#6039571, By MoFo Why we haven't met any aliens

  • MoFo 15 Apr 2010 12:11:25 282 posts
    Seen 3 years ago
    Registered 15 years ago
    Ok localnotail thanks. I can see the benefits of that train of thought so long as it's taken as part of a balanced scientific diet.

    Made me think of a program I stumbled upon on BBC4 last night. About a guy called James Lovelock. He was saying he did a stint for NASA when they were working on a probe to be sent to mars's surface. They were going to develop a device to detect life on mars and one of the NASA scientists excitedly showed Mr Lovelock his invention. It was basically a small box that was intended to trap flies. Their theory was that since the martian surface mostly resembled our deserts, therefore the most likely life they'd find would be flies, especially as these are found around camels which are known to inhabit deserts. I kid you not.

    I think that's a prime example of using Occam's razor to the ridiculous and utterly futile extreme. They obviously asked the fundamental questions and came up with the most apparent likely solution. I guess with hindsight it seems ridiculous but perhaps at the time this seemed like an obvious solution. It just goes to show that just because something seems like the most probable answer doesn't mean you're right.

    As a footnote, Mr Lovelock went on to identify a method to analyse the martian planet's atmosphere for evidence of life right from our own planet, without the need to send a probe at all.
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