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Hubble Space Telescope spies possibility of liquid water in TRAPPIST-1

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8 billion years

I know that there are very intelligent people working on these things, but honestly : who can possibly imagine what has happened to a planet after that amount of time ?

I seriously doubt that we have enough knowledge to declare whether or not some specific exoplanet still has enough water to harbor life.

It's a miracle that we can detect water from x billion billion miles away anyway.

Keep on it, boffins ! You're doin' good.

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Re: 8 billion years

My guess is that what Hubble has seen is a discarded Starbucks cup with a little bit of Cascara Coconutmilk Latte left in the bottom.

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@Pascal

"I seriously doubt that we have enough knowledge to declare whether or not some specific exoplanet still has enough water to harbor life."

Another issue I have with all this is that all theories are based on the theory that life can only exist as we imagine it. So: carbon based for starters.

Now.. I know you got to start somewhere and it's definitely the best idea to focus on what you already know. I'm not disputing that. But I do think we should keep a much more open mind about what we define as 'life'. There are creatures in the deep oceans which live in areas of which scientists were quite certain that life was impossible there. Yet mother nature proved them wrong.

Isn't this a bit of the same?

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Re: @Pascal

Aliens could have come to earth in 1985 and have been trying to say 'hello' ever since but we may have no idea they are doing so.

Its life, Jim...

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Coat

Re: @Pascal

I doubt the Trappists are saying 'hello', or anything much, really..

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Alien signals where detected by accident, promptly ignored

In May of 2017 an alien signal from Ross 128 was detected, this signal was promptly declared of human origins even if they were unable to explain in details were it came from (I don't even think they bothered to contact the operators of those satellites to check if this frequency was in use at the time of observations), or rather what satellite did broadcast the signal.

It is my idea that none of the satellite that are in the view of Ross 128 did broadcast the signal, reason being that it is not in use over the U.S. The 4,6 to 4,8Ghz is used for either Space to Earth communication or Earth to Space communication (ITU region 3, India). It is difficult for me to prove this since I'm on the wrong side of the plant (Ross 128 is below the horizon for me all the time) and I don't have the correct technology to do this (lack of money). I want to prove this, it just isn't going to happen for me at the moment.

The signal has dispersion properties showing or suggesting that it came from far away. There is always a chance that this signal is only coming from the direction of Ross 128 and might not actually be at Ross 128. I have no way to know for sure since this radio signal is not being studied. This radio signal was again observed in July-2017 on a follow up observation.

On the image of the radio signal that was published there is plenty of Earth based radio signals at 5000Mhz (?) and 4200 - 4400Mhz (C-band television broadcasting), little to nothing above that until the frequency goes up to 5000Mhz. Those Earth based signal appear clearly on the image and can easily be spotted. It is also worth noting that I don't know of any technology that can use 300Mhz of bandwidth in this way. I am also sure such technology would not be allowed on licence requirement frequency as is the case for 4500 - 4800Mhz.

What I think was detected was not a alien data transmission. This looks more like a radar signal of some type (I don't know the type, I checked for comparable techniques on Earth and found nothing). I don't have any idea how this signal works but I think radar is the most likely explanation since those are often the most powerful radio signal broadcast out. I don't know what signal strength is used, I do think it is several thousands kW or more.

As it stands now I suspect future alien signal that are discovered by accident are going to get ignored and given human explanation. I am starting to blame this on the narrow and possibly stupid definition and requirement of alien signal as it is set by SETI (and possibly the narrative that follows it). The result of this requirement is that nothing is going to be found by SETI. Not today and not 100 years from now.

I also want to point out that Ross 128 has no life like all of the other red dwarfs or low energy starts that exoplanets have been discovered in orbit around those stars. If you want to find life and possibly civilization you have to check this star types out.

F-type stars

G-type stars.

K-type stars.

Anything else is either to hot (O-type star, A-type star, B-type star) or too cold (M-type star, Y-type star and other classes of this nature). This includes Trappist-1 star system. It has water on the planets, but the planets are stone cold dead to life as we know it and it has always been like that.

I don't think that Earth has ever had an alien visit. At least not on ground, I don't know about high orbit (or even a low orbit). I don't think there is any interest among the aliens that can and do travel the stars to visit a primitive race with nuclear weapons. Smart phones and computers are not the top of technological scale after all. Rather primitive beginning of it and this technological scale goes higher and wider then people realise today.

This is just my view and some of it is not in agreement with current established ideas of today's science community.

Information.

SETI faq, https://www.seti.org/faq#obs3

Weird signal #1. http://phl.upr.edu/library/notes/ross128

Weird signal #2. http://phl.upr.edu/press-releases/theweirdsignal?utm_content=buffer0a5d3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Star classification, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_classification#Spectral_types

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Re: @Pascal

"But I do think we should keep a much more open mind about what we define as 'life'. "
The problem there is that the next most likely candidate as a basis for life is silicon and its oxide is a solid that's not very soluble in water. If a Si based lifeform does exist, we are not likely to recognise it.

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Re: @Pascal

"There are creatures in the deep oceans which live in areas of which scientists were quite certain that life was impossible there."

Yes, but they are carbon based. They just reinforce the idea that life is going to be like that, by showing how adaptable the carbon chain really is.

There are very good reasons for believing that carbon will form the basis for life. It's atoms are unique in their bonding properties - the ability to form single, double, triple and degenerate bonds with other carbon atoms, single and double bonds with oxygen and so on makes it uniquely flexible. By contrast, the only other 4-valent non metal (silicon) doesn't display anything like the ability to form chains. There is only one set of elements to play with, and carbon is the most useful one in the box.

Silicon does turn up in living things - some plants make use of it to load their fibrous parts with silicon spikes and resist animal and insect attack. But silicon hasn't been directly used in anything with living processes. Making semiconductors is very difficult - even an 8 bit microcontroller isn't going to evolve spontaneously.

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Re: @Pascal

"By contrast, the only other 4-valent non metal (silicon) doesn't display anything like the ability to form chains."
You've not heard of silanes then? They are the equivalent of alkanes. Then there are silicones, alternating chains of Si and O; where would women be without them? And then there are the polysilanols, silicon compounds corresponding to sugars. They are soluble in liquid nitrogen so they could play a role in very low temperature biochemistry. AFAICT there's no scientific Law against biochemistry at temperatures not normally experienced on Earth.

The great evolutionary biologist JBS Haldane thought that at very high temperatures, silicon-based life was more likely.

"silicon hasn't been directly used in anything with living processes. "
Now that's utter tosh! Rhodothermus marinus has been genetically engineered "to form carbon-silicon bonds across a range of conditions and substrates".

See: Bringing carbon-silicon bonds to life

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Re: @Pascal

"The problem there is that the next most likely candidate as a basis for life is silicon and its oxide is a solid that's not very soluble in water. If a Si based lifeform does exist, we are not likely to recognise it."

I dunno, have you ever met the The First Sirian Bank? He/She/It is legally human, after all.

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Re: @Pascal

"You've not heard of silanes then?"

Read my post again. Silanes are limited to Si-Si bonds. The problem with using silicon as a structural element in life is that it doesn't form the Si=Si and triple bonds that enable the formation of compounds suitable for synthesising the equivalent of proteins and information carriers like DNA. Haldane come before modern understanding of how biochemistry works - DNA was by no means fully understood by the time he died. The opinion of scientists who died around 50 years ago really isn't relevant to our current understanding in most fields.

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Re: @Pascal

Considering the amount of silicon on Earth, if silicon-based life were possible, we should find some on earth. Pick an environment, other that a vacuum, and you can find it on Earth. That we haven't, indicates to me that nature just can't provide that path.

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Re: @Pascal

"Read my post again. Silanes are limited to Si-Si bonds. The problem with using silicon as a structural element in life is that it doesn't form the Si=Si and triple bonds that enable the formation of compounds suitable for synthesising the equivalent of proteins and information carriers like DNA. "
Silanes are most definitely not limited to Si-Si bonds. See:

Researchers take small step toward silicon-based life

You are assuming that Si double and triple bonds are necessary components of a replicant system that reverses entropy. As I pointed out in my earlier post, we might not recognise a lifeform based on an alternative chemistry.

"The opinion of scientists who died around 50 years ago really isn't relevant to our current understanding in most fields."
Really?

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Re: @Pascal

"... if silicon-based life were possible, we should find some on earth."
As my geology lecturer pointed out in his introduction, we know quite a lot about the top two metres or so of planet Earth. Below that, almost nothing. Not so long ago Tommy Gold's hypothesis that we would find life many kilometres deep in Earth's crust was scoffed at. Then somebody actually looked...

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Re: @Pascal

** on earth ** ... but life may be found elsewhere, at much higher temperatures, where normally solid materials flow like water... :p

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Progress

I have books on the shelves behind me dating back to my childhood which categorically state that we will never be able to detect planets around other stars.

At the current rate of progress I confidently expect to see film of little green men and women cavorting in their back yards before my demise.

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Re: Progress

It's one thing to detect them, it's another to get to them.

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Coat

Re: cavorting

Little green men and women having sex. Filmed from a police helicopter.

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Re: Progress

"At the current rate of progress I confidently expect to see film of little green men and women cavorting in their back yards before my demise."
Some years ago I had a domain registered with GoDaddy. When it came time to renew, they never reminded me (unlike NetSol) and it was purchased by a squatter who wanted big dollars I didn't have for its return. People expecting to find stories about the village called Franklin in Southern Tasmania were confronted instead with little green men having sex, not with little green women, but standard issue Earthling women. Whoda thunkit? I guess you missed it...

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Re: Progress

People expecting to find stories about the village called Franklin in Southern Tasmania were confronted instead...

Did it help the villages tourist industry any?

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DJV

Just time for another bath then...

n/c

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Re: Just time for another bath then...

Have an upthumb for the H2G2 reference.

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Re: Just time for another bath then...

Wasn't it the same bath?

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Nice Impression - do red skies have blue rivers?

Genuine question,

does the colour of the sky affect the colour of water based rivers? I was under the impression that the colour of a river (ignoring pollution, very shallow ones, etc.) was a reflection of the sky - so in a visible light spectrum how does changing the sky colour affect the colour of the river?

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Re: Nice Impression - do red skies have blue rivers?

If you were standing on the river bank and observing the sky reflected in the river, then yes. On Earth we have the occasional red skies, but the river retains its own color.

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Re: Nice Impression - do red skies have blue rivers?

hey, you cant expect the poor artists to do *everything* !!!

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Pint

Saturday Morning and headlines

Water in Trappist? Water in beer? What?! Time for a second cuppa.

I would have to agree that it is possible that the water has evaporated by now, or been used to brew Trappist beer.

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Boffin

"The hydrogen and oxygen gas molecules leaving ... can be detected as a water vapor" - ¿Que?

No, they would be detected (spectroscopically) as molecular hydrogen and molecular oxygen. One might infer that they were produced from water but you are not actually detecting H₂O unless they have recombined.

Hydrogen and helium are generally the first gasses to be striped from a planet's atmosphere as they rise to the top; mind you water is less heavy than most atmospheric gasses except methane which it is close to.

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Major trade possibilities

Launch that 'B' Ark now - captained by Liam Fox. The UK can be the first to strike a lucrative trade deal with the fishies of TRAPPIST-1d.

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Re: Major trade possibilities

You don't have enough money, you have to pay 100 BEEEELIONS to Merkelland first.

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Unhappy

Needs fact checking from what I have read elsewhere

Not even close to the original articles.

Have a look at New Scientists article on this and follow its link to the The Astronomical Journal abstract of the original paper.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2146017-some-trappist-1-planets-may-have-the-right-conditions-for-water/

It is actually all speculation as they don't seem to have been able to detect anything apart from high UV radiation, which is what is required to disassociate water into its constituent elements, no mention that they have actually seen any oxygen.

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Go

Re: Needs fact checking from what I have read elsewhere

The obtuse abstract also implies that as well - "Based on the current knowledge of the stellar irradiation, we investigated the likely history of water loss in the system." The New Scientist article is a bit easier going - thanks.

Glossing over the media need for exciting hints of alien life, still worth a thumbs up for the researchers as a step in the right direction i.e. IF water had existed it MIGHT not have all gone by now so it is at least worth continuing to show some interest in further observations on the planets.

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Facepalm

And to think 'Dubbya' wanted to kill the amazing Hubble way back in 2005!

Yep, had former Pres. George W. Bush gotten his way Hubble would merely be a fond memory. Instead of upgrading the aging Hubble, Dubbya, aka the brainless 'Decider', decided to destroy it. His plan was to have it nudged from orbit and let it die a fiery death plunging earthward. What a tremendous loss that would have been!

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Re: And to think 'Dubbya' wanted to kill the amazing Hubble way back in 2005!

keep drilling for 'unlimited oil reserves' locked within our thin skinned planet, for use as an aid to foul our atmosphere even more with emissions and noxious noise from vehicles that make our lives so easy. like Trump, making the world his own private hotel, to gouge people for money, enhance his singular ego and redefine the art of prestidigitation and lying to GREATER heights! water you say? nothing to worry about, its everywhere, at least until you start drying up and cannot water your horse.

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If we really want to get people interested in space travel

they need to find Timothy Taylors Landlord in the atmosphere of a planet.

I'd even consider pedalling.

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Joke

If the TRAPPIST-1 planets have been losing water

then we need to get that Warp Drive working pronto before their TRAPPIST-1 Ale production is interrupted - particularly since Romulan Ale will be illegal

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