Teams working with the Herschel Space Telescope have confirmed finding O2 in the Orion nebula, the first time scientists have been able to pinpoint the crucial yet simple molecule.
Oxygen is the third-most abundant element in the universe, so surely its molecular form is abundant in space, said Bill Danchi, Herschel program scientist at NASA, in a news release. Individual atoms of oxygen are very common, especially around stars, so it's sort of odd that scientists have not been able to find large quantities of O2. They have been using balloons and space- and Earth-based telescopes to hunt for it, but to no avail.
Now Danchi, Paul Goldsmith and other NASA scientists have a new paper that may explain where the O2 is hiding — locked up in water ice that coats interstellar dust. They found some O2 in the Orion star-forming region, where starlight probably warmed the dust and released water, which was then converted into oxygen molecules.
The Herschel Space Observatory's large viewing area and powerful infrared detectors were able to detect the O2.
But the researchers didn't find very much of it, and still can't explain where the rest of it is. "The universe still holds many secrets," Goldsmith said.
Molecular oxygen makes up about 20 percent of the air we breathe on Earth, and is a crucial ingredient for metabolism throughout the animal kingdom. If life forms in other places resemble life forms here, then they, too, might require O2.
Goldsmith and colleagues plan to keep looking for more O2 in other star-forming regions.
Penultimate paragraph should read:
Just think as we advance at our technology to look in space and identify things; how really easy it is for ancient intelligent alien culture to pear at us.
Every year more evidence supports the theory of life elsewhere in the universe, and to quote Carl Sagan, "it would be an awful waste of space"
The way I see it, Drake's equation is irrelevant to visitation (by visitation I mean probes observing us or actual visitation), the only thing that matters is if there is a method to traverse the massive space between planets. If there are few advanced alien races in the universe, they (or at least some) will be that much more curious about finding other life. If the universe is teaming with advanced cultures then there are that many more looking at least early on in their civilization.
As a result I see one of three possibilities:
1) We have been visited or observed.
2) We are one of the most advanced culture in our region (someone has to be first, though this is unlikely)
3) All similar life in our region is progressing at about the same rate and so far none have breached the barrier.
4) There is no realistic means to traverse the massive distances of space. (I don't wanna accept this answer, so I will remove it. Meaning there is only 3.)
So lets stop bickering over stupid earthly issues and solve the problem, how do we join the intergalactic legion of united planetary alliances.
@sacridias, Becareful what you wish for. Consider this; there is good and evil on earth. People on earth kill bugs all the time without any quilt. Yes, some religious people do not, but many others kill them guilt free. There could be evil aliens and see us as bugs. They could come and exploit we are intelligent and make good slaves of us. I like to think there are good aliens too. But it would be a matter of who finds us first and who is stronger. The good aliens maybe non warriors too. If the evil aliens show up later, the good aliens may just get in their space craft and leave us to fend for ourselves. The situation could go all different directions. I belive our dear Lord is bigger than everything. But that being said, there still be lots of different culutures\aliens throughout the universe.
In Antarctica they found a meter. It was a rock fragment that came from mars. Upon inspecting it, it may have fossilized remains of life.......
As of today our planet has the only life we know to exist. We do not know if it exists elsewhere but as a pointed eared hobgoblin once said, " I like to think there are possibilities!" We were created a curious species and will always seek out the unknown. If our species can survive itself long enough and other life does exist in our universe we WILL find it someday.
This article is rather biased. The Herschel Telescope belongs to the European Space Agency. It is an ESA led mission that`s even launched on a giant European rocket called Ariane 5. NASA is a rather small participant in the project. How can you run a science website without mentioning the main source (ESA). If the article states "teams" it should say international teams as is the case with this discovery. If you write an article on a Hubble discovery and only mention ESA, you would make it seem that ESA owns the Hubble Telescope. Would that be fair? Zero Americans think that's fair. Even Yahoo news mentions the European Space Agency on this discovery. I expected more from Popsci.
It is an purported that earth is constantly bombarded with Alien life. A quick glance at the directed Panspermia theory of Professor Francis Crick should elucidate this. Bubblegump alluded to ALH84001 however neglected to infer the implications of this meteorite in the context of Panspermia. However it is my conviction that the probability of Alien life coming into to contact with terrestrial life is inconcievable even when that Alien life is percieved in the form of extremophile bacteria; and anyone who believes otherwise is most probably soft in the head.
Maybe intelligent advance alien life have soft heads and for them soft heads are normal.
@maxb500...this is a brief article on this discovery, it is not popsci's job to specifically credit the exact person/agency, although they should have; should the ESA credit NASA, NASA did start it all, right? quit nit picking
Ok, I had a freaking book about my thoughts going on (We so need a better discussion board for alien life). Maybe I will put one on my site.
So, short answer of why we would be visited:
Resources: The universe has vast resources, likely easier to acquire than fighting indigenous life for mining rights. Vast seas of water and hey even oxygen.
Slave Race: Odds are if they can get here, their robotics are vastly superior and would obsolete most slavery types.
Sport (Hunting, etc.): Ok, can't say I would rule this one out completely, but as our culture gets more advanced, hunting becomes less common.
Food Source: First they would have to make us eat healthier (unless they like cholesterol). Seriously though, possible, unlikely, as alien food would likely taste awful to us (pallet tends to adapt to environment and food sources).
They would not come to our planet to squash us any more than we would go into the woods to squash bugs. Unless they plan to put a intergalactic super highway in and our planet is in the way.
That leaves our planet as a pre-terraformed vacation spot, or curiosity. I am sure other reasons could exist but we are too far out of their way to just come here.
Scientists are also the first likely source of encounter (Unless they are very advanced, then it is likely joy-riders that took their parents spaceship.) As with our race, scientists are likely to be both the most progressively aware, respectful, and in many cases likely to poke and prod us just to see what makes us go squish.
Science is likely to be done via DNA mapping or similar technology though, and outside of some source material, they would likely be able to clone us and create colonies in labs that they can experiment with. Though if it is more efficient, I am sure picking up a couple of farmers investigating their new crop circles would not be beneath them.
Violence is likely to be sparked by us, intentionally from fear, or unintentionally by killing and serving an animal to them. The fight will take less than a day, their one scientific exploration vessel vs. Earth, fire up the experimental laser, target the humans, fire. "Bob, What do you want for dinner? We can discuss the next primitive race to visit"
If the aliens wanted us gone, I do not imagine a fire fight, but simply planting a virus and then in short time, they have the whole planet to themselves. No messy fight needed.
perhaps, but everything is better with "Lasers".
@sacridias " BZZZZZZZZ------AP POP!!!! ", Yes I see your point. ;)