I'd like to address Drake's famous equation and the probability of solar systems
being out in the galaxy. I think Drake was overly conservative. I think that the
statistics to be totally different. Let me show you a bit of information. All
astronomers know this particular curve which shows you the rotation rate of
stars as a function of spectral class. It is something of an "S" curve
with the F spectral class being in the middle and the G, K and M being at the
very bottom. The difference is two orders of magnitude. The O, A and B type
stars have a very high rotation rate relative to the G, K and M. Our sun is a
G2, and the question is - it's a dilemma for the sun - how come the sun does not
have the angular momentum? The angular momentum is associated with the major
planets. It's a dilemma that I'd like to address.
I believe that - it's a surprise I'd like you
to be aware of - that we may not really understand the origin of the solar
system. There may be a completely different model out here. According to my
thinking, I can reproduce Bode's law with a very simple model. Bode's law is the
conservation of angular momentum, just given very simple assumptions. If that's
the case (I may not be correct there - but, if I am correct in my
interpretation), all stars go through a certain evolutionary process. The O, A
and B are very young, yet they rotate very fast. Once they got to be G, K and M,
they have lost their angular momentum because they have produced a solar system.
If this interpretation is correct, then: 98% of the stars are G, K and M in our
galaxy. So the probability of having solar systems out there is very high!
Now, the next question you might ask well,
"Would they have planets?". I mention Bode's law, which gives you the
relationships of the distances of the planets. If my model is correct, then my
answer is "Yes, you would have planets out there at those distances".
Would there be one planet that is at the distance which is like the Earth? Yes,
I think so. I think there ought to be at least one at the distance where you
have liquid water. That's the basis for life! Mars is too far away, and Venus is
too close. All you need is just one planet at the correct distance.
Now, that changes the odds - I think - quite a
bit for our discussion here. This would make it much more likely that there are
planets out there. Another thing I'm going to say which is not controversial,
the above is controversial, but the following is fact. My theory is still not
accepted - not very well known yet.
However, consider this. The laws of physics
are universal. Nobody ever questions them. Therefore, the laws of chemistry are
universal; they are based on physics. Nobody ever challenges that either.
Biology, based on chemistry; well, we don't know. We don't know what kind of
biology we have out there because there are so many variables. The chances are
that there is an enormous amount of chemistry in the galaxy. We now have a lot
of evidence for this. Evidence from the interstellar medium and dust shows some
of the other molecules that are seen - at least 50 molecules of miniature type.
They are all seen to have the signature of organics in them. The evolution of
molecules and planets so strongly suggests that there is a system out there that
is driven to produce the possibility of life. At least the conditions for life
are there. Whether there is any life - well this of course is what the whole
thing is about. But at least the conditions are there.
Nature is very prodigious. Remember when
animals breed, when the salmon breed, they produce a lot of eggs, just to get a
couple of salmon out of there. I think nature might have done the same thing
(throughout the galaxy). Things are overly abundant. The chances are that we are
being bombarded with comets which have organics on them often enough. Many
times, I think there is redundancy built in so that life might have started more
than once in many more places. I think that we are kind of vain to think that we
are alone, almost the same kind of thing as - I hope that I'm not treading on
too many people's toes to say this: In the middle ages, we thought we were in
the middle of everything. Then there was a big shock when we found out in the
1920's that our sun was not the middle of the galaxy, but somewhere in the
boondocks. Now we are considering that - well - we are not alone! I think the
time is ripe - the time is exceedingly ripe.
About messages, let me make one controversial
statement here. We do have messages from a long time ago. Let me mention one
that is unchanged that all of you are familiar with. We never thought about it
as a message - the Bible. It was written at least 2500 years ago, maybe 3000
years. This gets back to the comment "Can we read the messages?". Are
the messages in the bible as written down the same as we read them today? The
answer is No! I've now looked at it in detail, and this is really another shock
for you. There are at least half a dozen words in the Bible that we are not sure
of their meaning. We lost the meaning from 2500 years ago. There are whole
sentences in there that may have double meanings of which the double entendre is
very subtle. I don't want to get into this now, but if you are interested, I
will be happy to explain it to you some of these passages that I think have lost
their meaning and had a different intent at the time. So here we have a message
from human beings a long time ago, where we are not even sure of some of the
messages. An interesting thought to consider. Thanks.
OK. Barney, would you like to comment?
Barney Oliver: I
would like to offer a comment on this rotation curve that you have produced: At
the original 1961 SETI conference held at Green Bank (yes, that curve), Su-Shu
Huang was present and offered that as a meaningful criterion for the selection
of stars that might have solar systems, the idea being that the ones that had
the low rotation rates in the primaries had planets around them and lost some of
the angular momentum to the planets. That has fallen into discredit. I am not
the person to tell you exactly why, but astronomers no longer think that that's
a very meaningful criterion. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that even if you
suggest that the globule out of which a star forms is only partaking of the
rotation of the galaxy itself, it will end up with something like 100 to 200
times the angular momentum of an entire planetary system. It has to shed a lot
more angular momentum than just its planets in the process of forming a star.
Whether it has planets or not is not consequential.