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Author Topic:   Could life evolve in the vacuum of outer space?
howdoideletethis
Inactive Junior Member


Message 1 of 29 (512402)
06-17-2009 12:23 PM


I'll give you a little background as to why I'm curious about this. I'm more or less a UFO fanatic, always reading and researching things related to alien technology and life. I came across this video that was taken aboard one of the shuttles that was orbiting our planet and they had recorded hundreds of unknowns zooming and moving around outside the ship. The objects obviously aren't satellites or anything of that nature, there are far too many, moving in whatever direction they please. Now, most people's first thought would be (other than skepticism) alien spacecraft!

Then I started thinking, what if these particular objects aren't spacecraft at all, not any kind of technology whatsoever, but actually some type of life form that had either evolved while in outer space or had evolved in one of our outer layers of atmosphere.

Now I know what most people would think, "There's no gravity, there's no oxygen, there's too much radiation," but we have found life evolving in the deepest reaches of the ocean where there is no light, no oxygen, and incredible temperatures and pressures and when I think about that it also makes me wonder, is there no limit to evolution?

Okay, so the question is: Assuming evolution is real, that things adapt to their situation, and assuming the universe is an unimaginable age, could life evolve in the vacuum of space, created from and surviving on space radiation and what little matter is out there? Could they be some type of being made of energy?

Here is the video (which, with or without seeing this video, it's still a compelling question): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-RPWhigpQg&feature=player_embedded

I just wanted to put this question out there and see what kind of ideas and thoughts I would receive, thanks to anyone who replies!

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : More blank lines.


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AdminNosy
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Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 29 (512411)
06-17-2009 3:09 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1315 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 3 of 29 (512413)
06-17-2009 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by howdoideletethis
06-17-2009 12:23 PM


I will let others with more background answer you in more detail, but it seems to me that it is extremely unlikely that life would evolve "in space." As far as we know, there needs to be a dense enough admixture of chemicals and proteins for a self-sustaining chemical reaction to take place.

As for life being made of pure energy, that seems very far fetched as we have no reason to believe that energy alone can become anything more than energy. What we call life is a physical process.

As for the "UFO video", I can't view it at work (for some reason, they think YouTube would detract from productive work time...) but the probability of NASA knowing about UFOs and not having that knowledge leak out within the last few decades of space exploration is extremely hard to believe. It is more likely that any weird things in space are merely things behaving in zero gravity, frozen droplets of moisture/gases we brought up there, or cosmic rays impacting the film/digital media.


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1028 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 4 of 29 (512415)
06-17-2009 4:39 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by howdoideletethis
06-17-2009 12:23 PM


Now, most people's first thought would be (other than skepticism) alien spacecraft!

People are generally skeptical of everything, so I would say that the first natural thought is to be skeptical. Not simply to assign one particular possibility the credit.

"There's no gravity, there's no oxygen, there's too much radiation,"

Well first, there is gravity. Furthermore, chemical elements aren't abundant because they are usually "picked up" by the mass objects in space.

So I would think, for life to sustain in the vacuum of space, it would still have to evolve on a mass object where the available elements would be, and a stable environment that could facilitate a long process like evolution.

Here is the video (which, with or without seeing this video, it's still a compelling question):

I was able to watch the video, since my "job" places no restrictions on what I view ;), and it appears to be, which is funny because he didn't even watch the video, exactly what Perdition described.

- Oni


Petition to Bailout Comedy The Laugh Factory is imploring Congress to immediately fund what owner Jamie Masada calls an "Economic Cheer-Up." If Congress fails to act quickly, the Laugh Factory comedians are planning to march to Washington and plea to President Obama.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by howdoideletethis, posted 06-17-2009 12:23 PM howdoideletethis has responded

Replies to this message:
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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 182 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 5 of 29 (512417)
06-17-2009 4:49 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by howdoideletethis
06-17-2009 12:23 PM


All life requires a substrate; substances it takes in to do useful things with. In the vacuum of space everything would be at such a low concentration to make that impossible.

On/in comets, asteroids, etc. is faintly more plausible, but - still - I think it's radically unlikely.


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howdoideletethis
Inactive Junior Member


Message 6 of 29 (512418)
06-17-2009 4:59 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by onifre
06-17-2009 4:39 PM


But as you can clearly see in the film the objects aren't behaving under natural gravitational laws. Either they should look still, or they should be moving in an almost linear motion. And in either instance they shouldn't accelerate unless it's towards the earth and they most definitely should not have such dramatic curves or angles (unless of course ALL of those curving and accelerating objects were struck by some outside force). But like I said, the video isn't important, just food for thought.

Okay, so "life" might not evolve in space, and when I say life I'm talking about the general definition of plants and animals, not anything too specific. But would some other type of being, possibly energetic, form in space? Definite energy with a conscience? Possibly using more that just 4 dimensions like "life" here on our earth, which would help to explain why the energy doesn't appear as simply light?

To be honest I'm not trying to prove anything, I really just enjoy listening to everyone's thoughts. So try not to be too critical guys, I enjoy having only one anus.

I've got to work, I'll be on late tonight or tomorrow.

Edited by TristanMC, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Larni
Member
Posts: 3975
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 7 of 29 (512419)
06-17-2009 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by howdoideletethis
06-17-2009 4:59 PM


But would some other type of being, possibly energetic, form in space? Definite energy with a conscience? Possibly using more that just 4 dimensions like "life" here on our earth, which would help to explain why the energy doesn't appear as simply light?

As Mr Jack said: you need a substrate.

Energy is just the capacity to do work.

More than four dimensional life? In say a Calabi–Yau manifold? Then we would never see it.

Anything else is Star Trek.


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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1264 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 8 of 29 (512420)
06-17-2009 5:56 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by howdoideletethis
06-17-2009 4:59 PM


But as you can clearly see in the film the objects aren't behaving under natural gravitational laws. Either they should look still, or they should be moving in an almost linear motion. And in either instance they shouldn't accelerate unless it's towards the earth and they most definitely should not have such dramatic curves or angles (unless of course ALL of those curving and accelerating objects were struck by some outside force). But like I said, the video isn't important, just food for thought.

Okay, so "life" might not evolve in space, and when I say life I'm talking about the general definition of plants and animals, not anything too specific. But would some other type of being, possibly energetic, form in space? Definite energy with a conscience? Possibly using more that just 4 dimensions like "life" here on our earth, which would help to explain why the energy doesn't appear as simply light?

To be honest I'm not trying to prove anything, I really just enjoy listening to everyone's thoughts. So try not to be too critical guys, I enjoy having only one anus.

Honestly, the idea of an "energy being" is nothing mroe than an absurdity popularized by the like of Star Trek. I tend to be cautious about ruling something "utterly impossible," but with this concept it's close enough to call the notion laughable.

Conscious energy? Energy is not a "stuff" in the same way that matter is; what sort of energy would this sort of "being" be composed of? This is the worst sort of speculation - by what sort of mechanism would an "energy being" hold itself together? How would we recognize it? To me it sounds like nothing more than a fundamental misunderstanding of what energy is.

Energy is the potential to do work. Light it not energy, though it has energy. A rock held up high is not energy, but it has potential energy. When dropped, that rock will fall and strike the ground, converting kinetic energy from teh fall into sound and heat (and the sound eventually converts into heat as well). A photon emitted by the Sun will travel in a straight line until it collides with something else, at which point its energy will also be converted into heat.

By what mechanism would you propose that an entity, conscious or not, could be comprised solely of the potential to do work?

Remember, we are "energy beings" as much as we are "material." That says absolutely nothing of magic nonsense like "souls" or "consciousness;" the fact is simply that our physical bodies process and use energy constantly. The entire issue of "energy beings" vs "physical entities" is nothing more than science fiction - occasionally entertaining, but not grounded in even an ounce of fact.

So is it possible? Again, I dislike making solid statements of what is or is not possible - the Universe tends to surprise us frequently. But the concept of an "energy being" quite frankly doesn't even begin to make sense given what energy actually is.

As for your video...well, I can't watch it at the moment, since I;m at work. But 99,999 times out of 100,000, there's a conventional explanation for what at first appears to be extraordinary phenomenon. Jumping to wild speculation on the level of "things from dimension x!" or "energy beings" is roughly as accurate as the opinion of a 3-year-old on the equivalence of energy and matter.


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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2794 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 9 of 29 (512421)
06-17-2009 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by howdoideletethis
06-17-2009 4:59 PM


Ice Crystals
I see ice crystals. I see ice crystals suddenly appear as the flakes rotate from edge on to face on in the sun light. I see others suddenly brighten as they move out of the shadow of the shuttle. I see the motion of the camera in the jiggles and curves made by the flakes moving in straight lines. I see crystals being hit by exhaust from maneuvering jets.

But like I said, the video isn't important, just food for thought.
But not too much thought as we don't want to take the fun out of it.

But let us suppose for a few minutes that they are not ice crystals. The first thing that comes to mind is that space must be chock full of them. But that is contradicted by the grill of the shuttle not being chock full of them. So maybe there aren't so many of them, but they're drawn to the shuttle like moths to a porch light. But that would mean that they can move of their own volition. As space has no substrate to press against they must move about like little rockets. Setting aside the workings of their little rockets, from whence in the near vacuum of space do they get the matter that they would need to eject from their tiny sphincters? I'd think any kind of matter they'd be able to collect would be better spent on survival. Deep sea creatures don't galavant all over the place to satisfy their interests in bathyscaphes, but sit very patiently waiting for a rabbit to blunder past. And there are a lot more deep sea rabbits to choose from then there are deep space particles to blow out ones a… sphincter.

So try not to be too critical guys, I enjoy having only one anus.
If you had 44 of them you could maneuver like the space shuttle.

Edited by lyx2no, : To empower my being.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.
— Thomas Jefferson

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Perdition
Member (Idle past 1315 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 10 of 29 (512422)
06-17-2009 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by onifre
06-17-2009 4:39 PM


I was able to watch the video, since my "job" places no restrictions on what I view , and it appears to be, which is funny because he didn't even watch the video, exactly what Perdition described.

Your job wouldn't seem to place restrictions on much of anything, except perhaps being unfunny too often...

As for the video, I didn't really need to see it to have a good guess at what it was. If you watch "The Right Stuff" you see an instance where one of the first astronauts thinks there are fireflies in space with him. It turned out to be frozen bits of water or exhaust from his ship.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19756
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 11 of 29 (512423)
06-17-2009 6:06 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by howdoideletethis
06-17-2009 4:59 PM


Eliminate the probable first
Hi TristanMC, and welcome to the Fray.

Message 1

I came across this video that was taken aboard one of the shuttles that was orbiting our planet and they had recorded hundreds of unknowns zooming and moving around outside the ship.

Here is the video (which, with or without seeing this video, it's still a compelling question): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-RPWhigpQg&feature=player_embedded

The first thing to remove from the issue are the objects that appear to be moving in regular paths - aka small asteroids in orbits, behaving according to the known physical laws. This leaves the very few erratic objects in the film.

The second thing to remove from the issue is floating dust inside the cameras. Such dust particles can easily follow erratic paths due to being in a weightless (rather than gravity less) environment inside an orbiting object, subject to microwinds. Having multiple images from different cameras would accomplish this, and having only one image from one camera leaves it in doubt.

The third thing to remove from the issue are the bits of space debris from the many launchings of all the nations on earth - my brother had a job at a radiotelescope keeping track of known objects, and they could discern objects down to the size of an astronaut\cosmonaut glove (somebody had a cold hand). The amount of debris that is KNOWN to exist is staggering, and cannot include ALL the debris that has been made.

The fourth thing to remove from the issue are bright flashes and objects that appear to move inside the atmosphere when looked at from above or in plane, as (a) we do not know all the natural occurring phenomena (and are continually learning about new formations) and (b) of the known naturally occurring phenomena, there are several that involve items, like balls of lightning, that are known to move in erratic paths as they are controlled by electrostatic forces rather than gravity (being massless).

Curiously, even in the orbit that the space shuttles normally reach, there is still a tenuous atmosphere, so it is possible to have some dust and other extremely light particles and have sufficient wind to affect their behavior. Such objects will "suddenly" appear and disappear as they move in or out of sunlight. Such object that contain ice accumulated overnight will see that ice evaporate during daylight, which can cause a burst of energy.

But as you can clearly see in the film the objects aren't behaving under natural gravitational laws. Either they should look still, or they should be moving in an almost linear motion. And in either instance they shouldn't accelerate unless it's towards the earth and they most definitely should not have such dramatic curves or angles (unless of course ALL of those curving and accelerating objects were struck by some outside force). But like I said, the video isn't important, just food for thought.

What are we left with? No signs of objects eating other objects, reproducing or the like, and no objects with visible means of propulsion (no jet trails etc).

Okay, so "life" might not evolve in space, and when I say life I'm talking about the general definition of plants and animals, not anything too specific. But would some other type of being, possibly energetic, form in space? Definite energy with a conscience? Possibly using more that just 4 dimensions like "life" here on our earth, which would help to explain why the energy doesn't appear as simply light?

Interestingly we know that there are many pre-biotic compounds floating in space. Many of these are in sufficient concentrations to see evidence of them from many many lightyears away. Google "pahs in space" and see how many articles come up.

http://www.astrochem.org/PANHS.html

quote:
Duplicating the harsh conditions of cold interstellar space, scientists from NASA's Ames Research Center have shown that nitrogen containing aromatic molecules, chemical compounds that could be important for life's origin, are widespread throughout space.

Combining laboratory experiments with computer simulations, this team had earlier shown that complex organic molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are widespread throughout space. PAHs, large, flat, chicken-wire shaped molecules made up of hydrogen and carbon are extremely stable and can withstand the hostile radiation environment of interstellar space. The Ames team showed that PAHs are responsible for the mysterious infrared radiation that astronomers first called the Unidentified Infrared Emission.
...
However, this theory was conceived at a time when it was thought space was barren of complex organics because interstellar radiation is too harsh, the distances too great, and violent shocks too frequent to support complex chemistry, let alone survival of large molecules and their transport to planetary surfaces. In sharp contrast to that picture, this new work shows that the early chemical steps believed to be important for the origin of life do not require a previously formed planet to occur. Instead, some of the chemicals are already present throughout space long before planet formation occurs and, if they land in a hospitable environment, can help jump-start the origin of life.


So I would not be surprised to find some such particles in orbit around earth, having been "picked up" as the solar system passes through space on its orbit around the galactic center.

To be honest I'm not trying to prove anything, I really just enjoy listening to everyone's thoughts. So try not to be too critical guys, ...

There's a fine line between uncritical and gullible. It is one thing to keep an open mind - open to possibilities currently unknown - and it is another to do so without skepticism.

Enjoy.

... as you are new here, some posting tips:

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Edited by RAZD, : spling


we are limited in our ability to understand
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Rebel American Zen Deist
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This message is a reply to:
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onifre
Member (Idle past 1028 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 12 of 29 (512424)
06-17-2009 6:32 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by howdoideletethis
06-17-2009 4:59 PM


Hi TristanMC, and I didn't say it before, but welcome to EvC.

But like I said, the video isn't important, just food for thought.

Fair enough.

But would some other type of being, possibly energetic, form in space?

Anything that "forms in space" will consist of energy. To include, things that form on things that formed in space. But it must take a form, it can't just be energy. Rahvin's post explains why perfectly.

Definite energy with a conscience?

Consciousness is nothing more than this bodies interaction with it's environment through it's sensory system. It's awareness to a high degree.

So, for consciousness to exist it must have developed a sensory function, but a consciousness as complex as ours will not emerge from a basic sensory system. Therefore, a complex sensory system is required for complex consciousness. Without a host, there are no means to acheive this complex sensory system, and thus no way of a complex consciousness to emerge.

Energy is not a thing that has emergent properties, therefore the "emergence of consciousness" is not even possible.

- Oni


Petition to Bailout Comedy The Laugh Factory is imploring Congress to immediately fund what owner Jamie Masada calls an "Economic Cheer-Up." If Congress fails to act quickly, the Laugh Factory comedians are planning to march to Washington and plea to President Obama.
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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1179 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 13 of 29 (512425)
06-17-2009 6:33 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by howdoideletethis
06-17-2009 4:59 PM


I think kamikazeCopilot on YouTube said it well:

kamikazeCopilot writes:

8,927 man-made objects officially tracked (up from 8,841 in July 1999). 4 million pounds of stuff. 110,000 total objects, 1 centimeter and larger.

TristanMC writes:

But as you can clearly see in the film the objects aren't behaving under natural gravitational laws. Either they should look still, or they should be moving in an almost linear motion. And in either instance they shouldn't accelerate unless it's towards the earth and they most definitely should not have such dramatic curves or angles (unless of course ALL of those curving and accelerating objects were struck by some outside force).

The 110,000+ satellites, space trash and other debris are all orbiting around the Earth. Much of this debris is travelling at very similar orbital speeds as the Space Shuttle since much of this debris itself came from the Space Shuttle, the ISS, satellites and other spacecraft and instruments which the Space Shuttle deployed.

BTW where in the video do you see curving and accelerating objects? I only see small pixelated dots or halo like objects (possibly some type of ring-like debris from a rocket or spacecraft?). Can you give me the min/sec count where this occurred? I must have missed it.

TristanMC writes:

But like I said, the video isn't important, just food for thought

Agreed this seems like a side topic on UFO's that is not really related to the question of whether life can evolve in outer space.

On the latter topic I would say that simple organic molecules can form in dense nebula and other high-density gaseous locations in the universe but I do not see how any life could originate without a suitable stable medium to allow for unhampered chemical catalysis. This along with very low gravitational forces to keep these chemicals together and the amount of radiation that is bombarding these molecules would, I think, make it very difficult for these chemicals to react in significant quantities and with beneficial results to result in creating life. Now whether life could evolve in space after its original genesis (on possibly a hospitable planet) may be a different manner. However, carbon-based life as we know it on Earth has limitations on the amount of irradiation, temperature extremes, etc that it can endure, as you stated earlier in a previous post.

There is a rather new field of biology called astrobiology (also exobiology) which is exploring and trying to find answers to many of these type of questions.

I actually did an astrobiology paper back in my Biology 101 class a couple of years ago that addressed the issue of how life might evolve on other planets based on other elements besides carbon as a molecular backbone i.e. silicone, phosophorus, etc.

I will see if I can did it up on my other laptop and post some excerpts of some of the material I found.

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.


For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan
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onifre
Member (Idle past 1028 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 14 of 29 (512426)
06-17-2009 6:39 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Perdition
06-17-2009 6:03 PM


As for the video, I didn't really need to see it to have a good guess at what it was. If you watch "The Right Stuff" you see an instance where one of the first astronauts thinks there are fireflies in space with him. It turned out to be frozen bits of water or exhaust from his ship.

Yea most of the videos of UFO's turn out to be fake. My point was that it was easy for you to figure it out even without having to watch the video, since it has been covered many times before as to what the anomalies are.

Your job wouldn't seem to place restrictions on much of anything, except perhaps being unfunny too often...

Taking things too seriously place restrictions on what gets deemed funny...

- Oni

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.


Petition to Bailout Comedy The Laugh Factory is imploring Congress to immediately fund what owner Jamie Masada calls an "Economic Cheer-Up." If Congress fails to act quickly, the Laugh Factory comedians are planning to march to Washington and plea to President Obama.
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howdoideletethis
Inactive Junior Member


Message 15 of 29 (512429)
06-17-2009 9:35 PM


Objects accelerate and change paths in the first 20 seconds, among other areas of the video.

Hm, energy wasn't really what I meant, but at the moment I can't really think of what I did mean. Maybe I was curious to think if something could originate from the solar and cosmic radiation, building from all of those protons, alpha particles, electrons and all of the quarks and leptons that go with it? We know these tiny things exist and there very well could be small particles we've yet to encounter. But then according to life as we know it these would arrange themselves to be just like normal life and thus wouldn't be able to exist in the vacuum of space. Hm..

How about this, someone else use their imagination and think of the most ideal way something might evolve in the vacuum of space. (And no, being on a meteor doesn't count)

And if I had 44 anuses I wouldn't be able to maneuver like the ship because I'd be exposed in space and I would die. So ha. =P


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