|ASTROBIOLOGY = HUMANKIND'S SEARCH OF THE TRUTH OF EXISTING OF INFINITE LIFEFORMS IN INFINITE WORLDS......|
Posted by Vishva News Reporter on July 27, 2008
Thermophiles, a type of extremophile, produce some of the bright colors
of Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, USA......
EARTH AND HUMANS ARE NOT THE CENTRE OF UNIVERSE....
THIS 500 YEARS AGO...BUT HUMAN HUBRIS CANNOT BELIEVE THE FOLLOWING BEING
DISCOVERED THROUGH ASTROBIOLOGY:
- At a depth of 3.2 km in South African gold mines are
found bacteria sustained only by the radioactive decay energy of nearby
rocks....humans think radioactive only kills!!!!!! These bacteria have
not seen sun for millions of years....
- Similar extremophiles life have also been found:
a) living near super-hot sulphurous steam
vents at the deep ocean floor,
b) living in pools composed almost entirely of
c) bacteria alive in 123,000 years old ice three kilometres
below the surface of the Greenland ice sheet.
- All the extremophiles get little or no energy from the
sun, which sustains virtually all other lifeforms, and their survival
makes it more conceivable that microbes could live in the sub-surface
ice or water on Mars and Europa.
- The number of stars in the universe is something like 1
followed by 23 zeros (hundred thousand trillion)....Given that number,
how arrogant to think ours is the only sun with a planet that supports
life, and that it’s in the only solar system with intelligent life.”
An extremophile is an
organism that thrives in and may even require
extreme conditions that are detrimental to the majority of
Most known extremophiles are
microbes. The domain
contains renowned examples, but extremophiles are present in numerous
lineages of both
bacteria and archaeans. Furthermore, it is erroneous to use the term
extremophile to encompass all archaeans, as some are
mesophilic. Neither are all extremophiles unicellular;
protostomes found in similar environments include the
Pompeii worm, the
Antarctic krill (a
crustacean) and the
water bear......Please continue to read more by clicking
LIFE is a
condition that distinguishes organisms from non-living objects, such as
non-life, and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through
metabolism and reproduction. Some living things can communicate and many
can adapt to their environment through changes originating
internally.....continue to understand LIFE by clicking
and reading more....
the corpus of all sciences and arts that creates
LIFE and sustains
life as defined above and also eternally recreates
LIFE in different
names and forms...And vED
does this to create LIFE
in infinite diversity and infinite diversified universes......(as per
various postings on this knowledge sharing PVAF website
Please continue reading about the search for LIFE in
the article on the next page by clicking on the last line of this news
Exploring the extremes
ASTROBIOLOGY: New discoveries are fuelling an explosion of scientific
interest in the search for lifeforms that exist in extreme conditions on
Earth, in our solar systems and beyond......
27 Jul 2008: MARC KAUFMAN
When Paul Butler began hunting for planets beyond our solar system, few
people took him seriously, and some, he says, questioned his credentials
as a scientist.
That was a decade ago, before Butler helped find some of the first
extra-solar planets, and before he and his team identified about half of
the 300 discovered since.
Biogeologist Lisa Pratt of Indiana University had a similar experience
with her early research on “extremophiles,” bizarre microbes found in
very harsh Earth environments.
She and colleagues explored the depths of South African gold mines and,
to their great surprise, found bacteria sustained only by the
radioactive decay of nearby rocks.
“Until several years ago, absolutely nobody thought this kind of life
was possible — it hadn’t even made it into science fiction,” she said.
“Now it’s quite possible to imagine a microbe like that living deep
beneath the surface of Mars.”
The experiences of these two researchers reflect the scientific
explosion taking place in astrobiology, the multi-disciplined search for
extreme forms of life on Earth and for possibly similar, or more
advanced, life elsewhere in the solar system and in distant galaxies.
The confidence that alien life will ultimately be found is strong enough
to have kindled formal discussions among scientists, philosophers,
theologians and others about the implications that such a find would
have for humanity’s view of itself, and how to prepare the public for
the news, should it come.
“There’s been a fundamental shift in the thinking of the scientific
community on the question of life-forms beyond Earth,” Pratt said.
Edward Weiler, one of the founders of NASA’s astrobiology program and
now chief of the agency’s science division, goes even further.
“We now know the number of stars in the universe is something like 1
followed by 23 zeros,” he said. “Given that number, how arrogant to
think ours is the only sun with a planet that supports life, and that
it’s in the only solar system with intelligent life.”
Although humans have speculated for centuries about the possibility of
extraterrestrial life, astrobiology began as a formal NASA program only
in the mid-1990s, created in the excitement that followed the discovery
of a meteorite from Mars that was initially thought to contain fossils
or other evidence of microscopic organisms (a conclusion now generally
rejected). The field has nonetheless grown quickly. More than 700
scientists and graduate students — including molecular biologists,
chemists, planetary scientists and cosmologists — showed up at a
NASA-sponsored astrobiology conference in California this past spring.
Many schools have growing astrobiology programs, and planet-hunter Paul
Butler often travels from his base at the Carnegie Institution in the
District of Columbia to Chile, Hawaii and Australia to work with other
astronomers at big telescopes.
He estimates that 1,000 to 2,000 scientists now work in the field.
Few believe that the discovery of extraterrestrial life is imminent.
However, just as scientists long theorized that there were planets
orbiting other stars — but could not prove it until new technologies and
insights broke the field wide open — many astrobiologists now see their
job as to develop new ways to search for the life they are sure is out
The most intensive effort at the moment is focused on Mars, where NASA’s
robotic lander Phoenix is digging up soil and ice in search of organic
The automated lab has excited scientists by finding many of the
nutrients needed for life, although it has not found anything that was,
or is, living. Also, photos and other data from NASA’s Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter produced dramatic new evidence this month that
the planet was once home to vast lakes, flowing rivers and a variety of
other wet environments that had the potential to support life.
Much more is on the way. NASA will launch the Kepler probe next year,
and its central goal will be to identify Earth-like, and possibly
habitable, planets around distant stars. Japanese astronomers plan to
band together to observe one star in great detail because of hints that
it could have an orbiting planet with life. And preliminary work is
underway for joint NASA-European Space Agency probes of Europa and
Titan, moons of Jupiter and Saturn with conditions that might support
John Rummel, director of the NASA astrobiology program, said the program
is changing the way people think about life on Earth and beyond.
“The context for life is much broader than just what we see on Earth,”
he said. “Organic material is falling from the sky all the time, and
we’re learning that what happens out there is very important down here.
Who knows: Maybe life on Earth came from Mars billions of years ago,
when it had liquid water on its surface.”
Rummel said that the discovery of many varieties of extremophiles on
Earth, coupled with a better understanding of some potentially habitable
environments on other planets or moons, leads him to believe that life
beyond Earth will be found, with ramifications comparable to
Copernicus’s 15thcentury discovery that Earth is not the centre of the
universe. “The Copernican revolution continues,” Rummel said.
Tales of canals and green men on Mars, UFOs and Star Trek characters
have long captured the imagination, but finding microbes or evidence of
other life beneath the surface of Mars or on the moons of Jupiter or
Saturn is another matter entirely. Even if the first extraterrestrial
life to be identified were primitive rather than intelligent, experts
said, the discovery would be a major milestone in human history.
“If any extraterrestrial life is found in our solar system and we can
determine it has no relation to life on Earth, then the assumption has
to be that life of all sorts is quite common throughout the galaxies,”
To some, debating the implications of discovering extraterrestrial life
is premature at best, because — all UFO “sightings” aside — none has
ever been found.
Two Viking missions to Mars in the 1970s to search for organic material
did not identify any — although they were unable to dig below the rugged
and parched Martian surface into the ground where scientists now think
that water and possibly life could be found. In addition, the private
group SETI, or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has been
broadcasting radio messages to hoped-for intelligent aliens for years
and listening for a response — sometimes with NASA support — but has
been met so far with silence. And what some consider the rush to declare
that the meteorite from Mars contained fossil remains has become an
object lesson in the importance of confirming the science before making
any declarations about extraterrestrial life.
What is different now, researchers say, is that they know so much more
about extreme life-forms on Earth that could quite comfortably live on
other planets. In addition to South Africa’s radioactivity-driven
bacteria, extremophiles have also been found living near super-hot
sulphurous steam vents at the deep ocean floor, in pools composed almost
entirely of acid, and recently three kilometres below the surface of the
Greenland ice sheet. All get little or no energy from the sun, which
sustains virtually all other lifeforms, and their survival makes it more
conceivable that microbes could live in the sub-surface ice or water on
Mars and Europa.
Having identified more than 300 planets outside the solar system,
researchers are also convinced that planets and solar systems — some
probably similar to ours — are present and perhaps quite common,
elsewhere in the universe.
The next step is to find extrasolar planets in the “habitable zone” of
their solar systems — planets whose size, makeup and distance from their
sun might allow life to develop.
In addition, the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments have given
researchers new data about the evolution and structure of the universe —
information that makes it increasingly appear to be “fine-tuned” for
Lord Martin Rees, England’s astronomer royal, made that argument as the
keynote speaker at NASA’s spring astrobiology conference — saying that
life could not exist on Earth or anywhere else if the basic physical
dynamics of the universe were not almost precisely what they are. Slight
changes in the strength of the electrical force that holds atoms
together, of the pull of gravity, or of the total mass of the universe
would have made it difficult for stars to form and create the heavy
elements essential for life, and impossible for them to remain active
long enough to support the process of evolution.
Many religious thinkers see this fine-tuning as an argument for the
existence of a creator, but Rees and other cosmologists offer a
different explanation: that our universe is but one in a world of
multiple (or infinite) universes. However it came into being, Rees
argued, our universe is inherently life-supporting, and there is no
reason to believe that that potential has been realized only on Earth.
The excitement now in the field, and its central challenges, were
expressed in a report last year by the (U.S.) National Research Council,
which assembles experts to study scientific issues and problems.
“The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems” report — also known
simply as “Weird Life” — concluded: “The likelihood of encountering some
form of life in subsurface Mars and sub-ice Europa appears high. … The
committee sees no reason to exclude the possibility of life in
environments as diverse as the aerosols above Venus and the
water-ammonia (mixture) of Titan.”
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