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Old 01-26-2006, 08:38 PM   #16
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Originally posted by Maoilbheannacht

The size of the Universe(in terms of mass) is finite and its been shown that there is not enough mass in the Universe to reverse the expansion.
Are we distinguishing between the observable universe and the universe? The gravitational effect of mass beyond the observable universe would be null because gravity acts at a finite speed. How can we prove or disprove the existence of mass at

"Life" in the Universe may be widespread, but it depends on what your definition of "Life" is. If your talking about bacteria, single celled organisms etc. it could be very widespread. But if your talking about complex lifeforms, like animals, its probably very rare.
I am not even sure if the rise of the single celled organisms is such a cosmic inevitability.

We now know that without the Moon, the formation of complex lifeforms on earth would not have been possible.
Firstly we are not talking about Earth, we are talking about other terrestrial planets. Or the planet earth where the collision with what has become the moon never occured.

Secondly we are talking about the formation of life, we cannot say it's formation is entirely dependent on tidal forces. Plate tectonics is a feature much more important in maintaining an atmosphere and replenishing it chemically. It also puts a much more effective threshold on planet/moon size when searching for life.
The only reason the Earth has the Moon is because of a collision with another planet early in its history.
Yes, one collision of many during the formation of the solar system. In the absence of more observed terrestrial planets we can only speculate on the odds of this occuring.

The presence of a moon in stable orbit is a feature of the planet Earth, it may not be by definition a factor required for the formation of life.
How many earth sized planets are really out there at the right distance from the right type of star, in a circular orbit, not hindered by other planets in the solar system?
Planets that are not in stable orbits are naturally weeded out in interactions.
Then, how many of those planets had a colision early in its history that formed a moon with the right type of orbit, so it would not eventually colide with the planet it was orbiting?
Again to great a focus on the moon issue. We have a single data point for life, until we have more then it may be unwise to assume anything.

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