compare two species on some metric, that's fine. But just name the metric, rather than obfuscate it as "success". "Success" is a concept devised for humans to sort out their ridiculous social hierarchies.
 
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I both hope there is life on Venus, and hope there isn't. If there is, that's cool. We get more things to study, like how they program their genes, how they're different from us, learn how they survive the heat. But, we definitely should be careful if we ever decide to bring back that stuff to Earth.

It would be kind of crazy if we discovered that Venus and Mars had life. That would suggest that some of the Earth-like exoplanets should have life on them.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It would be kind of crazy if we discovered that Venus and Mars had life. That would suggest that some of the Earth-like exoplanets should have life on them.

If they all have similar chemical bases, then no - trading rocks among out own planets is probably a simpler explanation, and does not imply it happened elsewhere.
 

Moon_Goddess

Adventurer
Supporter
On the subject of successful species, if we're talking evolution it's clearly a binary value, All extant species are equally successful, all extinct species are equally unsuccessful. But then we get into to drawing fine lines between where does one species end and another start, (like Modern Man/Neanderthal)

Lets say we do find microbes in the clouds of Venus. (that's really not even that hard to design a probe to test) How different does this life need to be in order to rule out trading rocks.
 

Lylandra

Adventurer
Question is... does that level of phosphine require the microbes to be still existent today? Maybe they existed back in the days and Venus was a more habitable planet for microbial life in these times?

I mean, life on earth neraly extinguished itself when these cyano-algae started exhaling oxygen en masse...
 


trappedslider

Adventurer
There's the Turing Test for AI and now, we have the Morrus Test for assessing if a lifeform is capable of playing a decent game of Scrabble. Any lifeform that fails has been wasting its time.
I prefer the Calvin test:
intelligentlife_original_grande.jpg
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Question is... does that level of phosphine require the microbes to be still existent today? Maybe they existed back in the days and Venus was a more habitable planet for microbial life in these times?

I mean, life on earth neraly extinguished itself when these cyano-algae started exhaling oxygen en masse...

Phosphine burns/oxidizes really easily, so it won't stick around in the atmosphere for geologic timescales unless it is constantly produced somehow.

The same is true of oxygen, btw. Having an oxygen atmosphere is a sign of active chemical processes, because the gas will combine with other elements when they burn, and not get replaced.
 



Ryujin

Adventurer
Sure. But then, I'm questioning the idea measuring how "successful" a species is. There's a value judgement in that. But their existence is really just the result/part of a natural process, right? So's a tropical storm. I suppose that means we should have discussions on which hurricane is more successful?

If you want to compare two species on some metric, that's fine. But just name the metric, rather than obfuscate it as "success". "Success" is a concept devised for humans to sort out their ridiculous social hierarchies.

Length of "reign."
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Length of "reign."

Sure, but you realize that even a cursory consideration questions whether that's a meaningful number in and of itself?

Species A was on the planet for one million years. Species B was on the planet for 500,000. So what? What are you supposed to get from this? That A was somehow better at life than B? Okay, fine. Let's say that.

But, what if we look and see that Species A lived in a time of little change in the environment or the other life around it. And Species B lived in a time of great upheaval and change. Does it mean something different now? Now... maybe B was more impressive, for having done the feat it did, considering the time? Okay, fine, that makes sense. Let's say that!

Oh, wait. But we find that while Species B was living in a time of climate upheaval and change... none of the other species around it found much need to change, either. Everyone got through that half-million years okay. So, maybe Species B really isn't all that impressive after all?

Raw and simple data outside of its context doesn't usually reveal a whole heck of a lot about the natural world. If we want to make a declaration, and we find a simple measure right at hand... that's kind of a sign that maybe we are assuming our conclusion from the start, rather than having our mind open to figure out first what our question really ought to be...
 


Tonguez

Legend

Yes there are a number of amazing creatures out there, but Ive got a special love of trees and plants in general. Plants were the organism that literally changed the composition of the worlds atmosphere and made it possible for us oxygen-air breathing parasites to exist, the spread of forest involved the active modification of water flows and transport of soil nutirents to the extent that it created entirely new ecosystems.

Human success is seen in the extent to which they are able to adapt the enviroment to meet their ongoing needs. Well on that criteria Plants not only adapted the enviroment, they dominated it to the extent that they became the enviroment in which they (and we) thrive - its just when seen from human scale we often miss the wood for the trees :)
 
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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Yeah. The current reaction in most media sources seems to be cautious enough, but I could see some jumping to conclusions, like they did with that "alternate dimension discovery" earlier this year.
OK, this is weird. I have worked in astroparticle physics from time to time, so I keep up reasonably well with the scientific literature, and I've been quite aware of the ANITA neutrino experiment. But I totally missed that some places in the mainstream press were saying that it was evidence of a backward universe!
 

DMMike

Guide of Modos
Phosphine in the upper atmosphere of Venus. The scientists so far can't come up with a way of having that much phosphine without microbial life or industry (and they're ruling out the latter!)
I don't know about the phosphine, but I'm guessing most of the missing sodium fluoride is going into Venusian toothpaste and municipal water supplies. . . which relies on the industry theory.
 

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