Forums > Off-Topic Discussion > 100 Billion Planets in our Milky Way!

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London Fog

Posts: 6770

London, England, United Kingdom

According to this article there may be as many as 100 billion planets in our Milky Way alone, and some of these may well host advanced alien life.

http://news.yahoo.com/100-billion-alien … 53897.html

Meanwhile, here on earth, Justin Beiber, Jersey Shore and the Karskankians are what we can offer them when they arrive!

Nice eh?

Jan 03 13 08:43 am Link

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Jim Ball

Posts: 17228

Frontenac, Kansas, US

London Fog wrote:
According to this article there may be as many as 100 billion planets in our Milky Way alone, and some of these may well host advanced alien life.

http://news.yahoo.com/100-billion-alien … 53897.html

Meanwhile, here on earth, Justin Beiber, Jersey Shore and the Karskankians are what we can offer them when they arrive!

Nice eh?

There is no conclusive proof that aliens/UFOs have ever visited earth.  HOWEVER, I'm certain that they have scanned us from a distance and have determined that Sol 3 contains no intelligent life.  roll

Jan 03 13 09:11 am Link

Photographer

Wildcat Photography

Posts: 1486

Valparaiso, Indiana, US

London Fog wrote:
According to this article there may be as many as 100 billion planets in our Milky Way alone, and some of these may well host advanced alien life.

http://news.yahoo.com/100-billion-alien … 53897.html

Meanwhile, here on earth, Justin Beiber, Jersey Shore and the Karskankians are what we can offer them when they arrive!

Nice eh?

Jim Ball wrote:
There is no conclusive proofe that aliens/UFOs have ever visited earth.  HOWEVER, I'm certain that they have scanned us from a distance and have determined that Sol 3 contains no intelligent life.  roll

With that many planets...I would have to believe there is life elsewhere in The Milky Way.

Life as we know it or maybe even stranger.

Of course with the strangeness we have here...who knows...LOL!

Jan 03 13 09:26 am Link

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Dream-foto

Posts: 4361

Chico, California, US

Jim Ball wrote:
There is no conclusive proofe that aliens/UFOs have ever visited earth.  HOWEVER, I'm certain that they have scanned us from a distance and have determined that Sol 3 contains no intelligent life.  roll

In the Carl Sagan book "Contact" the aliens are receiving our radio and TV broadcasts at a great distance. So from 50 light years away, they would just now getting our 1960's TV shows.

Jan 03 13 09:29 am Link

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Jim Ball

Posts: 17228

Frontenac, Kansas, US

Dream-foto wrote:

In the Carl Sagan book "Contact" the aliens are receiving our radio and TV broadcasts at a great distance. So from 50 light years away, they would just now getting our 1960's TV shows.

We've been announcing our presence by radio for a little over 100 years.  An alien SETI station around 100 light years distant from us might just now be listening to the Titanic's Morse code distress calls.

WWI wireless messages followed by WWII radio, then 1950's/60's Television would convince them there is no intelligent life here.  Civilization-yes.  Intelligence - no.

Jan 03 13 09:47 am Link

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Stay Puft

Posts: 2413

Ofu, Manu'a, American Samoa

Jim Ball wrote:
WWI wireless messages followed by WWII radio, then 1950's/60's Television would convince them there is no intelligent life here.  Civilization-yes.  Intelligence - no.

They probably got in their faster than light ships and started to head over, but turned around as soon as they started receiving Jerry Springer and reality TV.

Jan 03 13 09:58 am Link

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Devon Monroe

Posts: 1

Tampa, Florida, US

Cool

Jan 03 13 10:01 am Link

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Tony-S

Posts: 1441

Fort Collins, Colorado, US

Wildcat Photography wrote:
With that many planets...I would have to believe there is life elsewhere in The Milky Way.

The keys are to have a circular orbit (as well as the other planets in that solar system), temps low enough for liquid water (or even frozen water), a source of electrons and no high energy radiation from the sun.

Life as we know it or maybe even stranger.

But in all likelihood based on carbon.

Jan 03 13 10:19 am Link

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MN camera

Posts: 1861

Saint Paul, Minnesota, US

Dream-foto wrote:
In the Carl Sagan book "Contact" the aliens are receiving our radio and TV broadcasts at a great distance. So from 50 light years away, they would just now getting our 1960's TV shows.

Given the falloff of signal strength with distance, that's really unlikely.  Even a highly focused directional beam signal will eventually fade with distance.

Jan 03 13 10:24 am Link

Body Painter

Monad Studios

Posts: 9791

Santa Rosa, California, US

The article didn't say anything about intelligent life.  I don't think we have any trustworthy way to estimate the probability of intelligent life.

Jan 03 13 10:28 am Link

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Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15706

Orlando, Florida, US

100 Billion really isn't that many.

Consider ALL of the factors that worked together to somehow allow molecules of matter to come together and somehow, SOMEHOW, spark into actual living organisms.

It all seems highly improbable.

So is it a one in a billion shot? One in a trillion?

We're talking about the probability of a rock spontaneously turning into a fish.

It COULD happen, but the odds are pretty big.

Jan 03 13 10:30 am Link

Photographer

Jim Ball

Posts: 17228

Frontenac, Kansas, US

Good Egg Productions wrote:
100 Billion really isn't that many.

Consider ALL of the factors that worked together to somehow allow molecules of matter to come together and somehow, SOMEHOW, spark into actual living organisms.

It all seems highly improbable.

So is it a one in a billion shot? One in a trillion?

We're talking about the probability of a rock spontaneously turning into a fish.

It COULD happen, but the odds are pretty big.

Whatever the hell you are suggesting? It sure as hell bears no resemblance to the Theory of Evolution. hmm

Astronomers and scientists have discovered that amino acids (the basic building blocks of DNA) are present in comets.  It is probable that amino acids are present in the Oort clouds around other star systems.  I will not be surprised if it turns out that life is common in the universe.  Life exists on earth in every extreme environment that exists here, from the deepest, darkest ocean depths to Antarctic ice to 200 deg hot springs and everything in-between.

google search:  https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_ … as_rights=

Jan 03 13 10:52 am Link

Photographer

Managing Light

Posts: 1944

Salem, Virginia, US

Good Egg Productions wrote:
Consider ALL of the factors that worked together to somehow allow molecules of matter to come together and somehow, SOMEHOW, spark into actual living organisms.

It all seems highly improbable.

Actually, biologists are finding that when that primordal soup exists, it's strange when when the evolutionary process DOESN'T happen.

Any you know when comets start dropping amino acids on the planet's surface during the planetary formation stage of a solar system, the soup will come to be.

Jan 03 13 11:18 am Link

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Connor Photography

Posts: 6579

Elkton, Maryland, US

Managing Light wrote:
the soup will come to be.

Now I have a new respect whenever I have my Campbell Soup...  tongue

Jan 03 13 11:43 am Link

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Digital Photo PLUS

Posts: 5503

Lorton, Virginia, US

Good Egg Productions wrote:
We're talking about the probability of a rock spontaneously turning into a fish.

No we are not. It's a common misunderstanding.

Jan 03 13 01:12 pm Link

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Wildcat Photography

Posts: 1486

Valparaiso, Indiana, US

Tony-S wrote:

Wildcat Photography wrote:
With that many planets...I would have to believe there is life elsewhere in The Milky Way.

The keys are to have an elliptical orbit (as well as the other planets in that solar system), temps low enough for liquid water (or even frozen water), a source of electrons and no high energy radiation from the sun.


But in all likelihood based on carbon.

Yes, most likely.

Jan 03 13 01:13 pm Link

Photographer

Digital Photo PLUS

Posts: 5503

Lorton, Virginia, US

London Fog wrote:
According to this article there may be as many as 100 billion planets in our Milky Way alone, and some of these may well host advanced alien life.

I hope they will never find out about us. I think that if the aliens decide to go through the enormous effort, expense, and risk of interstellar travel they are doing it for more than just sightseeing. They might be looking for a new planet to inhabit and ours is a beauty.

Every star, and every planet has a limited life span. In two, three billion years the Sun will get bigger and hotter and it will start cooking the Earth eventually changing it into a ball of molten magma held together by gravity. If our civilization lasts that long we will have to hightail out it of here before that happens, no matter how long the trip lasts.

Jan 03 13 01:24 pm Link

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Justin

Posts: 21892

Fort Collins, Colorado, US

The Drake equation: http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/8/4/6/846953db691bd7f2123caa767626d2af.png

If we get the planet-to-star ratio down, we can at least define fp.

Jan 03 13 04:37 pm Link

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Kincaid Blackwood

Posts: 23404

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Justin wrote:
The Drake equation: http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/8/4/6/846953db691bd7f2123caa767626d2af.png

If we get the planet-to-star ratio down, we can at least define fp.

I think it is very, very likely that there are thousands of planets out there with life on them.  Maybe even hundreds of thousands.  Just in the Milky Way.

However, we've had life on earth for what… 3.5 billion years?  The dinosaurs, about 250 million years ago.  I point to them because the dinosaurs were the dominant lifeforms on earth in a major way (land, sea air) for so many millions of years and, yet, we have no evidence that they evolved a technologically advanced civilization (or even a primitive one without technology) of any sort for even a span of 6000 years… which would be a drop in the bucket for the dinosaurs reign but still longer than our civilized period.  Nothing at all.  3.5 billion years of life on this planet and we haven't been able to broadcast into space for even 100 years.  Space travel for only half.

The likelihood that our civilized existence coincides with any civilized life on another planet, in my opinion, seems pretty slim.  There's probably dinosaur-like life out there on other planets but 1, maybe 1 other race out there advanced to our degree or beyond.  It would be amazing if there were 2 or 3 in existence now but that seems so unlikely. 

With all the planetary systems out there it seems like such a huge chance but 3.5 billion years of life before we stumble on the scene for our 6000-year civilized drop in the bucket means that civilized life on another planet could have occurred 50,000 years ago and completely turned to dust by now.  There's life on some other planet that's probably 200,000 years away from being civilized.  Still not long compared to 3.5 billion years but we won't be around that long.  We'll kill each other off long before that.

Jan 03 13 05:08 pm Link

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Jim Ball

Posts: 17228

Frontenac, Kansas, US

Any numbers input into the Drake equation are estimates (more like wild-assed guesses at this time in our understanding of extrasolar planets).

Any and all guesses or hypothesis about life in the Universe are just that - guesses.  We simply do not have enough hard data to make an accurate estimate.

The problem with the Drake equation, why it falls into the GIGO category, lies with the parameters. There is no way to tell if the values we assign to the input parameters are garbage or not. Given the impossibility of assigning justifiable values to them, we can treat them all as garbage (though we can argue about which values stink more). All probabilities found using the Drake equation are therefore, to some extent, invalid (even if you accidentally guessed the right values). Some are more reasonable than others, but all the answers the Drake equations spits out still suffer from GIGO.”

However, Wild-Assed Guesses abound both pro & con for intelligent life elsewhere.

Jan 03 13 05:44 pm Link

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Justin

Posts: 21892

Fort Collins, Colorado, US

Jim Ball wrote:
Any numbers input into the Drake equation are estimates (more like wild-assed guesses at this time in our understanding of extrasolar planets).

Indeed. To me, the summary of the Drake equation is, "There's just way too many variables to possibly figure it out with current knowledge."

Jan 03 13 07:12 pm Link

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Gianantonio

Posts: 8035

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

London Fog wrote:
According to this article there may be as many as 100 billion planets in our Milky Way alone, and some of these may well host advanced alien life.

http://news.yahoo.com/100-billion-alien … 53897.html

Meanwhile, here on earth, Justin Beiber, Jersey Shore and the Karskankians are what we can offer them when they arrive!

Nice eh?

First off, you might want to refer to them as advanced life as opposed to alien life--since to them, we'd be the aliens...  big_smile

Jan 03 13 09:29 pm Link

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Gianantonio

Posts: 8035

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Dream-foto wrote:

In the Carl Sagan book "Contact" the aliens are receiving our radio and TV broadcasts at a great distance. So from 50 light years away, they would just now getting our 1960's TV shows.

If you haven't done so already, you MUST watch Galaxy Quest...

Jan 03 13 09:31 pm Link

Artist/Painter

DGCasey

Posts: 3006

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Wildcat Photography wrote:
Life as we know it or maybe even stranger.

Of course with the strangeness we have here...who knows...LOL!

I'm sure that if they've picked up any of our television signals, they're sitting around their monitors thinking, "what the fuck?"

Jan 05 13 04:39 am Link

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MKPhoto

Posts: 5665

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Justin wrote:

Indeed. To me, the summary of the Drake equation is, "There's just way too many variables to possibly figure it out with current knowledge."

It is composed mostly  of fudge (factors, not chocolate)

Jan 05 13 11:09 am Link

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MKPhoto

Posts: 5665

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Justin wrote:

Indeed. To me, the summary of the Drake equation is, "There's just way too many variables to possibly figure it out with current knowledge."

It is composed mostly  of fudge (factors, not chocolate). That's how these "models" are often called in science.

Jan 05 13 11:10 am Link

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Jim Ball

Posts: 17228

Frontenac, Kansas, US

MKPhoto wrote:
It is composed mostly  of fudge (factors, not chocolate). That's how these "models" are often called in science.

I do not think the Drake equation has ever been considered "science" by real scientists.  It is an interesting mathematical speculation - nothing more.  For a llama to stand up to the Scientific Method, it must meet many verifiable parameters and tests.  Test and verify...repeatedly. Something many lay persons do not understand.  It is the difference between theory and Theory, hypothesis and wild-assed guess.  Since the Drake equation has no verifiable values (at this time) it leans heavily toward the WAG side.  With a few more decades of discovery by astronomers

Jan 05 13 11:28 am Link

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Giacomo Cirrincioni

Posts: 21383

New York, New York, US

Kincaid Blackwood wrote:
I think it is very, very likely that there are thousands of planets out there with life on them.  Maybe even hundreds of thousands.  Just in the Milky Way.

However, we've had life on earth for what… 3.5 billion years?  But the dinosaurs were about 250 million years ago.  I point to them because the dinosaurs were the dominant lifeforms on earth in a major way (land, sea air) for so many millions of years and we have no evidence that they evolved a technologically advanced civilization (or even a primitive one without technology) of any sort for even a span of 6000 years… which would be a drop in the bucket for the dinosaurs reign but still longer than our civilized period.  Nothing at all.  3.5 billion years of life on this planet and we haven't been able to broadcast into space for not even 100 years.  Space travel for only half.

The likelihood that our civilized existence coincides with any civilized life on another planet, in my opinion, seems pretty slim.  There's probably dinosaur-like life out there on other planets but 1, maybe 1 other race out there advanced to our degree or beyond.  It would be amazing if there were 2 or 3 in existence now but that seems so unlikely. 

With all the planetary systems out there it seems like such a huge chance but 3.5 billion years of life before we stumble on the scene for our 6000-year civilized drop in the bucket means that civilized life on another planet could have occurred 50,000 years ago and completely turned to dust by now.  There's life on some other planet that's probably 200,000 years away from being civilized.  Still not long compared to 3.5 billion years but we won't be around that long.  We'll kill each other off long before that.

I think that life may be as plentiful as you suggest, although I'm not quite as optimistic, but that advanced life will be fairly rare.  I don't know, no one does, but I tend to concur with Good Egg if that's the direction he was going.  Planetary conditions necessary to allow some form of basic life to sustain is one thing - and that itself is probably fairly rare.  Planetary conditions which are just right for a long enough period of time to allow life to evolve into what we would consider "intelligent" may prove to be much more rare. 

There is a great book entitled A Short History of Nearly Everything, which I often give as gifts.  It's a great primer on this subject and very entertaining, while at the same time, being highly accurate.  I highly recommend it.

Jan 05 13 11:30 am Link

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Digitoxin

Posts: 13345

Houston, Texas, US

I beleive that the story I read indicated that there were a 100 billion planets around class M stars.  There are likely many more planets than that when one includes all other stars in the galaxy.

Jan 05 13 12:13 pm Link

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Top Level Studio

Posts: 3253

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Gianantonio wrote:
If you haven't done so already, you MUST watch Galaxy Quest...

Yes, I agree.  Alien intelligences might have no idea of fiction and might assume everything we ever broadcasted was factual as we understood it.

That actually might be good, because if they saw 'Nightmare on Elm Street', they'd think we have the ability to kill them in their dreams, and other TV shows and movies would convince them that Earth is protected by a legion of superheroes.

After all, according to our stories, whenever aliens attempt to invade Earth, they are defeated and usually exterminated within a short period, sometimes within 30 minutes (including commercials).

Jan 05 13 12:52 pm Link

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Inventor

Posts: 712

Roseland, California, US

100 billion planets in the galaxy, and I was born onto this one???

Jan 05 13 02:58 pm Link

Photographer

Jason Haven

Posts: 38336

Washington, District of Columbia, US

Alien life is incredibly probable. But it's very improbable that they could reach us, or we will ever reach them. We're limited by physics.

Jan 05 13 03:50 pm Link

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Justin

Posts: 21892

Fort Collins, Colorado, US

Digitoxin wrote:
I beleive that the story I read indicated that there were a 100 billion planets around class M stars.  There are likely many more planets than that when one includes all other stars in the galaxy.

Just so there's no confusion with the readers here:

A Class M star refers to the coolest (in temperature) class of stars, red, whether a dwarf star or cool red giant. These are not stars with planets that will be likely to support life.

I wanted to note this distinction because Star Trek used a fictitious "Class M" for planets to designate an earth-like configuration. So people could get confused. That designation is only fictional.

Betelgeuse (of "Beetlejuice" fame) and Antares are examples of red giants. Our binary/trinary neighbor of Proxima Centauri/Barnard's are examples of red dwarves.

Jan 05 13 04:13 pm Link

Body Painter

Monad Studios

Posts: 9791

Santa Rosa, California, US

Justin wrote:
Just so there's no confusion with the readers here:

A Class M star refers to the coolest (in temperature) class of stars, red, whether a dwarf star or cool red giant. These are not stars with planets that will be likely to support life.

I wanted to note this distinction because Star Trek used a fictitious "Class M" for planets to designate an earth-like configuration. So people could get confused. That designation is only fictional.

Betelgeuse (of "Beetlejuice" fame) and Antares are examples of red giants. Our binary/trinary neighbor of Proxima Centauri/Barnard's are examples of red dwarves.

Just to clear up any remaining confusion:  an M-Class vehicle is one of a series of mid-sized sport-utility vehicles manufactured and sold by Mercedes-Benz.  In all cases known to science, they are (or at some time were) inhabited by humans.

Jan 05 13 04:24 pm Link

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Justin

Posts: 21892

Fort Collins, Colorado, US

Justin wrote:
Just so there's no confusion with the readers here:

A Class M star refers to the coolest (in temperature) class of stars, red, whether a dwarf star or cool red giant. These are not stars with planets that will be likely to support life.

I wanted to note this distinction because Star Trek used a fictitious "Class M" for planets to designate an earth-like configuration. So people could get confused. That designation is only fictional.

Betelgeuse (of "Beetlejuice" fame) and Antares are examples of red giants. Our binary/trinary neighbor of Proxima Centauri/Barnard's are examples of red dwarves.

Monad Studios wrote:
Just to clear up any remaining confusion:  an M-Class vehicle is one of a series of mid-sized sport-utility vehicles manufactured and sold by Mercedes-Benz.  In all cases known to science, they are (or at some time were) inhabited by humans.

Set course for Planet Mercedes. The fp value is 100.

Jan 05 13 04:38 pm Link

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Digitoxin

Posts: 13345

Houston, Texas, US

Justin wrote:

Just so there's no confusion with the readers here:

A Class M star refers to the coolest (in temperature) class of stars, red, whether a dwarf star or cool red giant. These are not stars with planets that will be likely to support life.

True.  But class M's can have a Goldilocks zone.  It seems that even this one in the article has a planet at the edge of its Goldilocks zone.

Jan 05 13 05:19 pm Link

Artist/Painter

JJMiller

Posts: 618

Buffalo, New York, US

It's a bit of a myth that a planet has to be X distance from a star to be able to support life- in our own solar system Jupiter's and Saturn's gravity alone can create heat in their moons, creating conditions for liquid water/methane/whatever.

Jan 05 13 05:27 pm Link

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Brian Diaz

Posts: 63177

Danbury, Connecticut, US

Douglas Adams hasalready proved that there is no life anywhere in the universe, so there's no point in speculating about where it may exist.

Jan 05 13 05:55 pm Link

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John Photography

Posts: 12958

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

As long as they are not protheans or reapers

big_smile

Jan 05 13 06:41 pm Link

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Justin

Posts: 21892

Fort Collins, Colorado, US

Justin wrote:
Just so there's no confusion with the readers here:

A Class M star refers to the coolest (in temperature) class of stars, red, whether a dwarf star or cool red giant. These are not stars with planets that will be likely to support life.

Digitoxin wrote:
True.  But class M's can have a Goldilocks zone.  It seems that even this one in the article has a planet at the edge of its Goldilocks zone.

I've been having to retract a lot of statements lately, it seems.

I was thinking in terms of the red giant, which is a relatively short-lived phase, and I didn't believe it had time enough for a planet in the Goldilocks zone to develop life-bearing and life-supporting conditions.

However, red dwarves are slow-burning and are very long-lived stars. So I can see a planet having time to develop life if it's close enough. You are correct.

Jan 05 13 08:32 pm Link