Monday, June 20, 2005

"Either we are alone or we are not. Either possibility is fascinating." --Arthur C. Clarke

Few Planets Will Have Time to Form Complex Life

"Since four billion years is almost half the anticipated life-time of our sun, life on other planets orbiting short-lived suns may not have had sufficient time to evolve into complex forms. This is because levels of oxygen will not have had time to develop sufficiently to support complex life, before the sun dies. Professor Catling said: 'This is a major limiting factor for the evolution of life on otherwise potentially habitable planets.'"

5 comments:

KennyJC said...

Crap. 70 Billion trillion...

My opinion is as good as whoever has been quoted here. Nobody knows.

razorsmile said...

That still leaves an assload of planets.

W.M. Bear said...

Yeah. I thought the story was pretty dumb, frankly. For one thing, this isn't news, and I think even most rank amateurs like myself have long been aware of all factors it describes. The Clarke quote now, that's a whole nother ballgame. It may not be very likely but sometimes it's an interesting exercise to wonder, "What if we ARE the only intelligent species in the universe?"

Aion said...

Depending on what your definition of 'universe' is, we may be alone in our's. If, however, you mean to suggest that we are alone in the multiverse, then it seems necessary for you to first disprove Copernicus. He said that Earth is not special. Suggesting that life only took hold here is quite contrary to Copernicus' mode of thought.

W.M. Bear said...

aion -- I wasn't saying that I think we ARE alone in the universe. In fact, that seems pretty unlikely, don't you think? Only that considering the POSSIBILITY that we are is an interesting meditative exercise, which it is. I won't go into the multiverse or discarnate beings but consider: If the universe is populated with intelligent, sentient beings, SOME one species must have been the first to achieve intelligence. What if it happens to be US? Pretty scary.