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TagFine-tuning of universe for life

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Amazing Exoplanets

News From the Search for Extraterrestrial Life 7

Venus is back in the news, for what it can teach us about what can go wrong with Earth

The search continues. Last week we learned about an ancient ocean on Mars and also that Saturn’s moon Enceladus may be a better bet than Mars for life (in the oceans beneath its icy surface). Meanwhile, NASA slams the DART into asteroid Dimorphos NASA successfully struck asteroid Dimorphos, and witnessed the dramatic impact in real time from Earth. Engineers from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Maryland monitored their DART probe, short for Double Asteroid Rendezvous Test, as it approached the small asteroid on Monday (Sept. 26). This is NASA’s first planetary defense test, which might inform future efforts to change the direction of a dangerous asteroid traveling towards our planet. Doris Elin Urrutia, “The Top Space Stories…

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Human hand fine tuning levels on professional audio equipment

Philosopher: “Universe Fine-Tuned for Life” is Just Folk Belief!

Do physicists claim that the universe is fine-tuned for life only when writing for a popular audience — and not in their professional work?

Closer to Truth recently published a revealing podcast in which host Robert Lawrence Kuhn asked late Western Michigan University philosopher Quentin Persifor Smith (1952–2020), “What Does a Fine-Tuned Universe Mean?” (Aug 31, 2022). Smith iss esteemed for his work on philosophy of time, philosophy of religion, naturalism and atheism, philosophy of Big Bang cosmology and quantum cosmology. So can we really draw conclusions from the fact that our universe appears fine-tuned for life? Kuhn’s questions and Smith’s responses help us understand why the question remains controversial. A partial transcript and notes follow. Quentin Persifor Smith: (1:43) If the universe is causally deterministic, you can take whatever happens at any point and infer backwards that this is what must have happened,…

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Exploration of Mars the Red planet of the solar system in space. This image elements furnished by NASA.

News From the Search for Extraterrestrial Life 5

NASA staff are said to be quite excited about organic materials around the Jezero Crater; astronomers are learning more about "eyeball planets"

As the telescopes and other instruments rain data on researchers, each week brings news of interest: From our galaxy: Last week, planets orbiting M-type (common red dwarf) stars came up. Astronomers are classifying these planets in greater detail: “’We have discovered that small planets orbiting this type of star can be classified into three distinct families: rocky planets very similar to Earth, planets with half their mass consisting of water that we call water worlds, and mini-Neptunes with extended atmospheres of hydrogen and/or helium’, describes Pallé.” – Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) (September 8, 2022) One feature of these worlds may be a surprise: “Given that they are tidally locked to their suns, these planets may also have liquid…

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James Webb Space Telescope in Space

News From the Search for Extraterrestrial Life 3

The Webb gets a good closer look at an exoplanet

Exoplanets are hard to spot but the James Webb Space Telescope got an image of one (HIP 65426b), reported September 1: The planet is more than 10,000 times fainter than its host star and about 100 times farther from it than Earth is from the Sun (~93 million miles), so it easily could be spotted when the telescope’s coronagraphs removed the starlight. The exoplanet is between six and 12 times the mass of Jupiter—a range that could be narrowed once the data in these images is analyzed. The planet is only 15 million to 20 million years old, making it very young compared to our 4.5-billion-year-old Earth. Isaac Schultz, “See Webb Telescope’s First Images of an Exoplanet” at Gizmodo (September…

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Somewhere in extreme deep space far galaxies and habitable exoplanets with rings. 3D rendered background. Elements of this image were furnished by NASA.

News From the Search for Extraterrestrial Life 2

A new ocean planet, a planet with carbon dioxide, and new information about life chances on Mars

What may be an ocean planet has been discovered in the region of the Constellation Draco: An international team of researchers led by Charles Cadieux, a Ph.D. student at the Université de Montréal and member of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), has announced the discovery of TOI-1452 b, an exoplanet orbiting one of two small stars in a binary system located in the Draco constellation about 100 light-years from Earth. The exoplanet is slightly greater in size and mass than Earth and is located at a distance from its star where its temperature would be neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on its surface. The astronomers believe it could be an “ocean planet,”…

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Glowing huge nebula with young stars. Space background

Has a Superintellect Monkeyed With Our Universe’s Physics?

Groundbreaking astronomer Fred Hoyle was a staunch atheist but then he tried showing that carbon, essential to life, could form easily. Steve Meyer explains.

In this second portion of a talk at the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith (2021), philosopher Steve Meyer discusses the ways in which groundbreaking astronomer Fred Hoyle (1915–2001) dealt with the fact that the universe seems fine-tuned for life. Hoyle’s widely cited comment on the subject was “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.” That was an unsettling idea for Hoyle, who was a well-known atheist, and he certainly sought ways around it. How did he fare? Dr. Meyer, author of The Return of the God Hypothesis (Harper One, 2021), reflects on Hoyle’s struggle.…