New estimate for the potential number of technologically advanced civilizations in our Galaxy

Discussion in 'Science' started by Monash, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. roorooroo

    roorooroo Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    May 14, 2017
    Messages:
    1,811
    Likes Received:
    1,690
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    @Monash:

    Hey, sorry if I was a bit on the brash side in this exchange. My only defense is that there was a similar thread awhile back and at least one poster was adamant that the data and statistics absolutely guarantees that the galaxy/universe is teeming with intelligent life. My attempts at explaining that the variables are so widely unknown and therefore the results are pointless had no affect.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
    WillReadmore, Cosmo and Monash like this.
  2. Monash

    Monash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Its easy enough to imagine different types of intelligence with who we could never communicate complex ideas in any meaningful fashion. However if a social, tool using species learns to build highly complex devices (computers, spaceships, anything from their equivalent of Ikea etc ) then they must also understand and utilize then same universal mathematical and physical principals we do. That much we should have in common.
     
    WillReadmore and Cosmo like this.
  3. Grey Matter

    Grey Matter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2020
    Messages:
    832
    Likes Received:
    314
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    You are kidding right?

    Here, have Mike Crichton explain to you how the Drake "equation" is meaningless, as as already been pointed out in this thread....

    Aliens Cause Global Warming
     
    WillReadmore and roorooroo like this.
  4. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,648
    Likes Received:
    839
    Trophy Points:
    113
  5. Grey Matter

    Grey Matter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2020
    Messages:
    832
    Likes Received:
    314
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    I'm happy to see that research into the origins of life is being funded; although I'm not so sure that the NASA Ames organization is the place to be doing it.

    Is this link somehow supposed to provide support that that the Drake "equation" is science?

    Did you read my link? What was the last level of math you completed?
     
  6. Monash

    Monash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    The Drake equation is math yes, but not not a serious analysis of the probability of other civilizations. When you read about the circumstances leading up to Drake formulating the equation its pretty clear he was just setting up a 'yardstick' or rule of thumb highlighting the difficulties likely to be encountered when trying to locate other civilizations. The article I saw which lead me to start this thread tweaked my interest preciously because of the spectacularly low number of possible civilizations they came up as opposed to Drakes original estimate.

    The number of extra solar planets in the galaxy is now known to be far higher than Drake's original estimate in the equation (Fp) as is the number of planets that could potentially support life (Fl). So if you apply his formula using the new numbers the number of potential civilizations balloons out spectacularly. But in all recent articles/stories I've read about this topic this is not happening. In fact it's the opposite, estimates are plummeting down into to double or even single digit numbers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
    Cosmo likes this.
  7. Grey Matter

    Grey Matter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2020
    Messages:
    832
    Likes Received:
    314
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Right On! Have you jammed out to this yet?

    https://www.amazon.com/Interstellar-Space-Remastered-John-Coltrane/dp/B00004TA41


    Coltrane Interstellar Space Album Cover.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
  8. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Messages:
    33,723
    Likes Received:
    7,210
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Travel and exploration are two different things.

    We explore far beyond where we travel. We can't travel to quarks, yet we explore them We can't travel to other solar systems, but we explore them. We explore Pluto, but can't go there. And, we don't need to. Our abilities with robotics are expanding far faster than our travel capabilities.

    I'm just pretty much a curmudgeon when it comes to launching humans into space. It is HUGELY expensive and doesn't produce nearly the science bang for the buck when it comes to exploration. Our current moon man project is not designed as a science mission. They will attach some science to it as possible, but with that budget we could learn FAR more science with robotic and telescopic missions.

    Besides, if we were ever going to send a human beyond our solar system, the very first thing we would need is a WHOLE NEW PHYSICS! And, that's not NASA's job.
     
    Cosmo and Grey Matter like this.
  9. Monash

    Monash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    At the moment no. But NASA and other agencies are already modelling and testing components of 'drives' that will let at lease unmanned probes reach 10-20% of the speed of light. We even closing in on the ability to put humans and other animals into a hibernation like 'torpor' state. Potentially for months at a time. But small steps first.

    If we ever wish to send people to other solar systems then, as I noted in another thread our real problem isn't the engines so much as the habitats we send them in. We are no where near solving the engineering and other technical challenges involved in making a self sustaining closed habitat that could safety house 10 let alone hundreds or thousands of people for 100 years plus. We can't even do that on the surface of the Earth yet, let alone in space. So the first step is exploring the solar system and learning in the process how to build all the technologies we need for an interstellar mission.

    If, (and its a big unknown) we can build sealed, self sustaining space stations or bases (on asteroids/moons etc) then we can build one that will go to the stars.

    IMO the process would be;

    1) Build large scale spaced based telescope arrays (they are already planned/ in the design stage). This tells us whats the best place to visit and whats likely to be there when we arrive.
    2) Send a probe to your target (really lots of probes bundled together for different missions). Then analyze the telemetry you get back.
    3) Send one or more unmanned advanced missions with lots of the stores/equipment any crew would will need upon arrival.
    4) Send you crew on a ship with the capacity for a round trip.
    5) Start building more and larger habitats (space based or not). Breed, rinse and repeat to new targets.

    After a couple of missions, assuming they are successful. Earth doesn't even have to be involved any more.

    Finally yes, all the above is highly speculative and, at the moment in the realm of SF but then so were rockets to the moon 100 years ago. And I honestly cant see any of the above being possible for at least another 100-200 years - and that's the start date not the arrival date!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
    Cosmo likes this.
  10. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Messages:
    33,723
    Likes Received:
    7,210
    Trophy Points:
    113
    OK, with full knowledge that a lot of smart folks seem to disagree with me for some reason I still don't understand after trying to figure it out ...

    I'm in favor of your #1. We do need stuff in space for better observation, etc. That could be constructed in space robotically. There is even a rough idea of how to build a telescope on the moon that would essentially be lining a crator with the telescope - huge, protected from Earth radiation by being on the other side, and built robotically. Cool! Right now, we're more or less limited to launching completed satellites - meaning that every satellite has to be built to be limited by launch constraints of size and ruggedness - the reasons James Webb has so far failed. There is a LOT of really interesting stuff to do. Verifying or maybe extending our models of physics would be stupendous.

    Your #2 is what we've been doing with planets and asteroids. We're getting better at it, because launch expenses, robotics, etc., are constantly improving.

    From there on in your list, I just do not see adequate justification. One has to point to a reason for doing it. What objective requires humans on board? And, given that the objective is worthwhile, what would would actually shorten the timeline without wiping out all other expenditure on science in space? (Like our fixation on moonmen and martians is scheduled to do today.)

    If (for example) suspended animation is required, then other near term accomplishments may not shorten the timeline at all. Thus burning our budget on tech not needed for a long time would be a criminal level mistake.

    Humans in space is itself a far harder problem than is creating more capable robotics. Plus, robotics can do stuff humans can not do.

    The first landing on an exoplanet is a LONG LONG way off, and it won't have anything to do with humans in space. And, I don't believe canceling humans on the moon this decade will make it any longer.

    There is a LOT do do that has significant scientific interest. We should be focused on that. Landing a human on the moon is a MAJOR and highly expensive distraction.
     
    Cosmo and Grey Matter like this.
  11. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Messages:
    33,723
    Likes Received:
    7,210
    Trophy Points:
    113
    On speed ...

    There are known exoplanets closer than Kepler 186f at 490 light years. But, that is the closest known exoplanet that a human might possibly want to land on - only a guess at possibility. So, a one way trip would most likely be suicide.

    So, it would take 500 years (plus whatever it takes to accelerate to light speed and then slow down again) to get there at 100% light speed.

    If we can manage 20% of the speed of light that means it would tak 5 years to go 1 light year.

    And, that means it would take 5 X 490 years to get to Kepler 186f. And, at that speed pretty much any particle our space craft would hit over that 5,000 year round trip would be catastrophic.

    Could there be closer "nice" exoplanets? Maybe, but it's the closer ones that we have already had a better chance of finding - by carefully measuring nearby stars. And, it would have to be HUGELY closer to make much difference at all.

    I think we forget how vast our galaxy acutally is.f

    For that kind of tourism, we're not waiting for some new ion drive - we're waiting for brand new physics.
     
    Cosmo and Grey Matter like this.
  12. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Messages:
    41,086
    Likes Received:
    31,885
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Firstly I would like to make the point that we are NOT the only intelligent life form on our own planet. Furthermore we have trouble communicating with each other and have barely scraped the surface when it comes to communicating with the other intelligent life forms sharing our planet. Virtually every species has a least some small degree of intelligence as a basic survival mechanism even if it is as basic as just selecting optimal places for propagation.

    Our primary differentiation is the use of tools and even then there are other species on our planet that share that trait so it is not unique to ourselves. The development of a technological intelligence does require the ability to use tools so we can use that as the differentiating factor when looking for technological intelligence elsewhere in the universe.

    While we can use math to predict the possibility of technological intelligent species on other planets our ability to communicate with them is going to be a significant barrier. Instead of thinking in terms of physical travel or some kind of signalling technology we should appreciate that those other technological intelligent species face the same challenges that we do.

    Which brings me to Quantum Computers and Entanglement. If it were theoretically possible to entangle the Qubits on an earth bound Quantum Computer with the Qubits on a Quantum Computer on another planet belonging to another technological intelligent species then it might be possible for us to communicate with them. Math is the language of the universe so this is theoretically possible although there are a great many hurdles to overcome before we can even begin to start any experiments of this nature.

    This is what makes science so fascinating. The endless possibilities that can be explored as we learn more and more about our universe.
     
    Cosmo likes this.
  13. Monash

    Monash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Just quickly, stage (3) is simply a way of getting your 'luggage' to your destination ahead of you. Saving you the time and energy required to lug it there yourself.

    As for justification - that is the hard part. Just as there's not much justification for expanding into space at the moment, there's not much justification for heading to another solar system once we've expanded out into and started filling up our own.

    However if. And its a big if I grant you humans expand out into our solar system you are going to end uo with a considerable population base (tiny compared to Earth's but considerable non-the-less) who are more or less 'at home' in space and have no strong ties to the mother planet at all then you also have a population who might be willing to exploit completely virgin territory in other solar systems where there is no competition.

    Point being, even now we are pretty sure there is no change of there being a 'new' planet Earth anywhere with 20 light years or so. Something you might be cable to Terraform with a lot of time and effort" Possibly. A garden planet we can simply hand on and start building log cabins. No.

    That means any near term interstellar missions will involve people who lived/grew up on space habitats and who are going to build new ones when they arrive a another solar system. These will be people whose way of life probably more or less depends on exploiting spaced based resources. So if they go to another system they and their descendant's will have sole ownership of every resource there is to exploit. That might, repeat might be the only encouragement they need provided the tech to get them there is proven and reliable. They get to stake a claim on their own personal El Dorado.

    As for suspended animation. There's no evidence its possible at this stage. Hibernation possibly. So if you can spend 6 months asleep and 6 months awake you half the 'real time' the mission takes as well as reduce the amount of consumables (food, water etc you need to take.) Another plus is it might very well slow down the aging process for the individual. You metabolism slows down a lot therefore so should the amount of damage those processes do. So a young person might live to see the arrival of the colony ship at a target 10 years away, even if they are called gran, or grandad when they get there.

    Robots are also a big piece of the puzzle. and are essential for stages (2) and (3). Depending on how advanced/sophisticated we can make them stage (3) might involve launching a factory type ship filled with advanced robots and printers for building more. Give them enough time and they could build the basic infrastructure for the human passengers before they even get there. Long term? Material tech is already at the stage where, if you can process enough carbon fiber and metals etc you could build rotating habitats bigger than Texas in volume.

    None of which BTW means I think the above is easy or assured. just possible.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020 at 5:29 AM
    Cosmo likes this.
  14. Monash

    Monash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Not for a moment suggesting it would be 'tourism'. This is strictly 'boarding a sailing ship for the new world and never coming back' material i.e. a generational, one way trip.

    As I indicated in my previous post I don't see any way extra-solar expansion is going to be from one Earth 'like' planet to another. There are simply no such planets likely to exist with range. And assuming there is no such thing as 'new physics' (Not ruling it out BTW just assuming for the sake of argument its non-existent.) then our options are stickily limited to leap-frogging from one solar system to another, choosing the most resource rich and least dangerous ones as we go e.g. avoiding 'flare' stars or ones with low metalicity (resources rich) systems.

    Following that kind of strategy human beings (or whatever we have become in the distant future) might finally reach an Earth like planet to colonize. But that would be thousands of years in the future and by then the total number of people living in advanced 'continent' sized space habitats with their own bio-spheres orbiting non-earth like star systems would probably outnumber those living on 'Earth like' planets by many orders of magnitude. The whole process would be kind of like crossing a stream by jumping from one stepping stone to another.

    Which is all fine in theory. The pity is neither you nor I will live to see the journey start let alone arrive at its first destination. And that's assuming its even possible in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020 at 7:30 AM
    Cosmo likes this.
  15. Monash

    Monash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    D. The rest of your post notwithstanding. My manifestly limited understanding of quantum entanglement and QM in general is that it cannot under any circumstances be used as a means of FTL communication.

    This is because based on all research to date the observer has no control over the state of the particle being observed. For example lets assume two beings 100 light years apart decide to try and communicate instantaneously using entangled particles. For the propose of this post they decide to use the polarity of two particles (positive or negative) as the binary zero or one in their 'FTL' telegraph. (They could use spin or any other they wanted.)

    However in order to send a meaningful message both parties have to be able to exercise control over which quantum state (positive or negative) of the particles they are observing in their message starting with the first observation and ending with the last. e.g if they agree that positive' polarity will equal 1 and negative polarity will equal 0 then sender simply selects whichever value he or she needs for their message knowing that the opposite value will instantaneously be reflected at the other end. They effectively instantaneously Morse Code each other across the 100 light year gap.

    However this is not how QM works. The point is that the sender has literally no control over the first (or any other value) in the message being sent.They do not control what they observe when they measure the particle concerned. They open the 'box' containing their entangled particle and random chance/statistics determines what they see. Both parties literally have a 50% chance of observing a positive polarity or a 50% chance of observing a negative polarity. If they see a 'positive' then their friend 100 light year away instantly sees a negative and vice versa. But neither gets to choose what observation they make or what value they see.

    This means ALL QM observations are entirely random. And since the observer has no control over what they observe no meaningful information can be transmitted. Gibberish one way and gibberish back. So Einstein wins again - the bastard.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020 at 9:08 AM
  16. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Messages:
    41,086
    Likes Received:
    31,885
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I never made any claims about it being FTL. The Chinese did an experiment to effectively transmit encryption keys via the properties of entanglement.

    https://briankoberlein.com/blog/quantum-entanglement/

    This is still at the baby step stage but I can recall when just getting two of the original 8 bit PC's to network was a challenge. When it comes to computers things evolve a lot faster than most other technologies. The ability to communicate those random strings establishes that it is possible to transfer data via entanglement. I have no doubt whatsoever that there are a great many very smart people working on ways to expand this capability because when they succeed it becomes a game changer.
     
    Cosmo likes this.
  17. Monash

    Monash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    My apologies.
     
  18. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Messages:
    41,086
    Likes Received:
    31,885
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Accepted but it really wasn't necessary to apologize. Most people have not been keeping up with what is happening in the Quantum Computing field.
     
    Cosmo, WillReadmore and Monash like this.
  19. OldManOnFire

    OldManOnFire Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Messages:
    19,167
    Likes Received:
    900
    Trophy Points:
    113
    It's not pseudo-science...it's just a modeled guess based on new data and different presumptions. I think it's great because it helps keep the conversation alive! Earth only seems unique because it's all we know about in this vast Universe. One of my assumptions is if life can evolve on Earth then it can evolve in other places. The vast distances and time across the Milky Way and beyond based on current technology simply does not allow us to know much. Discovering microbial life will be a big deal...finding advanced or intelligent ET's is tantamount to finding the 4th Stooge! I want intelligent life discovered for two reasons; first is just to know they 'do' exist, and second, I'm curious what mankind's reaction will be...
     
    Cosmo likes this.
  20. Monash

    Monash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Oh, one last point I forgot to mention. As 'Willread' noted there is simply not a lot of justification at the moment for sending large numbers of people up into outer pace to build to live and work long term in any type of 'community'. As yet there's simply no resource we can't mine more or large scale industrial process we can't run more cheaply down here on Earth than up in space.

    With one exception. And that is tourism. If space tourism takes off in a big way in the next few decades then there is a window of opportunity for such enterprises. Before it could happen though the cost of catching a flight into orbit has to come way down. Nothing much is likely while only millionaires and above can catch a trip up to ISS or whatever.

    However if the price can be brought down to something comparable with long distance first class or business class flight then there should be enough demand world wide to spur the need for expanded space based construction.

    If people can go up they will want to stay for a couple of days - that means space habitats/hotels and such in orbit. Longer term perhaps trips to the moon by tourist are doable (its only 3 days there and back after all). Beyond that trips take weeks or months - so no tourists. But all that demand for orbital or lunar infrastructure could start to make it cheaper for people to source their materials from space i.e. the moon or asteroids. So that could be the spur, plain on simple tourism. 50 years should tell.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 1:52 AM
  21. An Taibhse

    An Taibhse Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Messages:
    6,406
    Likes Received:
    4,206
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I have never quite understood the interest in populating or exploiting space when we have yet to do so with the greater than 70% of this planet which is unexplored and which would cost far less than any thing we’d do beyond the bounds of earth. Seems more an interest created by watching to much Hollywood fantasy than thinking in practical ‘down to earth’ (pun intended) terms.
     
  22. Monash

    Monash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    I guess it's just 'adventure' tourism. But if it kick starts space industry who am I to complain. At least they wont be trashing the environment while they're up there.
     
  23. (original)late

    (original)late Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2015
    Messages:
    918
    Likes Received:
    460
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Space is big business, gets bigger every year.

    There's hundreds of things we are doing right now.

    But it would be nice to be able to intercept killer asteroids.

    Eventually we are going to need more gold, rare earths, stuff. We can find them in the Belt in absurd quantities. That's prob a problem for the next century.

    Then there is the technology that has been developed, and is still being developed.

    It's practical.
     
    Derideo_Te likes this.
  24. OldManOnFire

    OldManOnFire Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Messages:
    19,167
    Likes Received:
    900
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The 70% number is meaningless since we cannot populate 100% of Earth. There is only so much arable land, only so much potable water, etc. which in many areas today have already become issues. There are things we can do better/differently for Earth today but there are limits. Increased population is guaranteed to place more pressure on Earth's resources. And what about global climate change, which is exacerbated by further development of Earth, what will be the negative effects on society? None of what I mention here is 'Hollywood fantasy'...
     
  25. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Messages:
    33,723
    Likes Received:
    7,210
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The catch with mining in space is that the cost including delivering of rmaterial to Earth is stupendously higher than the value of those materials on Earth. Mining requires equipment, expendible materials for refining, large quantities of energy, etc., and even just staying on the surface of an asteroid is somewhat tricky if gravity is in short supply. Mining usually requires gravity (it ceertainly does on Earth), and with asteroids like Benu even minor pressures could cause equipment to reach escape velocity.


    My bet is that our space based manufacturing will gradually grow from what is nearly a toy today. At some point, mining in space may be used for materials that we need for space based manufacturing - saving having to lift that material from Earth (or ??) to wherever manufacturing is happening.
     
    Derideo_Te likes this.

Share This Page