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How do we expand the search for alien life ?


Posted on Monday, 28 May, 2012 | Comment icon 24 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: NASA

 
In a recent interview cosmologist Charley Lineweaver outlined his views on our efforts to find ET.

Lineweaver argues that searching for life like that found on Earth is the wrong way to go about things. "Imagine if some historian wanted to know about the origin of France," he said. "Most French people now have passports. So imagine the historian went out on an archaeological dig to look for French passports. That would be ridiculous."

The correct way forward, he contends, is to widen the definition of 'life' because we simply don't know what type of living organisms could be out there. "You could say all life today has DNA, but in the past, who knows?" he said.

"What's wrong with the definition of "life"? Almost everything."

  View: Full article |  Source: New Scientist

  Discuss: View comments (24)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #15 Posted by nephilim12 on 30 May, 2012, 6:12
A very healthy discourse and exchange of ideas. I'm loving it Yep, if they wanted to take over, they'd have done it long ago. But as some say, why ET ? Why any particular interest in our world ? Suppose all the UFOs depicted were to have been of earthly origin all along ? Now this is scarier. It means there is another alternative race ( caucasoid, mongoloid or negroid in appearance) having access to superior flight capabilities implying more advanced technology, mingling with us freely while maintaining that distinctive distance and secrecy between themselves. Ahhhh forget it, just wild specul... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by psyche101 on 30 May, 2012, 8:14
I am thinking this bloke is after his 15 minutes. I am a bit shocked that a level headed Aussie would take such a new age approach. He is calling hurricanes and stars alive, a star is a chemical reaction isn't it? And a hurricane is a temperature inversion isn't it? And I cannot see that his approach will lead to any discovery, just a great deal of renaming. He just seems to want to get his name into a book, I am a bit bewildered as to what is being accomplished here? What is this all about? Many biologists define life as anything that undergoes Darwinian evolution. We pretend that makes sense... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by lost_shaman on 30 May, 2012, 8:26
A Unit? I think this guy is a unit. A gene is a stretch of DNA isn't it? And Isn't DNA something of a Darwinian marker? Gaia? WTF is he on about? Maybe his genius is beyond me, hopefully someone can help me out here, LOL I am looking at you Badeskov my saviour in science! Am I looking at this the wrong way mate? Hey psyche, Couldn't agree more. Darwin's theory of evolution in a nutshell is meant to explain the rise of Species, its absolutely not a TEST for what is or isn't LIFE.
Comment icon #18 Posted by hooko22 on 30 May, 2012, 10:07
Hey psyche, Couldn't agree more. Darwin's theory of evolution in a nutshell is meant to explain the rise of Species, its absolutely not a TEST for what is or isn't LIFE. Nasa did say themselves that life can evolve quite differently. Oh and I think darwin is tied to life as it appears on this planet, but who knows maybe his theory will be sound elsewhere. Can't wait for the day when we might test that! That is if we will be alive!
Comment icon #19 Posted by lost_shaman on 30 May, 2012, 11:36
Nasa did say themselves that life can evolve quite differently. Hey hooko22, I don't mean to be rude when I ask where did NASA say that? I thought it was obvious that all Species have 'evolved' differently than others. Oh and I think darwin is tied to life as it appears on this planet, but who knows maybe his theory will be sound elsewhere. Can't wait for the day when we might test that! That is if we will be alive! Why would it be different?
Comment icon #20 Posted by hooko22 on 30 May, 2012, 11:45
Hey hooko22, I don't mean to be rude when I ask where did NASA say that? I thought it was obvious that all Species have 'evolved' differently than others. Why would it be different? No no I think I might not have voiced it well enough. I meant they did some sort of press release on the fact that life could be made out of some material composition or something like that, that scientists previously had thought was impossible. Please forgive me I'm not exactly a science nerd! Oh and as to why would it be different. Who knows maybe the way of life over there might be all together completely differ... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by TheMcGuffin on 30 May, 2012, 14:37
Oh and as to why would it be different. Who knows maybe the way of life over there might be all together completely different, I'm merely voicing my contemplation. Not stating something I think is fact, like I say no one knows and who knows! i suspect that life out there could very well be completely different from anything on earth, or anything we could even imagine as life. I don't see any reason why it would even have to look like us, have cells, DNA or anything like that. It could even be artificial life of some kind.
Comment icon #22 Posted by psyche101 on 31 May, 2012, 0:54
Hey psyche, Couldn't agree more. Darwin's theory of evolution in a nutshell is meant to explain the rise of Species, its absolutely not a TEST for what is or isn't LIFE. Gidday Mate! Been far too long since I have seen you posting I hope all is well with you. This guy seems to be a little all over the place, he is saying Hurricane's should be classified as alive. I am just not understanding what he thinks this will accomplish. Cheers.
Comment icon #23 Posted by psyche101 on 31 May, 2012, 0:55
Nasa did say themselves that life can evolve quite differently. Oh and I think darwin is tied to life as it appears on this planet, but who knows maybe his theory will be sound elsewhere. Can't wait for the day when we might test that! That is if we will be alive! I think with regards to life, Intelligent life and life are quite different in many ways, which would you be referring to? With regards to non-intelligent life, I woud agree, bit with regards to intelligent life, I think there are certain parameters that need to be met.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Occams Razor on 22 September, 2012, 7:32
I saw this chap on an ABC program called 'Big Ideas' here in Australia, he was on a panel with Carol Oliver from SETI and some other chap who's name escapes me. I found it hard to believe this panel was made up of real world-class experts, there seemed to be a lot of nonsense with a few interesting tid-bits thrown in. I thought their ideas regarding intelligent extraterrestrial life were extremely naive. They scoffed at the possibility that any visiting extraterrestrials would be hostile, asking what could they possibly want from us? On the grounds that anything they could get from the Earth t... [More]


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