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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Oct > Oct 22

Re: Exoplanets and Exosystems

From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 20:47:33 -0600
Archived: Mon, 22 Oct 2007 07:38:30 -0400
Subject: Re: Exoplanets and Exosystems

>From: Claude Mauge <claudemauge.nul>
>To: UFO UpDate <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 10:26:18 -0600
>Subject: Exoplanets and Exosystems [was: Is Ufology 'Anti-Science'?]


>My argument was however slightly different, by confronting
>recent discoveries (however in a rapid and incomplete version)
>to the statistical models of the '70s and the '80s: scientists
>had then been able to make models which fitted rather fairly the
>global structure of the solar system, which did mean that our
>system could be really perceived as mundane.

>But the theorists were later surprised by the numerous
>exo-Jupiters very close to their stars, something they had not
>expected (at least, as far as I know; I'm not a specialist on
>these matters). As they thought that giant planets cannot form
>so close to their sun, they had thus to build migration
>scenarios for explaining their actual position. In such a
>spirit, the solar system is perhaps a not so rare configuration,
>but it is not as mundane as it would be if any exosystems were
>as ours. To use Lan's word, "special", perhaps not, but in any
>case not the model for all other systems. Conclusion: we must
>wait for more complete data.

The failure of early theoretical models to explain close-range
giant planets has no useful application to the question of how
common the configuration of our own planetary system is. The
only 'conclusion' is that the spectrum of possible
configurations is broader than we had surmised.

>>However, a better argument can be made that the Earth is special
>>because its moon is unusually large in relation to its parent
>>planet, a situation thought to be the result of a chance
>>collision between Earth and a proto-planet in the early years of
>>the solar system. The "rare-earthers" think that this is
>>responsible for the evolution of advanced life forms on Earth
>>because the moon is large enough to stabilize the Earth's
>>rotational axis, preventing drastic climate changes of the sort
>>that can occur on Mars, which has a much larger axial wobble
>>than Earth. Since the moon's size is probably uncommon for
>>Earth-like planets, that would also make advanced life uncommon
>>- assuming the evolution of advanced life really requires a
>>planet with a stable rotational axis. Whether that's actually
>>true is another question.

>Yes. I noted this hypothesis in the point 5.3.1 about the
>Principle of Mediocrity in my post "A Skeptical View Of UFOs" of
>September 20, as well as the possibility that planets inhabited
>by advanced intelligent beings are necessarily on the borders of
>galaxies. Theorists have also claimed that giant planets must be
>present outside the inhabitable zone in order to eliminate the
>danger of many asteroids (this hypothesis has been disputed
>recently); that a strong "planetomagnetism" is necessary for
>trapping the most part of the dangerous charged particles
>emitted by the sun (seems very possible); and so on. Once again:
>we don't really know what is necessary and what is contingent to
>the case of Earth. Thus, time is needed to see better.

There are a variety of parameters, and combinations of
parameters, that have been proposed as essential for "advanced
intelligent beings". Our limited understanding of intelligence,
let alone life itself, renders these proposals uncompelling.
They are essentially an open-ended extension of the anthropic
principle in cosmology. While the latter is plausibly applied to
the 'observability' of our universe in general, it is an idea
that is easily abused.



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