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EXTRATERRESTRIAL DEBATE; TEAM CON. AST 112 Introduction to Computers & Applications Arizona State University Instructor: Professor Windhorst By: Team Con May 1, 2014. INTRODUCTION. Do Extraterrestrials (ETs) exist , or not ? Could Extraterrestrials have been here (Earth) or not?

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Extraterrestrial debate team con


AST 112 Introduction to Computers & Applications

Arizona State University

Instructor: Professor Windhorst

By: Team Con

May 1, 2014


Do Extraterrestrials (ETs) exist, or not?

Could Extraterrestrials have been here (Earth) or not?

What does that mean for us?

Do extraterrestrials exist or not

Fermi’s Paradox

Drake’s Equation

Chemical Abundance


Habitable Zones

1950 s fermi s paradox

Big Contradiction: probability vs. evidence:

Age of Universe vs. our Galaxy

Reasons for visit:




Colonization, survival, & habitability: would require similar composition (bio chemistry) to ours;thus would not survive the intergalactic travel

Fermi s paradox

Speed of the galaxies and temperatures: In case that there are older ET civilizations they would obviously need to do intergalactic travel.

Some galaxies travel as fast as 20% of the speed of light, thus creating temperatures as high as 10 million Kelvins, creating very high x-ray radiation.

It would take some truly awesome material in order not to have it melted during this travel - material not know to us yet that exists in the Universe.

Spiral galaxy eso 137 001

Moves through Galaxy Cluster at the Speed of 7 Million KM per hour

Drake s equation

R is the average rate of star formation in our galaxyfp is the fraction of those stars that have planetsne is the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planetsfl is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some pointfi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent lifefc is the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into spaceL is the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.


Factor for Error


Chemical composition

There are four main elements needed to spark life

Oxygen (64%) , Carbon (18%) , Hydrogen (10%) , Nitrogen (3%) , Other (4%)

Each element has a key role in the human body.

Oxygen: plays a vital role in breathing, in metabolism, and is what keeps our organs active. The only living cells that do not need oxygen are a few anaerobic bacteria that obtain energy from other metabolic processes. (Unlikely to evolve into a life form as complex as humans).

Carbon: when carbon bonds break down with energy, it allows the dynamic organic chemistry to go on in human cells.

Hydrogen: is involved in the energy our bodies create by creating ATP, (which is a nucleotide produced in cells), it also helps build our muscles, cells, bones, and blood.

Nitrogen: is in the nucleic acids that make up DNA, and it also in amino acids that make up protein.

Without these four elements it is highly unlikely for life to exist

Next, a list of elements that the planetary bodies consist of (considering that atmospheric and temperature conditions, rule out life beyond it

Chemical composition1

The earth is composed of multiple elements that contribute to the evolvement and continuity of life. Many of these elements are things that other planets lack.

Pluto:Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide

Neptune: Hydrogen, Helium, Methane






Uranus: Hydrogen, Helium, Methane

Mars: Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, Argon, Helium, Oxygen










Helium, Hydrogen, Water, Ammonia, Methane, Carbon

Iron: Required for the production of red blood cells but it also binds to the oxygen and facilitates its transport from the lungs. The immune system is also dependent on iron for its efficient functioning and physical and mental growth.

Oxygen: *Slide one - It plays a vital role in breathing, in metabolism, and is what keeps our organs active. Many people believe that because there is oxygen found on mars, that there must be life. However, the atmospheric and surface conditions make it unlikely. (volcanos)

Silicon: Helps to grow and maintain strong bones, also it is responsible for cross-linking collagen strands which contributes to the strength, integrity, and flexibility of connective tissues such as those found in skin, bones, nails, and arteries.

Magnesium: Is a cofactor in enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions, include protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. It also contributes to the structural development of bones and is required for the synthesis of DNA and RNA.


Carbon Dioxide,

Nitrogen, Helium, Neon, Argon




Chemical composition2

When astronomers search for life on other planets, they automatically begin looking for water. Organisms are composed of from 50% water to over 90% water.

Water acts as both a solvent and a delivery mechanism, dissolving essential vitamins and nutrients from food, and delivers them to cells.

Water acts as a medium in which organic compounds could mix with one another.

Water facilitated the formation of the planet's first life forms, possibly even protecting them from the suns radiation.

Water is also used in our bodies to flush out toxins, regulate body temperature and aid our metabolism.

Every organism we know of needs water to survive. In fact, without water, life on Earth would have never begun.

Astronomers have found traces of water on a few other planets.. but earth is the only known planet to have water near the surface. Making it hard to have access to, if is deep beneath layers of ice.

Scientists are certain that life requires a liquid of some sort to survive. The only other alternative is liquid ammonia.

The problem with that is, liquid ammonia only exists at extremely cold temperatures, making it unlikely that organisms could find the energy to support metabolism.

Chemical composition3

If there were life forms on other planets would needing the same elements as us:

Without nitrogen allET’s would die because plants need that nitrogen to form certain compounds to live.

Without iron hemoglobin does not exist and it is essential for blood, no life without blood.

Without magnesium ET’s would experience gallstones, kidney stones, and their organs would start shutting down and eventually cause them to have a “heart attack”. (assuming they have organs)

Without oxygen their ozone layer would disappear considering it is made up of it and because the ozone blocks the majority of UV light, all life would then burn to death. Another thing that would happen is every living cell would explode, due to the haze of hydrogengas.

Without carbon the plants would die.. resulting in no food source and even more important, no oxygen source. Carbon also triggers the brain to tell their lungs to breath.. therefore without carbon, they would suffocate.

Without hydrogen there would be no water hence no oxygen.

Temperatures between the stars

Interstellar medium

“Extremely tenuous by terrestrial standards”

(Ohio State)

Most of the molecular matter in hot parts of the

ISM are ionized

Cold parts of ISM is about 100 Kelvin (UCSD)

Hot parts can easily exceed 1000 Kelvin (UCSD)

The very hot gas in the ISM has been “shock

heated” by supernovae

Travelling at speeds necessary for interstellar

travel means that we can’t come in contact with

an molecules in the ISM; because our speed

would create so much force upon contact with

the gas that the spacecraft would explode.

Habitable zones

Habitable zones required in order to support life are referred to as:

Circumstellar Habitable Zones(CHZ) aka the “ Goldilocks Zone”

“Region around a star within which planetary-mass objects with sufficient atmospheric pressure can support liquid water at their surfaces” (iopscience)

Numerous planets have now been discovered in the CHZ. Most are super-Earths or gas giants… this is because more massive planets are easier to detect. (Nytimes)

However, The nearest such planet is 12 light years away

The habitable zone needed in order to support life

Could extraterrestrials have been here or not

Radio Frequency/

Light Spectrum

Speed of Light

Biological Diseases/


SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute has not yet received a confirmed extraterrestrial signal. SETI receives little to no funding by the U.S. government because of the minimal concrete results produced by the Institute

Searching for Signals from ETs

Researchers, who search for narrow-band signals in the Microwave Window in the radio spectrum, often confuse signals caused by narrow-band, polarized and coded signals produced by our own planet (Military radar and telecommunications satellites)

Sending Signals to ETS

The signal from a radio transmitter dilutes as it moves farther and farther from Earth, so the radio telescopes a distant civilization must have to detect TV or radio signals from Earth would have to dwarf our most powerful radio telescopes on Earth.

False alarms

“Wow” signal picked up at the Ohio State Radio Observatory in 1977 possibly could have fit criteria for an extraterrestrial radio signal but only lasted 72 seconds and was never heard of again.

Researchers did rule out this was an ET signal and wanted verification by observing a repeat of the signal coming from the same part of the sky. While a number of searches for a repeat signal were undertaken, none was ever successful.


If the tables were turned and ETs were trying to send a signal to us, they wouldn’t know if we received it or not. Just in the same way that a DJ doesn’t know if you have tuned into his or her radio show.

The complete exchange of messages would also take decades due to the finite speed of light

Radio frequency

Even if ETs sent a signal through the radio spectrum, the Earth only has had the capability of sending and receiving signals for approximately the last 60 years. A very short period of time compared to how long the universe has existed.

Therefore, it is not probable that ETs have been to Earth given that it has been such a short period of time that they could have received a radio signal from Earth.

Speed of light

It is a general scientific belief that the speed of light restricts interstellar and intergalactic space travel. Even if a spacecraft existed that could travel at a velocity of 299.79km/sec (speed of light) it would take 4.3 years for the craft to reach our sun's nearest neighbor the star known as Alpha Centauri. To reach solar systems or galaxies located at greater distances could take hundreds and even tens of thousands of light years.

Albert Einstein once said that only light itself can travel at the speed of light. Therefore, any solid spacecraft will never be able to reach light speed, or go faster.

Speed of light1


Sub-light speeds would be necessary, prolonging an already long journey in light years

For any spacecraft to travel through space (let alone our own solar system), it would need an extremely large fuel tank and large storage area for the unused fuel as well.

Even if ETs had advanced technology to travel at speeds close to the speed of light, could use antimatter as fuel, and could manipulate light and create wormholes within the universe, it could still take upwards of hundreds of years to reach earth.

Speed of light2

While cruising at speeds below the speed of light, ETs and their spacecraft would be torn apart by space debris, meteors, and even planetary bodies in their path.

The chances that a spacecraft could travel that fast throughout the universe without hitting an object is virtually 0%.

Even if this was all possible, the effects of traveling at the speed of light for years would prove disastrous to the physical bodies of the ETs aboard the craft

Biological diseases origins


Diseases are spread by many parts

Vectors (Insects & Animals)


Biological diseases origins1


Disease Causes1. External source2. Internal dysfunction

Human Immune System 

  • Non-specific Immunity (innate)

  • Specific Immunity

Biological diseases origins2

The European Colonization Effect on Native Americans

Bird to Human Transmission of Disease

Notable Zoonotic Diseases

1. Chlanydiosis

2. Salmonella

What does that mean for us

Limited Elements

Gold Abundance



Gold as payment

  • Gold – only element of value to offer

  • Abundance – Gold is included in the less than 0.1% Other Category

  • Non-Reactive

  • Conductive

  • Infrared Reflective

What does that mean for us1

It is logical to automatically presume that any living organism would need to be fairly similar to us humans since we are indeed living. The chemical composition and elements in the universe are extremely important; without them, life cannot exist. So, for us this means that IF there was an ET somewhere out there, it would need every single element together on one planet, and would also need a reasonable environment to sustain life. As explained previously, the chances are highly unlikely.

Additionally, if a source of payment was sought, we would only have the limited resource of Gold to offer as payment; as it is not in abundance in the universe and is a limited element.

What would this mean for us? The use of our resources and limited elements as payment (such as gold) may result in the elimination of mankind in order to procure earth for the continuity of their species.


With the evidence mounting against the idea of extraterrestrials, and whether they have visited us,it is increasingly clear that we are alone. However, we are still infantile in the grand scheme of the universe. We must grow, develop, and explore on our own. The responsibility lies solely with us on Earth.

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"Fermi's Paradox." Fermi's Paradox. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2014.


Fix, John D.. Astronomy: journey to the cosmic frontier. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.

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Overbye, Dennis. "Far-Off Planets Like the Earth Dot the Galaxy." The New York Times. The New York Times, 4 Nov. 2013. Web. 1

May 2014.



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May 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/340003/life/41348/The-origin-of-life>.

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"Technical data for Gold." Technical data for the element Gold in the Periodic Table. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May

2014. <http://periodictable.com/Elements/079/data.html>.

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"Welcome to IOPscience, the home of scientific content from IOP Publishing and our partners.."

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