If this isn't life on Mars, what is it?

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remotexplorer

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Message 171216 - Posted: 24 Sep 2005, 4:00:03 UTC

View a 10-minute QuickTime movie of life on Mars:
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/iMovieTheater19.html

Even USGS remote sensing analysts agree the spots around northern dunes on Mars are bushes or shrubs!
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/trees2005.html

More MGS MOC images and analysis:
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/moundsonmars/Personal4.html
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Message 171339 - Posted: 24 Sep 2005, 16:10:55 UTC

Some speculate that NASA or other agencies might keep secret a discovery of intelligent life for various reasons, but shrubs, I don't think, need to be kept from the public. If NASA has not said there are shrubs on Mars, then to the best of human knowledge, there are no shrubs on Mars.
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Message 171352 - Posted: 24 Sep 2005, 17:12:44 UTC

So...how about a link to NASA with these pictures instead of a "homepage"?
"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible". Hebrews 11.3

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Message 171358 - Posted: 24 Sep 2005, 17:54:35 UTC

The NASA MGS MOC source images are at www.msss.com If you want the link to a particular image or images, let me know and I'll provide them.
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Message 171359 - Posted: 24 Sep 2005, 17:58:35 UTC

Normally, one who wants to swing opinion about a hypothesis in their favour should provide as much proof as possible - Namely, those links directly to NASA would have been a good idea to put in the original post.

Please do provide links to those pictures - I'm sure many people would appreciate that. I for one, don't take issue with the pictures, but with the "scientists' quotes". If you could provide links to proof that real scientists actually believe those are trees and shrubs, that would be much appreciated as well.


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Message 171592 - Posted: 25 Sep 2005, 5:30:53 UTC

Here are some of the image links:

Gallery Link with Ancillary Data
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R15/R1500218.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R14/R1401157.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R15/R1502118.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R15/R1502129.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R15/R1502661.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/ab1_m04/images/SP250805.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/ab1_m04/images/SP253807.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/m19_m23/images/M19/M1901495.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/m19_m23/images/M20/M2000416.html

MOC LINK
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/10_29_98_gsa_release/10_29_98_dunes_rel/
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/7_19_99_fifthMars/04_boreale_dunes/
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/dec02/npdunes/
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2003/05/08/
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2003/06/13/
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2003/10/18/
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/m19_m23/images/M20/M2001664.html

And here is one of the USGS emails:

Alan:

Sorry for the long delay in getting back to you but I have been back on active duty and quite busy. I have looked at these images and I sure could use more info about what system took them, the time of year they were taken, etc.

But, it does appear that the dark spots are some form of vegetation. It could be that they were planted to help stabilize the dunes or since they are on the "lee" side of the dunes, they are in a cooler and perhaps more moist environment - it appears that there are few on the predominately sun lit side of the dunes.

The bottom image looks a lot like some that we see in Iraq and Afghanistan - the dark spots here also appear to be trees or shrubs - very sparse, most likely because of the low levels of precip. and organic soils.

This may be too late for your paper, but I would like to know how your paper turned out. Send me a copy if you can..

Regards,

Wayne

***********************************************
Wayne G. Rohde
Chief, Geographic Sciences Team
EROS Data Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Sioux Falls, SD 57198


Alan Moen <alandmoen@yahoo.com>
02/06/2005 03:05 PM


To: rohde@usgs.gov
cc:
Subject: image analysis



Hi,

I'm working on a paper for school, and I can't tell if
the dark spots in these satellite images of a dune
area are trees or dark dust streaks. Can you, or
someone in your office, tell what they are?

The images are approximately 1 km wide and 2 km wide,
and the sun is pointing in the direction of the green
arrow.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Alan
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Message 171606 - Posted: 25 Sep 2005, 7:31:33 UTC

If these pictures really show trees or shrubs it's amazing, but I can't help thinking of Lowell's martian canals. The scientists you quote thought they were looking at pictures of Earth, so they would have preconcieved ideas of what the pictures could show (i.e. stuff you find on Earth).

Still, it's something to think about...
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Message 171689 - Posted: 25 Sep 2005, 14:58:54 UTC

Yes, if that e-mail is real, it is interesting.

Still, Es99 is right, the guy thought he was looking at pictures of earth, and would have gone into anylyzing those pictures with a completely different mindest than if he was told it was Mars.

If you feel that strongly about these pictures possibly being vegetation, why don't you forward your ideas to someone at NASA (with all the evidence)? The worst that can happen is they would say "you dummy, those are ______", and the best that can happen is we would have proof of life somewhere else in the universe.....

While I personally feel that there is no way that is vegetation, good job on getting all of our imaginations stirred!
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Message 172187 - Posted: 27 Sep 2005, 1:09:02 UTC

remotexplorer,
Excellent post! I am not sure what the black areas are but I believe you have done a very good job of backing up your opinion!

We need to send one of those two rovers we have over there :) I am sure the polar cap is well out of it's range, but it sure would be nice! (Those things are still running right?)

The way we keep burning off our resource, we may be heading to Mars sooner than we think :)

Chad
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Message 172221 - Posted: 27 Sep 2005, 5:14:28 UTC

All,
Thanks for the feedback.

RE: ES99 and Hammersmark,

I've tried getting someone at NASA to take a look, but preconceived ideas are exactly what I'm running up against. Even with the recent findings of methane in the atmosphere (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4295475.stm), water at the poles, and USGS analysts saying the spots look shrubs, current scientific preconception is that LIFE DOES NOT EXIST on Mars, therefore this cannot be life.

For anyone with the time to read, here is the rather lengthy chronology of my effort:

DEC 2002
Saw a Mars Picture of the Day that at first glance looked very similar to life growing around Earth dunes. I bookmarked the location. http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/dec02/npdunes/

JAN 2003
Imported the full-size file and looked at it in more detail. Decided to print out a poster-sized copy to see if there was some way to prove whether this was life or not. After an hour of staring at the large printout, I realized with quite a shock that the spots lined up with the sun direction and looked a lot like shadows cast by something large on the surface.

FEB 2003
Created a clay model and took photographs using the same viewing angle and lighting angle of the MGS MOC image. The resulting photos were a close match and encouraged me to dig deeper. See the model at the end of this web page: http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/moundsonmars/index%20copy%203.html

MAR-APR 2003
Found two more images at www.msss.com with spots around polar dunes. Determined that the spots also aligned with sun direction. Researched Barchen dunes and learned that they have a consistent profile on earth, with a max 15% slope on the windward side. Realizing I could scientifically prove the spots were shadows by the use of the geometrical relationship that a shadow falling on a slope would appear shorter than a shadow falling on flat ground, I began precisely measuring each spot in the MGS image. In all I measured 70 spots, and the results showed that the ratio of spot length on flat vs spot on slope was consistent with the ratio expected of shadows. Success!

MAY 2003
Seeing how I had proved there were tree-sized “mounds” on Mars, I documented the analysis (see “moundsonmars” link above) and tried to interest NASA in the incredible news. Unfortunately I didn’t get anywhere.

OCT-DEC 2003
Located 19 more images with spots around dunes and learned how to find the ancillary data on the msss.com site. Here are a few of them.

Gallery Link with Ancillary Data
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R15/R1500218.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R14/R1401157.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R15/R1502118.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R15/R1502129.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R15/R1502661.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/ab1_m04/images/SP250805.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/ab1_m04/images/SP253807.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/m19_m23/images/M19/M1901495.html
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/m19_m23/images/M20/M2000416.html

Proved 3 more aspects confirming “mound-like” objects were creating shadows:
1. Showed how the change in direction of spots in one image matched the phase change of the dune shadows.
2. Determined that the darkness intensity of the dune shadow matched the darkness of the spot or “mound” shadow.
3. Determined that the length of spot shortened as the sun inclination increased.

JAN 2004
Submitted a two-page synopsis to the Lunar Planetary Institute March 2004 conference. It was accepted, but I didn’t have any response to it. http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2004/pdf/1027.pdf

FEB-MAR 2004
Worked on a paper concerning the ring shadows around northern polar dunes. Proved several aspects of rings:
1. How a thin hollow tree canopy can create a ring shadow.
2. How the measure of ring thickness and ring diameter is dependent on the relationship of minimum light path through the canopy to maximum light path.
3. How white reflective rings/horseshoes are created.
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/moundsonmars/index%20copy.html

AUG 2004
Created the moundsonmars web site and posted the two papers and a couple more pages. Emailed over a hundred scientific people, but received very little response. Decided no one was going to spend reading research papers from an unknown person, and that perhaps a movie would be a better approach.

NOV-DEC 2004
Using CATIA V5, I created a 3D model of the Mars tree as determined by the “ringsonmars” research. Put the model into several Mars surface models and had the computer render shadows for each hourly interval of the martian day at that latitude and season. Used the resulting snapshots to create a QuickTime movie comparing model to MGS MOC images. The results were an amazing match. http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/iMovieTheater19.html movie

JAN-FEB 2005
Emailed over 500 scientists and students at various universities around the county and world. Received some positive response and managed to get around 150 people to view the movie. But the majority feedback was: life does NOT exist on Mars so this CAN’T be what you say. That sounds more like religious dogma to me than science. No one offered to prove me right or wrong by doing a peer review of my work. Wasn’t anyone curious?!

FEB 2005
I decided there was a huge scientific bias that life did NOT exist on mars, and that scientists would not give an unbiased analysis of the NASA images. So I decided to send MGS MOC dune/spot images to USGS remote sensing scientists without telling them they were Mars images. I gave them the scale/size and asked them if the spots were dark dust, tree shadows, or something else. Four scientists responded that the spots in the Mars images were shadows and or bushes/shrubs.

MAR 2005
I decided to research THEMIS imagery. I found spots around northern polar dune even though the THEMIS resolution isn’t as good as MGS MOC. I added a THEMIS page to the web site: http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/themis.html

APR 2005
I noticed a spacing pattern between spots determined that the spacing between spots was related to the size of the spot. The controlling relationship appears to be the shadow zone created by 10-degree inclination of sunlight. The taller the tree, the longer the shadow, and thus the greater the space between trees. A tree in the shadow of another tree wouldn’t grow as well as a tree exposed to full sunlight 24/7. I added another page to the web site: http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/spacing.html

MAY 2005
A professor at Berkeley forwarded a link to a Brown University web page
http://www.planetary.brown.edu/planetary/international/micro41.html
and asked if I could use the four dune images, which were taken at four different times, to create a 3D model of the surface. I don’t have the skill to do that, but it did get me to add another web page that shows the spots at the base of the dunes DO NOT grow in size as summer approaches.
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/dune.html

JUNE 2005
I then went on to analyze the highest resolution MGS MOC images of spots around dunes. This image does not fit the pattern of shadow spots and I believe the spots are direct images of the trees, rather than shadows. These spots also have the same spacing ratio noted in the spacing web page. Another web page was created.
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/direct.html

JUL-AUG 2005
I learned that GOOGLE now had satellite images of Earth online. Prior to this I had high-resolution images of Mars, but no imagery of Earth. It didn’t take me too long to find comparable images of trees around dunes at White Sands New Mexico and to find images of ring shadows caused by trees in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. I created another paper/web page comparing Mars images of trees to Earth images of trees. Also included the comments from USGS scientists.
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/trees2005.html

SEP 2005
Began posting links to my web pages on message boards in the hopes of encouraging someone else to add to this line of research. I am sure there are a lot more MGS MOC images of spots around dunes waiting to be discovered, and many more methods of analysis.

The search for truth begins with an open mind.
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Message 172225 - Posted: 27 Sep 2005, 5:49:37 UTC
Last modified: 27 Sep 2005, 6:02:57 UTC

mistake - ignore this post

- Skeptic - "... and there is no intelligent life in Washington D.C. either."
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Message 172226 - Posted: 27 Sep 2005, 5:56:11 UTC - in response to Message 172225.  
Last modified: 27 Sep 2005, 6:03:49 UTC

I must admit Rem, that you are a compelling advocate for your case. Thought provoking, impressive analysis, large body of thoughtful work, and a good presentation. Thanks for an excellent post.

It was enough to even give an old skeptic pause.

However, as local demi-god Carl Sagan is quoted "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

I understand that you are careful to say that you are not offering proof, but rather arguing a case for one way to understand these light patterns. Fair enough. Faced with an advocate for one position, I find it helpful to read the arguments of an advocate for the other side, and went googling for such. So far, I have to say that I really did not find much on the other side, except for the NASA "speculations" that you dismiss, and similar commentary to what I am reading in this thread. I'm still looking, but instead, let me take a stab with some alternative options to the question that is the subject of your thread:

"If it is not life on Mars, what is it?".

Consider that most (not all) of your analysis is to support the assertion that the light patterns on mars are consistent with shadows cast by pine tree and bush like structures. Not trees and bushes, but tree-like and bush-like structures.

Consider further that we are dealing with geology that is shaped by extreme conditions of wind, sand, and possibly ancient flowing water and ice. Conditions that are vastly different than earth. However, even on earth - wind, water, sand, and ice can have some interesting and surprising geological results.

Eye of the Needle - Alps
Needle Rock (Isle of Skye)
Stalagmites
More Stalagmites
Ice formations
Utah
Bowling Ball Beach
Bowling Ball Beach
Spider Rock
Mushroom Rock
Finger Rock

When faced with an analysis (which I accept) - like this from your web site:

"Using sun inclination, the height of the surface features creating the shadows was determined to be up to 24 METERS HIGH!"

I still have to ask, when we do ultimately look in that frozen, atmosphere-starved, sand-blasted desert... Is it more likely that we will find a 24 meter high pine tree, or a 24 meter high rock formation in the shape of a pine tree?

Tree Rock

Of course, the right answer is to go and look. Can't wait.

Thanks again for the post.



- Skeptic - "... and there is no intelligent life in Washington D.C. either."
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Message 172340 - Posted: 27 Sep 2005, 17:46:01 UTC

The only way we are going to know for sure is if we go and look. Remotexplorer's evidence is compelling but there are still other interpretations apart from big trees.

However, NASA has spent millions to send a mission to Mars to look for life so one would hope they have an open mind as to the form that life might take. Why not big trees? The gravity on Mars is 38% that of the Earths, so perhaps trees could grow to greater heights than here on Terra. The focus of the current mission has been on micro-organisms or their fossils. It would be ironic if they were so busy searching for bacteria that they missed 24 metre trees!

It would be lovely to find life on other planets (why else are we all crunching for SETI?) but it is important to keep an open mind either way. It's definitely worth taking a look.

You never know, there might be really big squirrels in them trees... :-)
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Message 172509 - Posted: 28 Sep 2005, 4:24:29 UTC - in response to Message 172340.  
Last modified: 28 Sep 2005, 4:26:24 UTC

"It would be lovely to find life on other planets (why else are we all crunching for SETI?) but it is important to keep an open mind either way. It's definitely worth taking a look...You never know, there might be really big squirrels in them trees..."- es99


Indeed. They might be giant(squirrels). I appreciate your sentiment, 99, but ...

Just as a point of clarification, I crunch specifically to help prove the lovely result that no one is out there.

- Skeptic - "... and there is no intelligent life in Washington D.C. either."
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Message 172519 - Posted: 28 Sep 2005, 7:04:30 UTC - in response to Message 172509.  

"It would be lovely to find life on other planets (why else are we all crunching for SETI?) but it is important to keep an open mind either way. It's definitely worth taking a look...You never know, there might be really big squirrels in them trees..."- es99


Indeed. They might be giant(squirrels). I appreciate your sentiment, 99, but ...

Just as a point of clarification, I crunch specifically to help prove the lovely result that no one is out there.


Can you realy believe that in a universe of possibly infinite size, which surely must contain more than one planet suitable for life, where the ingredients for life a strewn throughout (even in the dark 'empty' places bewteen the stars) that our humble little planet harbours the only life?

That that seems to me to be highly improbable. What form that life takes, how easy it is to find and whether it is intelligent or not is another matter. We've seen from our own planet that life can survive in all sorts of extreme conditions. It had even been postulated that it began around the vents of under sea volcanoes.

I would love to hear why you are so convinced that we are alone.
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Message 172638 - Posted: 28 Sep 2005, 20:41:42 UTC - in response to Message 172519.  
Last modified: 28 Sep 2005, 20:43:14 UTC

Can you realy believe that in a universe of possibly infinite size, which surely must contain more than one planet suitable for life, where the ingredients for life a strewn throughout (even in the dark 'empty' places bewteen the stars) that our humble little planet harbours the only life?

As best as it can be modeled in our (imperfect) understanding, the Universe is not infnite in size. You can go in a straight line forever because it is a hypersphere (just like you could walk the surface of a normal sphere forever without coming to any edges), but there is a limit to how much space the Universe has.

This doesn't detract from the idea that the Universe is big. Really big. Mind-bogglingly overwhelmingly big. No, bigger than you're thinking. Bigger than that, too. :-)

If the Universe was infinite in size and there were an infinite number of places that life could potentially develop, then it necessarily follows that there would be an infinite number of civilizations (no matter how remote the chances are in any given spot, a tiny fraction of infinity is still infinity).

As it is, there is a BIG Universe and a huge number of potential places for it to develop. The odds of it happening once but not more than once is so exceedingly small as to approach absurdity.

There are three ways to accept this premise and still claim that there is but one world with intelligent life:

(1) God wanted it that way.
(2) Life is spread so thinly throughout the Universe that no two cultures will exist close enough to each other to communicate.
(3) There is no life on Earth, removing the "once but not more than once" reasoning.

I can accept that someone firmly believes in (1) or (2). I think that (1) takes scriptures written thousands of years ago a bit too literally, but I could have a reasonable discussion with such a person. The argument in (2) is not so much about the theory of life "out there" but the practical matter of ever finding it. The jury is still out on how common life is in the Universe, so I would regard an adherent to (2) as more of a pessimist than a philosophical opponent. Someone arguing (3) has to convince me that we are all plugged into the Matrix on some other planet AND the consciousnesses running all of these avatars are not "life" as we would define it.

Any of those three arguments would be valid in a finite or infinite Universe.

(Edit for grammar)
No animals were harmed in the making of the above post... much.
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Message 172919 - Posted: 29 Sep 2005, 22:06:50 UTC

I put forward another idea - lets consider that as the universe is multi dimensional and we exist in a multi dimensional universe and conscious is infinite - could it be possible that in another reality or dimension we have already contacted other intelligences 'out there' and perhaps we have already travelled there ourselves and the technology we now have to search for contact is being initiated from the level of consciousness that we have already been there and now wish Earth to realise this. I am sure we will receive signals but they may turn out to be from an aspect of ourselves existing in a different time/dimension. Philosphers say what we seek is within us and we already know. [Just a thought to stretch the consciousness :)]
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Message 173520 - Posted: 2 Oct 2005, 5:15:14 UTC - in response to Message 172638.  
Last modified: 2 Oct 2005, 6:00:17 UTC

As best as it can be modeled in our (imperfect) understanding, the Universe is not infinite in size... If the Universe was infinite in size and there were an infinite number of places that life could potentially develop, then it necessarily follows that there would be an infinite number of civilizations (no matter how remote the chances are in any given spot, a tiny fraction of infinity is still infinity).- Octagon


Exactly so, Octo - you hit the nail on the head. This is the problem with infinity. You start throwing "infinities" around in casual conversation and you pretty much have to uncritically accept just about everything. Of course there are infinite civilizations, its an infinite universe isn't it? Of course Lani is talking to aliens in parallel universes, her consciousness is infinite isn't it? Every single cockamamie thing is possible because it necessarily must exist in an infinite universe with infinite dimensions and infinite parallel instances. It is even required that in one of those universes the Chicago Cubs win a World Series in my lifetime (argument Reductio ad absurdum).

So - I like your approach of cutting the problem down a bit so we can at least talk about it.

As it is, there is a BIG Universe and a huge number of potential places for it to develop. The odds of it happening once but not more than once is so exceedingly small as to approach absurdity.- Octagon


Ok I'll even accept this ... even though there is absolutely no evidence of life anywhere but earth, I'll stipulate that in something as big as the Universe, I'd expect life (like algae and bacteria and martian pine trees) to be pretty pervasive. Stipulated.

So lets get a little more precise and just talk about something a little smaller. How about just this galaxy and just intelligent life? Most "true believers" in this forum will still remain steadfast in their cherished belief in the certainty of Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life in something only as big as this galaxy. Clearly if you believe this incarnation of SETI is going to find evidence, then you believe they are in this galaxy, as SETI is currently searching a very very small corner of this one galaxy.

There are three ways to accept this premise and still claim that there is but one world with intelligent life... - Octagon


This, IMO - is where you have taken a bridge too far, Octo, particularly if you accept my modification of talking about just this galaxy. There is a very very big chasm between stipulating pervasive life, and saying that Intelligent life is also pervasive, or even frequent, or even exists more than once in this galaxy.

My reasoning is based on none of your three belief statements. It is based on the simple fact that there is no evidence. Now I understand that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Fine. However, in this one galaxy, absence of evidence is actually a very big problem for anyone who wants to profess belief in ET and have it mean something more than professing a belief in angels or gods or transdimensional beings that are talking to you in your head.

The reason why "absence of evidence" is a real problem for "true believers" is that this is a very old galaxy. And we live in a relatively young solar system and planet in that galaxy. And as big as it is, it is so old that if there is any reasonable probability of anything else remotely like us (intelligent, and a desire to explore)in this galaxy, they would have and should have been here (Earth) by now. They just would not be this hard to find.

I am, of course, talking about the Fermi Paradox.

The linked Wikipedia article is better than anything I can summarize here, but the essence of the problem is this: If you are going to stipulate the existence of intelligent life in our galaxy that preceded us, it is incumbent on you to give an explanation of where they might be - giving the crushing reality of how far they should have moved in the 10 billion year history of the galaxy. With even the most conservative assumptions (travel at small fractions of the speed of light, long waits between moves from one star to the next, etc.) - a similar species to us with our intelligence, motivation and desire for exploration would take no more that 50 million years to colonize the entire galaxy. Which means the entire galaxy should have been colonized 20 times over by even just one civilization that preceded us.

[ url=http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0009CDEA-33FC-1C74-9B81809EC588EF21&pageNumber=1&catID=2 ]
"Astronomer Ian Crawford wrote about this in Scientific American. His diffusion model leads to "full galactic colonization" in 5 to 50 million years (Sci. Am., Nov. 2000, p. 8), a small fraction of the age of the Galaxy. Naturally this all assumes human-like behaviour and motivation. The bottom line is that if even only a few alien civilizations have arisen in the 10 billion or so year history of our Galaxy, most of the habitable parts of the Galaxy would likely be colonized by now."[/url]

Which brings me back to ES99's question:

I would love to hear why you are so convinced that we are alone. - ES99


Because if they were out there, we really should be able to detect them.

Because, if they were out there, they really should be here by now.

Because there is no evidence.

Because "occam's razor" suggests that the simplest explanation is often the right explanation. And the simplest explantion for why we do not see any evidence of their existence, is that they simply do not exist.

- Skeptic - "... and there is no intelligent life in Washington D.C. either."
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Message 173527 - Posted: 2 Oct 2005, 6:03:19 UTC - in response to Message 171216.  
Last modified: 2 Oct 2005, 6:04:31 UTC

View a 10-minute QuickTime movie of life on Mars:
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/iMovieTheater19.html

Even USGS remote sensing analysts agree the spots around northern dunes on Mars are bushes or shrubs!
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/trees2005.html

More MGS MOC images and analysis:
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/moundsonmars/Personal4.html


Are you kidding me? Those are rocks, nothing more. There's only so much you can prove by tricking geologists into thinking they're looking at satellite photos of earth and asking their opinion. By doing this, you are not removing bias, you're adding it. You're intentionally misleading these "experts" and then risking their scientific credibility by quoting them out of context. This is very poor practice, and may even be illegal (libel).
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Try the Wiki for other questions.
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Message 173541 - Posted: 2 Oct 2005, 7:56:47 UTC
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Skeptic, first of all I want to thank you for an excellent link on the Fermi paradox. I've never seen such a good summary on all the points for and against the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe.

You are right of course about me carelessly throwing infinities around. I should know better. In an infinite universe there would be an infinite number of Earths with an infinite number of SETI forums and an infinite number of threads on life on other planets. In an infinite universe anything is possible. The point I was trying to make was that the universe is very big and therefore if something has happened once it is possible for it to happen again. (I think Octagon also made this point)

I was also under the impression that you didn't believe in any sort of extra terrestrial life, rather than intelligent life. This was because we were talking about the trees on Mars at the time. (Let's not even go into the possibility of intelligent trees :) Martian Ents if you like.) Not sure if Occam's razor really holds here. We've not really been looking very hard, or for very long and we have a big place to search. That's like saying I don't believe in tin openers because I haven't opened the kitchen drawer. SETI can't prove the non-existence of intelligent life so you are only going to be disappointed :(

We also need to decide what we mean by intelligent life. We naturally view the world from a very monkey-centric point of view. If it's not building things, taking things apart to see how they work, finding new and exciting ways to kill and exploit other members of its species or inventing a more advanced gaming system then it can't be intelligent. We assume that any other intelligence would develop along the same lines as our own - hence the SETI project looking at radio waves. Any alien intelligence would be just that, alien. How can we guess what sort of technology it might develop? We've not even thoroughly investigated the possibility of other intelligence on our own planet yet we are prepared to make massive assumptions about the intelligence of life elsewhere.

Back to the trees - personally I think it's unlikely these are trees but it's a lovely idea and I like to keep an open mind (as all good scientists should). It's certainly captured the imagination of people here. Lowell got carried away with his canals on just as much evidence, but we can thank him for spawning some great science fiction stories. Perhaps these 'trees' will do the same.

Jason put it a little more bluntly than I did, but the expert opinion was definitely suspect as the experts were misled and I doubt they would be happy to be quoted in this context.

Besides there is always the grim prospect that we are all virtual constructs in a highly advanced artificial reality program constructed by our descendents as a kind of living history and we only think we are sentient. (This is actually a genuine theory and I didn't make it up)

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