To infinity and beyond!
LEARN SCIENCE THE RIGHT WAY!
IN THIS ISSUE YOU WILL DICOVER THE MAGNIFICENT MYSTERIES OF SPACE, LIFE AND MORE!
Table of Contents
How the universe started and how it will end............................3
The extra-‐terrestrial wordsearch?....................................................5
Habitable zones .........6
The Meteorite Experiment ...................................................................7
Life on other planets: Could it all be possible?............................8
A Scientific debate on life on other planets.................................9
How do Scientists think.....................................................................10
Astrobiologists in practice........................11
Fun Facts to keep you going............................................................12
Complete the Maze..............................................................................14
Life on other planets vs. religion ..................................................15
Watch what scientists have to say................................................16
What does the world think?.............................................................17
A Scientist’s opinion..........................................................................18
Life on Other Planets: For decades there had always been the ongoing question of whether or not there was life on other planets. Scientists and NASA have been exploring our great universe and coming up with many theories that may help explain all the peculiar aspects of our universe.
How the universe started and how it will end! There are countless theories on how our universe was created and
how life came to existence. The most popular one however is the Big Bang theory. But what is the Big bang theory?
The Big bang theory was first suggested by Georges Lemaitre and
states that about 10 billion to 20 billion years ago, a massive explosion allowed all the universe's known matter and energy, including space as well as time to leap from an unknown form of energy. After that blast, the universe started to expand at an immeasurable speed and is still expanding. Cosmic objects were then formed such as stars. Quick Info Burst: But what defines what is life? -‐ Respiration (ability to create energy)
But what does this have to do with life you might ask? It is a widely
believed theory that life started in our universe as a cause of supernovae of stars where as the star dies the massive explosion causes it to give off all the elements in the periodic table, including carbon, which is the backbone of life.
-‐ Cellular (composed of cell(s))
expand continuously on accelerated pace until making everything of
-‐ Growth -‐ Responds to changes in the Environment
Theories about the end of the universe are many the most famous
one is, “The Big Rip Theory” This theory suggests that the universe will
galaxies, stars, planets, and any existing matter ripped and torn. Another one is, “The Big Crunch Theory” This theory suggests that the universe will stop expanding and begin to reverse its moving and contract and collapse
on itself and make a huge explosion like the big bang one. This theory is considered the reverse of the big bang theory.
Astrobiology: MEET THE ASTRO-‐ BIOLOGIST!
Astrobiology is a
scientific field that is concerned with the study of the origins of life as well as the future of extra-‐ terrestrial life their goals is to search for habitable planets in our solar system, in hopes of finding new life.
The Drake Equation: Since our universe is so large and infinite the job of scientists and Astrobiologists of finding life beyond our earth (exobiology) is incredibly difficult. In order to make an approximate estimation of civilizations beyond earth an equation was established for that purpose, which is the Drake Equation.
The purpose of the equation is to calculate the approximate number of extraterrestrial civilization in our solar system (the Milky Way). The way the equation is calculated is quite complicated but we can simplify it by the following: R= Average rate of star formation fp= The fraction with planets ne= The no. of planets than can potentially have life fl=The fraction of planets that can actually develop life fi= The fraction of planets that can develop intelligent life fc=The fraction that develop technology that can release signals into space L= The length in which they release detectable signals
Are We Alone on the Universe? Some statistics that may freak you out! 1. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies in our universe 2. 150 spied planets in the neighborhood near the sun (which means its warm enough for life to flourish on these planets) 3. SETI (search for extra-‐ terrestrial life) researchers searched 710 star systems at 28 million channels simultaneously across an 1800-‐megahertz range! (That’s big) 4. There are a hundred million stars out there The universe is too big for us to be alone!
To find more about the search of life on other planets and other civilisations? Click here.
THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL WORDSEARCH
Food for Thought! We all know that water is the source of life. Liquid tends to flow downwards due to gravity on Earth, however, since space has zero gravity liquids form spheres! HOW COOL!
What is a Habitable Zone?
A Habitable zone is the area around a certain star where the planets can maintain water in liquid form on it
What makes Earth so
Habitable Zones and Stars
The search for life is largely limited to the search for water. Therefore, we should search with a region around
There are eight planets in
a star where a planet with sufficient atmospheric
our solar system, yet only one of
pressure under a certain temperature which can
them has the ability to sustain life,
maintain liquid water on its surface.
our planet Earth. Is it the Earth’s
Location of the star's habitable zone depends on: -‐
size? Is it its distance from the sun?
Star luminosity: it increases with time therefore,
What makes Earth so special? It is,
the outer and inner bounders of the habitable
in fact, water that makes life
zone move outward. Four billion years ago the
possible on our planet.
sun luminosity was about 75 percent intense as today. Therefore, the most promising region where we can find Earth-‐like life would be in the continuously habitable where liquid water is
Star mass: smaller stars survive longer than
present from the early star's life up to now. For
high mass stars that have a life time of only
the sun, this area is about 0.9 to 1.3 astronomical
millions of years which is too short to support
advanced life that takes billion of years to develop.
Do It Yourself! What you will need: Large piece of white paper or plastic Magnet Magnifying glass or a microscope (Preferably a microscope) Procedure: • Choose a clear sunny day • Leave the sheet of paper or plastic outside in an area not covered by trees. • Place the pan on a hard surface (Like the ground). • Leave in place for 4 hours or more. (Collect before it rains.) • Carefully collect the sheet by lifting the edges so any material collected rolls into the center. • Carefully tap the sheet to shift all material to the center. • Hold the magnet against the bottom of the sheet and gently tilt the sheet so the material, which is not attracted to the magnet, rolls off. • Take the remaining material and place it under your magnifying glass or microscope. • Examine your material, looking for dark round particles with pitted surfaces. • You have found micrometeorites! What does this mean? Each day countless tons of particles are deposited on our planet, many of them actually originated at about the same time that our solar system is thought to have been created (about 4.5 billion years ago!). So maybe that particles you’ve collected may even have evidence of extra-‐terrestrial life! • • •
So far Kepler NASA satellite discovered 48 planets within the habitable zone of their stars. To find out more about this click here.
Before our planet Earth was roaming with
human beings, it was made of very
LIFE ON MARS: Could it all be possible? The search of life on other planets has been going on for decades, so can there be a chance that we are finally reaching our goal?
primitive elements that evolved to LUCA (last universal common ancestor). Evolution continued until multi-‐cellular organisms were appearing and so on. So this may as well mean that billions of years from now, Mars may end up with
Fifty years ago no one would have ever predicted that there might have been a discovery of evidence of life on other planets, which is why it was a huge story when scientists from NASA announced that they had finally found “compelling evidence” of life in a fossilized form on Mars. It all began with a meteorite that was originally from Mars and that had potentially biogenic chemical of
human-‐like creatures living on it.
To this day NASA scientists have
captured 34 Marsian meteorites, which is why they have established some criteria to help establish whether past life indeed exists in these geological samples: 1. Is the geologic sample fitting with past life?
fossilized bacteria that were about 3.8 billion years old!
2. Is it compatible in terms of age with
As much as this discovery shook the scientific
community, people were not as excited as one would
3. Sample should have enough evidence to
expect. NASA Administrator Dan Goldin stated that, “I
show cellular morphology and colonies
want everyone to understand, we are not talking about
4. Is there any verification of biomaterials?
little green men.”
5. Is there any
In reality, this however, was a great
evidence of stable
cosmic find as it confirms many
theories that support the existence
6. Is the sample of
(or prior existence) to life on other planets.
Click here to learn more
The possibility of an existence of life on other planets beyond our Earth has, like most controversial subjects stirred a scientific debate that argues for and against the idea of extra-‐terrestrial life. So who is right and who is wrong? Well the answer is different for every individual due to his or her preferences and beliefs.
Yes and No Debate. People’s and scientist’s Opinions
Yes: “Thousands of reports of UFO sightings come in yearly, hundreds of thousands over the last twenty years or so. Can it really be that none of these are genuine? A quick search online produces thousands of hits: not of only of pictures or videos, but also of detailed accounts that simply cannot be scientifically explained.”
No: “No, we cannot know what is beyond that edge, and so cannot tell if anything is out there. But any philosopher and scientist would tell you that just because you cannot answer a question in the negative, does not mean we are resigned to the fact that the answer is positive.”
No: “We really do only have a weak idea about the constants in Drake's equation. E.g. the constant for the fraction of planets ecologically able to sustain life that actually evolves life is at best a wild guess.”
Yes: “Yes I can believe that there is life on mars simply because with today's technology it is a lot easier to dig deeper into whether or not life had once exited or does exist. After studies from satellite photos and mars are out, I am led to believe that life did once exist because they found out that there are signs of water once running through the planet.”
How Do Scientists Think?
With the rise of the amount of knowledge that is being obtained everyday there has been an
undeniable increase in the amount of false information and theories that are not backed up by any evidence out there. That is why one should always make sure of their sources from where they get their information in order to guarantee an accurate gain of information. That is why it is especially important to understand how a real scientist comes to obtain their information (in other words how do scientists think). Let us define the following terms: -‐
Good science: good science is science that is obtained by following the scientific method, which means that it is backed up by evidence and can be testable (not necessarily in a lab). Bas science: is science that is not based on evidence and that obtained by not following the scientific method and has no validity. Pseudoscience: a claim or belief that seems to be science but does not follow the scientific method or can be falsified or tested.
It can be easily seen that a real scientist would only follow and obtain good science. EVEN EINSTEIN CAN GET IT WRONG! When developing his theory of general relativity, he assumed the universe was static but according to his equations this cannot be right. Instead of predicting that the universe was changing, he modified his equations to introduce a cosmological constant to support his theory. When physicist Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was not static but was expanding, Einstein called his cosmological constant "the greatest mistake of my life" 10
Astrobiologists work in practice! In
order for them to collect reliable
data about life on other planets and
for them to reach scientific
conclusions, they have to follow a
Now let us see how
1) When Astrobiologists come across meteorites, they don’t just collect them and put them all together. First they need to classify them. Meteorites come in three different large families: stone, iron and stony iron. They then need to classify each meteorite according to their properties in each of these families!
After collecting the meteorites they will then return to their labs, one of the famous labs is called, “Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory”. This is where they analyze it. Firstly they make sure that the meteor does not get contaminated (by their fingers or by organic compounds). Then they wash it lightly with water and out it in a solvent. Finally they cut it open using saw blades.
3) After they cut it open the real analysis begins as they can now analyze the samples under their microscopes and know more information about it, like its age, origin and chemical composition.
4) Finally they then record all their findings and observations to be peer reviewed and they might even get published if everything seems to be in order!
Fun Facts to keep you going!
Did you know that there are thousands of yearly reports of “Alien” sightings
-‐ Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited Neptune, in 1989 -‐ The largest volcano in our solar system is actually located on Mars and is called “Olympus Mons”
Jupiter is so big that all other planets can fit inside it and it has the most violent storms known to our solar system
Pluto is no longer considered a planet instead it is a dwarf planet or planetoid
In 1854, William Whewell, who popularized the word scientist, theorized that Mars had seas, land and possibly life forms.
Jupiter's moon Europa may
Did you know?
May have water!
Saturn's moon Titan has plenty of evidence of organic (life) chemicals in its atmosphere!
In 2004, astronomers discovered a star made of diamond!
The Drake equations calculated the approximation of the civilizations that could exist in our galaxy. The figure was in
Astronomer Fred Hoyle believes the basic life chemicals came from space, specifically from stars.
The first regular pulses received from space were considered signals from aliens. Scientists called them Little Green Men!
Complete the Maze!
You’re goal is to start and pass over all the planets then to finally reach your destination! To make it more challenging you should time yourself! Finished in 30s1min=PERFECT 1min2min=GOOD 2min+=Hey at least you’ve arrived 14
Life on other planets
Ever since 1543, centuries before today, there has been the non-‐ ending ongoing conflict between science and religion. -‐ Nicolaus Copernicus theorized that the sun was the center of the universe, that the earth rotated on an axis, and that the earth circled the sun once a year.
-‐ Religion said that the sun moved around the stationary earth. The bible stated that the earth does not spin or move: “The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” [Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, 1 Chronicles 16:30]. However Galileo believed that it should have not been understood in a literal sense
Galileo proved him right when he used a new invented telescope to look at the stars and moon. He saw four moons circling Jupiter, proof of a miniature planetary system.
The Son of God came to earth; therefore earth must be the center of the universe to demote the centrality of Christ.
No religion actually contradicts that life may exist on other planets since God doesn’t say that he only created life on planet earth, in the bible its mentioned that there are intelligent life besides humans
Evidence of life on other planets are being found every day with primitive cellular fossils of organisms were found in meteorites as well as many planets with liquid water on them that shows that life may indeed exist or might exist in the future on other planets
Many scientists are in fact religious believers. Science does not have to contradict religion because not everything is explained scientifically. At certain times science may even back up religion.
CLICK ON THE VIDEO!
Watch what do Scientists have to say?
Evolution of life on other planets Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D “The seeds of life, actual living creatures and their DNA, flow throughout the cosmos and have taken root on innumerable worlds much older than our own.”
Life on Mars: NASA. Evidence of Past Life on the Red Planet Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D. “This video details the scientific evidence proving that microbial life lived on Mars from 4 billion to at least 1 million years ago”
The search for life in outer space John Zarrella “CNN's John Zarrella reports on a growing body of evidence that there is life beyond Earth.”
What the World Thinks?
ongoing debate about extra-‐terrestrial life. An extra-‐terrestrial survey was conducted with quite interesting results amongst
Find out what other think about the
people of ages 15+!
In an online survey in which people of age group 15 and over participated, 67.8% of voters believed that there could be life on planets other than Earth, while 32.2% thought it would be impossible.
The people have spoken! This was a close one with 33% choosing Oxygen, whereas 28.4% voted for Earth’s size and location. Although they are all important 38.6% are correct. It is water that makes Earth a lucky planet, enabling life to form.
Guess what? 55.8% of voters consider it possible that you can walk on Mars within the next quarter decade. It is understandable due to the skyrocketing technological advancement. But then again, walking on Mars?! What do you think? 17
A Scientist’s Opinion
This is an intervie with Dr. Edmund Douglass who is an assistant professor at AUC and who also has a PhD in Astronomy
Starting off the interview, do you believe in life on other planets?
Well, that is a tough question because the universe is huge, the galaxies has hundreds of millions of stars, which have planets around them and the universe has been around for 13.5 billion years and that is a long time for elements to be formed and distributed everywhere and there is also much time for life to evolve on other planets, despite all that I do not know because the main question is not, "Do I believe there might be life on other planets?" but the question is "how difficult is it for life to start?" -
When do you believe that humans could walk on mars?
I do not know, it depends on the priorities; NASA's work is mainly observational astronomy. It is working on sending human space crafts, but the problem with sending someone to mars is not getting them there, but bringing them back because of the cost of shipping the fuel to get there; moreover the way we got to the moon was because putting a lot of money and talent into the space program, it was a matter of national identity and military purposes because of a space race between America and Russia and I think that the next space race would be between America and China and the space destination would be Mars. -
Are you aware of the drake equation?
Well, drake equation is a way to handle on how many civilizations, are in the galaxy currently, series of parameters or variables which give the total number of civilizations in the galaxy when these variables are multiplied together. N= R*. Fp. Ne. Fl. Fi. Fe. L R* is a rate of star formation in our galaxy. Fp is the fraction of stars which have planets. Ne is the fraction of stars with planets which have something capable of supporting life. Fl the fraction of planets like earth which actually have life on them. Fi is the fraction of those, which have life on them, that developed intelligent life. Fe is the fraction of those planets with intelligent life on them which developed modern technological civilization. L: how long do those civilizations survive? So although we do not know the last three parameters for sure we can make a rough estimation as to how many civilizations are in the universe.
What distinguishes Astrobiologists and scientists who are trying to find extraterrestrial life from amateurs who look for green aliens and UFOs?
Well there are Astrobiologists and SETI, which is the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence and comprised of many astronomers and physicists and of course the UFO people. It is all about the process and assumptions that are made, so as far as Astrobiologists go, they use their understanding of how life and biochemistry works on earth to search for life elsewhere. We know all life here is carbon based and we know that we need water for life here and so they are first going to start looking for that sort of evidence. Why carbon? The ratio of silicon to carbon on earth is 10:1 and both of them have the same number of possible bonds but carbon is the backbone of life. That is another reason to be looking for carbon in outer space. So there are these lines of evidence and methodical process that Astrobiologists use, same thing for the SETI listeners, who try to listen from sunlight stars so that if they do host planets these planets could possibly have life and they don’t look at the big stars because they have a lot of ultraviolet radiation and very short lifetimes and also to decide which radio frequency to listen at requires scientific assumptions. With UFOlogists there is never any evidence. Light in the sky that can be “interpreted” as UFOs could more often then not be atmospheric disturbances or military flights.
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