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#1 Brian Albin

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 07:44 AM

Is anybody else excited about this one? I don't know why this mission interests me more than previous planetary exploration missions, but it does. Perhaps because it has more focus. We are not going out there to see what we can find, we know what we are looking for and we are going to study it.
I am already anxious, and Jupiter arrival year 2016 seems a long way away.

http://www.nasa.gov/...ml#.Uf-dGW1bfyD
and
http://missionjuno.swri.edu/#/mission

#2 Pess

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 08:50 AM



Pesse (The real reason for the mission is to search for monoliths...) Mist

#3 FeynmanFan

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 11:17 AM

I read you 1X4X9. Seriously, this is way cool, but I'm still waiting for a Europa mission (of course, we're not allowed there). :roflmao: 2015 and 16 should be good times; first we draw back the veil on used-to-be-a-planet Pluto, then perhaps still-is-a-planet Jupiter.

#4 Pess

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 12:36 PM

I believe with all my heart that given a persistent niche, an energy source and chemical blocks to play with that evolution will occur producing some sort of lifeforms. ergo, I expect that somewhere in the Jovian atmosphere there is life, albeit probably simple, but it's down there nonetheless floating around.

People tend to think that evolution has strict requirements: you know, a pond here, an organic molecule there. But if there is any truth to evolution than evolution will find a way with what it has.

It might even be hard for us to recognize it as life.

Just look at what evolution does with a few proteins and some RNA...incredible small but definately a form of lifeform..the virus particles.

And some would even call a single protein called a 'prion' as living (or find difficulty discrediting it as life).

Yeah, I think we are going to find life pretty abundant outside Earth. In the atmosphere of Venus, in the Jovian storms, in the ice of Europa and maybe , just maybe, in Congress...

Pesse ('nuff said) Mist

#5 FeynmanFan

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 01:18 PM

I absolutely agree. Biogenesis is not an entirely random process. One line of thought is the ability of crystal faces to electronically align organic molecules into certain configurations. Once organic macromolecules are synthesized, input energy...self-assembly is not unknown in nature. Once the wheel is turning....

I think life will turn out to be more common than many believe-but when you mention Congress, I know you're thinking of simple life forms, not intelligent ones.

#6 skyguy88

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 03:59 PM

If life develops easily why do all lifeforms that have been inspected belong to our tree? Wouldn't you expect other trees to have been established in the billions of years of the earths existence?....or did we eat all of the others?

Bill

#7 Pess

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 04:19 PM

If life develops easily why do all lifeforms that have been inspected belong to our tree? Wouldn't you expect other trees to have been established in the billions of years of the earths existence?....or did we eat all of the others?

Bill


Define 'Tree'

What really bothers me is chirality.



Pesse (hmmm) Mist

#8 llanitedave

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 04:41 PM

I believe with all my heart...


I think we're going to have to be a little more specific here.

The "evolution finds a way" approach really isn't valid for the origin of life, because darwinian processes don't kick in until after life has begun replicating.

I personally hope it turns out that life IS common, (well, maybe not, as that would put a damper on our expansion possibilities), but my believing it with all my heart isn't going to make it so.

#9 Pess

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 04:53 PM

I believe with all my heart...


I think we're going to have to be a little more specific here.

The "evolution finds a way" approach really isn't valid for the origin of life, because darwinian processes don't kick in until after life has begun replicating.

I personally hope it turns out that life IS common, (well, maybe not, as that would put a damper on our expansion possibilities), but my believing it with all my heart isn't going to make it so.


I strongly disagree.

I think everything evolves. Let's take AI for instance.

Computers are becoming more and more complex and are 'selected' for increased complexity by consumers. (When was the last time you bought a Timex Sinclair?)

Now, of course, this is un-natural selection but a selection pressure nonetheless.

Computers now design their offspring (with human help) and manufacture their descendants (again with considerable human help).

No modern computer today could be designed without computer assistance nor built by hand (older species of computers, yes but not newer ones)

As time goes on and humans continue to 'select' (read 'buy') more complex computers...more and more of the design work will be done BY computers and more and more fabrication will be done BY computers.

Eventually computers will be complex enough to think, design and fabricate (read 'reproduce' here) all on their own and a new species will arise.

Naturally selection and evolutionary processes don't care about life. Life is just one by product of these processes.

Pesse (...insert something glib here...) Mist

#10 skyguy88

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 05:24 PM

eg

Attached Files



#11 llanitedave

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 09:07 PM

I believe with all my heart...


I think we're going to have to be a little more specific here.

The "evolution finds a way" approach really isn't valid for the origin of life, because darwinian processes don't kick in until after life has begun replicating.

I personally hope it turns out that life IS common, (well, maybe not, as that would put a damper on our expansion possibilities), but my believing it with all my heart isn't going to make it so.


I strongly disagree.

I think everything evolves. Let's take AI for instance.

Computers are becoming more and more complex and are 'selected' for increased complexity by consumers. (When was the last time you bought a Timex Sinclair?)

Now, of course, this is un-natural selection but a selection pressure nonetheless.

Computers now design their offspring (with human help) and manufacture their descendants (again with considerable human help).

No modern computer today could be designed without computer assistance nor built by hand (older species of computers, yes but not newer ones)

As time goes on and humans continue to 'select' (read 'buy') more complex computers...more and more of the design work will be done BY computers and more and more fabrication will be done BY computers.

Eventually computers will be complex enough to think, design and fabricate (read 'reproduce' here) all on their own and a new species will arise.

Naturally selection and evolutionary processes don't care about life. Life is just one by product of these processes.

Pesse (...insert something glib here...) Mist


Computers are products of life and its evolution, so they aren't a good example of evolution in the absence of life. On Earth, life has been a ubiquitous driver of not only its own evolution, but that of the planetary surface and atmosphere as well. I think Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and land surface easily contain the most complex and dynamic set of chemistries and processes in the Solar system.

There's a lot of complexity out there, and some real evolution going on among planets, stars, galaxies, and the like, but none of that even begins to approach the complexity that life imposes once it gets going. If life was that inevitable and all-pervasive, I don't think we'd be having trouble seeing signs of it on Mars, or on Vesta or in cometary outgases for that matter.

Whether life originates with ease or with great difficulty, it seems to remain a pretty fragile process compared to the extremes of environment we find beyond Earth, but within the niches that it can thrive, it makes itself dramatically obvious.

#12 llanitedave

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 09:10 PM

eg


I've always liked that diagram. It only really has one flaw that I can see, and that is that the central stem is not a stem at all, but a bewildering tangle of different connections between the prokaryotic families.

If it's a tree, it's a banyan.

#13 skyguy88

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 11:38 PM

Arboreal issues aside, I'm still curious about the absence of life forms that don't share some of our DNA. wouldn't you expect to find some unrelated life forms if life emerges easily? Mid ocean vents, Yellowstone pools, rain forests. Why are there no separate lines?

Bill

#14 llanitedave

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 01:08 AM

There are three possible explanations. One is that life appeared only once, and occupied all available niches quickly enough that no other origin events were possible. Another explanation is that life may have appeared multiple times, but the variety with "our" DNA proved to be the most competitive for one reason or another, and replaced all other forms. Another possibility is that DNA is so inherently vital to life of any kind, that even if life appeared more than once, subsequent forms would also have had DNA similar to our own, and the process of genetic transfer and sharing would have eventually homogenized the lineages into one.

I lean towards the first, but the other two are interesting to consider.

#15 Pess

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 11:56 AM

There are two information carrying schemes that we currently know of. One is the DNA we are all familiar with and the other is RNA which
RNA is very similar to DNA in many ways; it can be copied by the same base-pairing and formation of complementary strands as DNA, but it does require special enzymes (called RNA-dependent RNA polymerases).

My feeling is that DNA & RNA are so superior in the temperature ranges, aqueous solutions common to Earth niches that it just dominates.

However, if we start getting into extreme environments (relative to Earth) we may find all new chemistries with a totally different information carrying molecules better suited to this conditions.

For example, can silicon replace carbon in other environments? Can ammonia replace water as a solvent for life?

DNA denatures at temperatures above about 70 deg, yet we have living species that can thrive quite well in boiling water and as low as -15deg (or even freeze solid if they shut down their metabolism for awhile).

This is because evolution came up with solutions.

Could life on Earth evolve in molten lava? Perhaps, but the trouble is molten lava is not a persistent, stable niche. But underwater vents are. So life thrives in one and not in the other.

Whose to say what evolution might come up with in an environment far removed from Earth.

As for man, I am firmly convinced that the next major step in our evolution will be able to create our successor: Once an AI unit is created and given free will man will take his place on the evolutionary junk pile as the inefficient bags of mostly water we truly are.

I think that is why aliens are not in a hurry to announce themselves to us. They are all AI units and view the Earth as we would view a roach infested planet. Would we actually land or wait for the roaches to evolve a bit yet?

Besides, if you 'live' a million years then space travel becomes relatively brief. Everything is relative. A housefly born in Utah will never see Moscow because he doesn't live long enough to make the journey.

Pesse (Prepare to meet King R2D2) Mist

#16 PhilCo126

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 12:45 PM

Lecture by astronomer Athena Coustenis:

http://www.bis-space...er-juice-the...

#17 llanitedave

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 12:31 AM

There are two information carrying schemes that we currently know of. One is the DNA we are all familiar with and the other is RNA which
RNA is very similar to DNA in many ways; it can be copied by the same base-pairing and formation of complementary strands as DNA, but it does require special enzymes (called RNA-dependent RNA polymerases).

My feeling is that DNA & RNA are so superior in the temperature ranges, aqueous solutions common to Earth niches that it just dominates.

However, if we start getting into extreme environments (relative to Earth) we may find all new chemistries with a totally different information carrying molecules better suited to this conditions.

For example, can silicon replace carbon in other environments? Can ammonia replace water as a solvent for life?

DNA denatures at temperatures above about 70 deg, yet we have living species that can thrive quite well in boiling water and as low as -15deg (or even freeze solid if they shut down their metabolism for awhile).

This is because evolution came up with solutions.

Could life on Earth evolve in molten lava? Perhaps, but the trouble is molten lava is not a persistent, stable niche. But underwater vents are. So life thrives in one and not in the other.

Whose to say what evolution might come up with in an environment far removed from Earth.

As for man, I am firmly convinced that the next major step in our evolution will be able to create our successor: Once an AI unit is created and given free will man will take his place on the evolutionary junk pile as the inefficient bags of mostly water we truly are.

I think that is why aliens are not in a hurry to announce themselves to us. They are all AI units and view the Earth as we would view a roach infested planet. Would we actually land or wait for the roaches to evolve a bit yet?

Besides, if you 'live' a million years then space travel becomes relatively brief. Everything is relative. A housefly born in Utah will never see Moscow because he doesn't live long enough to make the journey.

Pesse (Prepare to meet King R2D2) Mist


I fear I may be getting annoying in my contrariness, but I still think you're putting the cart before the horse. It doesn't matter so much what evolution can do in extreme environments once it has living organisms to work with. But from an origin of life standpoint, there's no adaptation that can occur. Life simply cannot appear anywhere -- there are too many sterile bodies that attest to that limitation.

As for other chemistries, while silicon can mimic carbon in a lot of ways, especially at higher temperatures, and maybe sulphur can substitute for oxygen in a pinch, I don't think there's any good replacement for hydrogen. And hydrogen simply won't stick around at those temperature regimes. The other thing high temperatures do is keep molecular bonds loose so that really complex compounds don't form well. Most of the more interesting silicate minerals form as the parent system is cooling, not while it's still uber-hot. (and those need the action of water just as surely as do organic compounds)

Also, silicon and sulphur are not nearly as abundant as carbon and oxygen, so they're more likely to get thinned out via dilution. I have little doubt that life is going to be stuck with carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen as its basic building blocks.

#18 Brian Albin

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 05:51 AM

Thank you, PhilCo126. That article about the Icy Moons mission is very interesting.

#19 llanitedave

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 09:08 AM

I'm interested in the ICE mission too, but 7.5 years in transit? I'll be way too old by then!

We really, REALLY need to ramp up our ion drive technology to get some oomph to the outer planets.

#20 Pess

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 10:05 AM

.... Life simply cannot appear anywhere -- there are too many sterile bodies that attest to that limitation.


Agreed. For life to arise it needs 3 things:

1) An energy source
2) A persistent niche
3) Organic building blocks


Pesse (That was my point about lava, it lacks persistence.) Mist

#21 llanitedave

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 11:47 AM

At least those three. And persistence is kind of ambiguous.

And the energy source may have to be narrowly constrained -- we don't really know.

#22 Pess

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 12:33 PM

At least those three. And persistence is kind of ambiguous.

And the energy source may have to be narrowly constrained -- we don't really know.


We know that some organisms 'breath' sulfur. Some can 'breath' with perchlorate molecules--giving hope to Mars subsurface life. Sunlight, of course, can provide energy through chlorophyll like molecules....

I think probably the biggest limiting factor is an abundance of suitable building blocks. Not only do they have to be present, but they have to be able to freely interact with each other.

It is always fun to speculate what kind of chemistry is possible in super extreme niches.

Do volatile compounds combine and react together in very cold environments producing a totally different information carrying structure from RNA & DNA?

Do stable nonreactive molecules become reactive in very hot environments?

Some likely biological solvents could be hydrogen peroxide, ammonia and hydrogen fluoride.

Some less likely but still possible solvents include hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen bromide etc.

Heck, even an ocean of hydrocarbons like those that exist on Titan could work.

I think we should send a mission to Titan to see what's in its ocean. I think Europa may be too difficult a mission to get a good sample.

Pesse (Gasoline powered squid anyone?) Mist

#23 llanitedave

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 02:13 PM

Comets should have plenty of building blocks. And they may not have been originally any colder than Titan, before the great Solar System re-arrangement flung them outward. I would expect them to have been perfect places for life to "find a way" if your thesis is correct.

As for Europa, my hypothesis is that the drilling has been largely done for us in the form of impacts and crustal plate drifting. If there's life below the surface, there should be orphaned frozen fossils on it.

If I were dictator, neither Europa nor Titan would be neglected.

#24 StarWars

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 01:08 AM




NASA's Juno Spacecraft Is Halfway to Jupiter... :D

http://news.yahoo.co...-220428505.html






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