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Thread: Could Chance for Life on Gliese 581g Actually Be “100%”?

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    Could Chance for Life on Gliese 581g Actually Be “100%”?

    The announcement yesterday of the discovery of the closest Earth-sized planet found so far that also exists in the habitable zone around its star is certainly exciting (read our previous article for all the details). Gliese 581g is surely a potential habitable planet where liquid water could exist on the planet‘s surface, and many are [...]

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    "feeding some wild speculation about the potential for life on this extrasolar planet and elsewhere. “Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” said discoverer and astronomer Steven Vogt "

    This is not science but speculation. IMHO 100% proof of life would be detection of a free oxygen content in the planet's atmosphere.

    That magic word "LIFE" is used to grab the headlines again, as usual.

    Scientists should shy away from hyperbole.

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    WOuld it be possible to test whether it has an atmosphere, and then analyze the light coming through it for evidence of O2, Methane, Phtosynthetic processes, etc?

    I dont know if we have a spectrometer advanced enough, though one is planned...

    ALso, Since Gleise 581g is a red dwarf, does this have an impact on our ability to do so?

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    Quote Originally Posted by otakenji View Post
    "feeding some wild speculation about the potential for life on this extrasolar planet and elsewhere. “Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” said discoverer and astronomer Steven Vogt "

    This is not science but speculation. IMHO 100% proof of life would be detection of a free oxygen content in the planet's atmosphere.

    That magic word "LIFE" is used to grab the headlines again, as usual.

    Scientists should shy away from hyperbole.
    While free oxygen may be indicative of life, the only 100% proof of life, is life that we can see, analyze and conclusively determine to be such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iquestor View Post
    WOuld it be possible to test whether it has an atmosphere, and then analyze the light coming through it for evidence of O2, Methane, Phtosynthetic processes, etc?
    Not yet. In the coming decades we'll probably have telescopes that can get a decent read on the atmospheric composition, but right now we can't.

    I was glad to see this article. That "100%" statement was going too far. There are too many sensationalistic statements when low-mass exoplanets are found, and I expect it will only get worse when more of the Kepler information goes public.

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    We can't even tell if something is alive on Mars or anywhere else in our OWN solar system.

    Trying to give a "100%" to something 20 light-years away is a huge stretch....

  7. #7
    I'm sort of glad Vogt made his extraordinary statement from the point of view of attracting some attention about the possibility at least, and the fantastic breakthroughs being achieved in the detection of exoplanets, although I hope for his sake he has no need for crying wolf in the future. It could get ugly as others go about their business as normal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otakenji View Post
    This is not science but speculation.
    Which is pretty obvious since Vogt is very specific that he's talking about his feelings, not about hypotheses, theories, or other claims. The only thing you could fault him for is the risk he takes with the perpetual habit of mainstream media to take carefully stated remarks out of context.
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    Irresponsible science. First Gl 581c gets announced as a second Earth, now Gl 581g.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    Which is pretty obvious since Vogt is very specific that he's talking about his feelings, not about hypotheses, theories, or other claims. The only thing you could fault him for is the risk he takes with the perpetual habit of mainstream media to take carefully stated remarks out of context.
    In my opinion, it's too much, because it's pretty much a given that people will get the wrong idea.

    The thing is that this really is big news without adding that bit. They found a potentially habitable planet next to a very common type of star (much more common than our bigger, brighter sun). That's important, and never mind the speculation.

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    I am pretty sure that SETI has listened to that system in the past, my question though is can they direct right to that planet or is it not that precise?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    In my opinion, it's too much, because it's pretty much a given that people will get the wrong idea.

    The thing is that this really is big news without adding that bit. They found a potentially habitable planet next to a very common type of star (much more common than our bigger, brighter sun). That's important, and never mind the speculation.
    potentially habitable?!
    Surely you jest!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    potentially habitable?!
    Surely you jest!!!
    No. Are you jesting?

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    No. Are you jesting?
    Exactly what leads you to think that this planet is "habitable" and how are you defining that term?

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    No. 100% probability of life...is a over the top statement.

    It brings astronomy into a bad light. As did 'Mars as big as the moon' and, 'Haley's comet '...

    As to, was that what was said... maybe not...

    We must. If we want to be taken seriously learn from these statements of excitement...

    A scientist should always be scientific.

    It is appropriate to be enthusiastic... but a level of calm should be practiced.

    To avoid ridicule and state the truth. Information is the best tool in the box.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astromark View Post
    No. 100% probability of life...is a over the top statement.

    It brings astronomy into a bad light. As did 'Mars as big as the moon' and, 'Haley's comet '...

    As to, was that what was said... maybe not...

    We must. If we want to be taken seriously learn from these statements of excitement...

    A scientist should always be scientific.

    It is appropriate to be enthusiastic... but a level of calm should be practiced.

    To avoid ridicule and state the truth. Information is the best tool in the box.
    Well stated, the calm isn't essential, but proper qualification and conservative approximation solidly based within the evidence would seem the most reasonable course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    Exactly what leads you to think that this planet is "habitable" and how are you defining that term?
    I didn't say it was habitable. I said it was "potentially habitable," as you earlier quoted. The mass and distance from the star aren't unreasonable for the possibility of life.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I didn't say it was habitable. I said it was "potentially habitable," as you earlier quoted. The mass and distance from the star aren't unreasonable for the possibility of life.
    "Habitable" does not necessarily equate to the possibility of life, merely the possibility for life to persist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otakenji View Post
    "feeding some wild speculation about the potential for life on this extrasolar planet and elsewhere. “Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” said discoverer and astronomer Steven Vogt "

    This is not science but speculation. IMHO 100% proof of life would be detection of a free oxygen content in the planet's atmosphere.

    That magic word "LIFE" is used to grab the headlines again, as usual.

    Scientists should shy away from hyperbole.
    I thought earth's atmosphere contained lots of "free oxygen" back when the planet was considered hostile to life?

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    "...my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” said discoverer and astronomer Steven Vogt "
    Interesting old thread, Mr. Vogt did say it was his "own personal feeling", just a momentary lapse from scientist into contemplation mode.

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