back to article TRAPPIST-1's planets are quiet. Quiet as the grave, in fact

Boiled dry or extra-terrestrial snowballs, it turns out that the multi exoplanets orbiting the star dubbed TRAPPIST-1 are almost certainly inhospitable to life. NASA's original announcement held three of the seven planets in the system could be within a habitable zone, but alas there's a killjoy. Enter Eric Wolf, of the …

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Re: More Magic than Goldilocks orbit distance...

"It's life, Jim"

Ok, I upvoted you for making me smile, but I really wanted to downvote you for reminding of that bloody song"

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Re: More Magic than Goldilocks orbit distance...

"Earth has a one in a million combination of life supporting conditions."

Life Supporting conditions for Earth life, true.

But who says life elsewhere plays by the same, exact rules?

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"Earth has a one in a million combination of life supporting conditions."

The fact we can now spot extra solar planets and can count (sort of) the number of stars and galaxies in the sky means we are in a position (just) to start to put some actual numbers on the Drake Equation.

The crude way would be take the number of planets found around a particular class of star and divide by our estimate of how many of that type of star we can see, keeping in mind it's easier to find gas giants than anything even reasonably (EG 3-5x bigger) Earth sized.

We now know for a fact that the Solar System is not unique in the galaxy for having planets (and even more bizarrely that old SF trope of a planet drifting through space without a sun is not that uncommon) so the real question remains the Fermi Paradox. If the odds on bet is there is a planet for most suns, where is the alien comm chatter from a million billion inhabited worlds?

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Alien

Re: "where is the alien comm chatter"

From the primitives using EM radiation it's still on its way here. The rest are using subspace (natch) which is currently beyond our ken.

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Re: "where is the alien comm chatter"

"which is currently beyond our ken."

Yer right! I just asked our Ken an' ee was like, subspace? Wots that then?

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Re: More Magic than Goldilocks orbit distance...

"Earth has a one in a million combination of life supporting conditions."

In just our galaxy one in a million leaves an awful lot of planets; and none of the conditions/elements that led to the formation of the Earth are unique to the solar system.

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Re: one in a million combination

Yes there are loads of galaxies as the universe is not only infinite but flat, with the possibility of many many other flat univeses a tad too far away to confirm (after all infinity is infinity) - I understand that the world however is an oblate spheroid.

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Boffin

Re: More Magic than Goldilocks orbit distance...

Evolution, is the only rule ignoring clever watchmakers, and all life will follow it. It is possible that in similar conditions somewhat similar life will arise - in an earth type envionment this may be creatures with two legs two arms and a head (with at least two eyes) but a lot else would be different.

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Devil

Re: "Earth has a one in a million combination of life supporting conditions."

Fermi predators reduce comms traffic - it may be a dark forest out there so don't send messages

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Alien

Tidal locked

Means little chance of advanced life anyway.

The climate modelling is interesting though the results are not surprising.

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We can't get climate modelling right on this planet - every model seems to end in firey death.

I'll take these results with an ocean of salt.

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It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.

Look, nobody knows what the necessary conditions for life are. We have one example on one planet, and the planet is astonishingly suited to the life upon it.

Well, of course it is! That's evolution.

I know you can make all kinds of arguments about thermodynamics or genetic information storage or whatever, but until we get at least one more data point it's just speculation.

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tfb
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Re: It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.

No-one knows exactly, but we need some way of weeding out places not to look so we have a chance of finding somewhere where there might be life, because there are a shit-load of exoplanets. If we restrict ourselves to the kind of life we know about then, for instance, avoiding planets which are red-hot or hotter is a good start, and looking for planets where there might be liquid water is another, and so on.

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Re: It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.

@tfb

a chance of finding somewhere where there might be life

There are a lot of places on this planet where most people would reckon there's no chance of finding life, but still they do. Hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean, with no sunlight? Atacama desert? High Andean mountains? Antarctic lakes?

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Anonymous Coward

I see more people are still clinging to the fairy tale of Darwinian evolution. Well consider this - if evolution created the first cell from basic chemistry and physics, why can't we replicate it in the lab ? It should be easy. It isn't (even with our best intelligent design tools). Error correcting DNA code by chance ? Fat chance. Its a design feature.

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WTF?

Intelligent(?!) Design

If you are claiming Intelligent Design, then I challenge you to explain the human knee. Our knees are a significant point of failure, in part because they do not have the blood flow they need to heal properly, and also their structure cannot take the abuse of our strides. They are a dirty hack that works "well enough" to get us to a reproductive age, and a little beyond, to pass our genes. No kind and loving God would have ever put them into production.

Add to that a spine that can barely tolerate the stress of being upright, and if you hold to "Design" than you must drop "Intelligent".

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Boffin

Well, given a few hundred million years and a lab the size of a planet, we probably can.

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Happy

Re: Intelligent(?!) Design

If you are claiming Intelligent Design, then I challenge you to explain who designed your $DEITY$.

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Re: Intelligent(?!) Design

Deities all the way up?

And turtles all the way down.

/breaks into song

Here I am

Stuck in the middle with you.

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AC - if you should happen to claim to be a Christian Fundamentalist (or some other theist fundamentalist) that decries evolution (and please ignore the rest of this if you are not) then please consider this; God is, by definition, ineffable, and limited creatures such as you and I cannot possibly comprehend the limits of God's abilities. To try to claim that God is not capable of doing anything God durned well pleases is, I believe, hubris of the first water in the Christian faith (and several others), and so there is absolutely nothing to prevent God from creating a universe in which evolution is possible, or, indeed, actually happens. To claim otherwise, to try to put bounds upon God, is, frankly, sacrilegous and heretical - therefore, you are no Christian/other Abrahamic faith of choice, QED.

I am deeply religious myself - but I do not and COULD not belong to any faith that dares to try to put limits upon what God could create, because to do so is simply unscientific, and science demonstrably works. And I love science because for me, it is a joy to try to get to know god's creation that little bit better with every new thing that I learn. Go in peace.

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Re: Intelligent(?!) Design

Brilliant. I was using just this argument this morning while moaning about my sore knee!

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Pirate

Re: Intelligent(?!) Design

"Our knees are a significant point of failure... ...No kind and loving God would have ever put them into production."

And don't forget the prostate. A kind and loving God would have put that on the outside and made it easily replaceable. (said as I'm staring down the barrel of turning 50 and having to start worrying about such things).

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Re: Intelligent(?!) Design

...and don't forget that whole insane way of producing new humans. Fun, yes. Practical, no.

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Re: Intelligent(?!) Design

"And don't forget the prostate. A kind and loving God would have put that on the outside and made it easily replaceable."

Intelligent designers may think a deity designed the prostate, but it was biochemists who came up with tamulosin. So biochemists are clearly more intelligent than their intelligent designer, as is the surgeon who replaced my wife's hip joint.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Intelligent(?!) Design

If he could explain it, then there would be proof, which would deny faith, and without faith, $DEITY$ would cease to exist.

Now, I'm going to watch out for zebras.

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Your question shows that you have very little knowledge of evolutionary science and I'd advise you start taking a basic course as soon as possible.

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Happy

Re: Intelligent(?!) Design

"And don't forget the prostate. A kind and loving God would have put that on the outside and made it easily replaceable."

Intelligent Design placed your prostate just on the other side of your rectal wall so your buddy can give it a nice massage every fortnight or so... :D

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"It should be easy."

Why? Please explain your reasoning.

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"It should be easy."

It is easy.

All you need is a lab the size of the universe, more matter, and combinations thereof, than you can possibly envisage. Oh, and all the environmental conditions that have ever existed, ever, for several billion years.

Stir, compress, explode, freeze, burn, boil, smash together, etc on and on and on.

Chances are you'll get there in the end.

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WTF?

@AC ...the fairy tale of Darwinian evolution

"I see more people are still clinging to the fairy tale of Darwinian evolution."

Was that typed by a moron or a troll?

Or a moronic troll? I can't tell the difference.

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Re: @AC ...the fairy tale of Darwinian evolution

"Was that typed by a moron or a troll?"

Different Fairy Tale Believer. Take your pick.

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Re: @AC ...the fairy tale of Darwinian evolution

Probably a moron that evolved into a troll. I'm pretty sure no $DEITY would intelligently design something like that.

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Re: @AC ...the fairy tale of Darwinian evolution

I'm pretty sure no $DEITY would intelligently design something like that.

Or at least not one that you'd want to worship. If it deliberately chose to give us a shared entranceway to the oesophagus and trachea it can fuck right off.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Meanwhile, on TRAPPIST-1e

A scientist is composing a similar report on the newly discovered Sol system and its multitude of planets......

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Looking at this all wrong...

Trying to find planets in the goldilocks zone is not working out. Soo take an ice planet and push it in to the goldilocks zone. Bingo Earth 2

Eric Wolf has clearly never read Feersum Endjinn.

He's presuming the planets currently around TRAPPIST have been there for a very long time. I see no reason to discount the 7 planet sized alien space vehicles theory.

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Angel

We don't even know what we're looking for

Because we do not have the foggiest idea about what life on another system might be.

So far, we are limited to searching for a system that could possibly have liquid water.

There is currently only one known planet, and only one known planetary system, in the entire Universe, that can harbor liquid water: that planet is Earth, and that planetary system is our Solar System.

With a statistical sample of one, out of an unknown, but assumed to be very large, number of planetary systems, we cannot construct even a crude probability distribution for systems that can possibly have liquid water.

Liquid water is just a basic requirement. It's unclear what we should be looking for after we find a system with liquid water. Not being tidal locked appears to be a requirement.

So, we don't really know what we're looking for, and we have no clue about the probability of finding this thing that we don't really know what it might be.

But, some of us are certain that we're going to find aliens Real Soon Now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We don't even know what we're looking for

Which is why it will be a nice surprise, or confirm our suspicions, in either case. So, you are right, let's keep looking! :P

Sure, Earth is a beautiful place with those great big teats of the Himalayas, but the cosmos is vast, and NOT finding life would be a bigger surprise still. So, again, you are so right on the money here; let's keep looking! Saying some made up, super-duper, "hi, I live in the sky," male, douche-god only provided for Earth is the fantasy. Still, if that gets you through your sad day, so be it. Just try not to blow anybody up while trying make your weak, unsubstantial, unsubstantiatable point. [sic]

I like knowing things. Religion is about explaining away "hard concepts" as being also a made up thing. Bullshit is what it smells like. All religions are useless, guilt-inducing, money cults designed to keep child-molesters from doing what they do, or in the case of my old cult Catholicism; place them in authority. And keeping people from learning about anything except more bullshit. Science is about finding out what is and isn't real. It's self-correcting, and does not make assumptions that it is "all knowing" or "all seeing," like an asshole would do. :P :P

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Stop

Re: We don't even know what we're looking for

> I like knowing things.

Good. The first thing you should know, then, is when to stop wasting time searching for aliens.

This fairy tale that we will find aliens somewhere across the Universe has become a religion, in and of itself. It is not based on any scientific facts, or observations, and it is based exclusively on personal beliefs.

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Unhappy

Re: We don't even know what we're looking for

Yes it is just possible we are a abbreation and life normally doesn't get this far in complexity. There may be no sentient aliens anywhere, no truly sentient creatures even here - e.g., Trump.

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Pint

Trappists

at least there should be some good ale, no?

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Re: Trappists

Obviously Wolf's research is flawed with the assumption of a water based ecosystem when he should have modelled it with 9% ABV beer.

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now with new and improved....

Of course we have stem cell injections for knees now you know

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