Sunday, November 22, 2009

Exoplanets: The recent pilgrimage to Darwin's shrine

At Britain's Telegraph (November 04, 2009), Tom Chivers advises that "Darwinian evolutionary theory will help find alien life, says Nasa scientist."
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution may give pointers in the search for alien life, says a Nasa astrobiologist. Here, we learn two competing views:
And so the limits of Darwinian evolution will define the range of planets that can support life – at least Earth-like life."
... alien life may not be entirely Earth-like. Dr Baross said: "I'd like to point out there are many different ways for non-Earth-like life to not use light or chemical energy but use some other form like radiation energy, wave energy, or ultraviolet energy."
. And then how can we know that the way they proceed is by Darwinian evolution?

We also learn
"I think all of us really believe that rocky planets, like Earth, are going to be found at some point," said Baross.
Well, lots of people have really believed lots of things that never happened. I happen to agree with him re rocky planets, because in a galaxy the size of ours, we will doubtless find lots of things, possibly extraterrestrial life ...

I am a little more concerned about the underlying agenda in some cases. NASA could be undermining its chances via Darwin worship.

Some more exoplanet stories:

Does our solar system occupy a unique position in the universe or just an ordinary one?

Rare? Solar systems like ours are rare?

Astronomer argues that we can test whether Earth is fine-tuned as a science lab

Serious push to find more exoplanets

Exoplanets: Will intelligence be common or rare?

Hat tip The Mustard Seed.