. 24/7 Space News .
Statistical analysis reveals odds of life evolving on alien worlds
by Brooks Hays
Washington DC (UPI) May 19, 2020

Scientists have used a statistical method known as Bayesian inference to determine the odds of complex extraterrestrial life evolving on alien planets, according to new research published this week.

"The rapid emergence of life and the late evolution of humanity, in the context of the timeline of evolution, are certainly suggestive," David Kipping, an assistant professor of astronomy at Columbia University, said in a news release. "But in this study it's possible to actually quantify what the facts tell us."

Using statistical models, Kipping and his colleagues ran the odds of life and intelligence re-emerging should Earth's planetary history to begin anew.

The team of scientists wanted to determine the probability of intelligent life emerging on life-friendly planets. Researchers considered four distinct scenarios: life is common but intelligence is rare, life is rare but typically evolves intelligence, life is rare and intelligence is rarer, or lastly, life is common and usually evolves intelligence.

Bayesian statistical inference uses a set of founding beliefs about a system before predicting probabilities. As new information becomes available, the model can update its predictions.

"The technique is akin to betting odds," Kipping said. "It encourages the repeated testing of new evidence against your position, in essence a positive feedback loop of refining your estimates of likelihood of an event."

Researchers used their Bayesian models to compare the likelihood of the four different scenarios.

"In Bayesian inference, prior probability distributions always need to be selected," Kipping said. "But a key result here is that when one compares the rare-life versus common-life scenarios, the common-life scenario is always at least nine times more likely than the rare one."

This life-friendly probability distribution is based on the fact that life developed so quickly after Earth's formation. The earliest life forms emerged during the first 300 million years in Earth's history.

If alien worlds with conditions similar to Earth's are common, than life should establish itself fairly easily, according to the analysis, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The outlook is less certain for intelligence. The Bayesian models put the odds of life evolving intelligence at three to two -- just barely in favor of intelligence, a mere flip of the coin.

"The analysis can't provide certainties or guarantees, only statistical probabilities based on what happened here on Earth," Kipping said. "Yet encouragingly, the case for a universe teeming with life emerges as the favored bet. The search for intelligent life in worlds beyond Earth should be by no means discouraged."

Related Links
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

New study estimates the odds of life and intelligence emerging beyond our planet
New York NY (SPX) May 19, 2020
Humans have been wondering whether we alone in the universe since antiquity. We know from the geological record that life started relatively quickly, as soon our planet's environment was stable enough to support it. We also know that the first multicellular organism, which eventually produced today's technological civilization, took far longer to evolve, approximately 4 billion years. But despite knowing when life first appeared on Earth, scientists still do not understand how life occurred, ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Last of NASA's vital, versatile science 'EXPRESS Racks' heads to Space Station

Searching with Sasquatch: Recovering Orion

Marshall team prepares for upcoming Commercial Crew Launch

Roscosmos confirms signing contract for NASA Astronaut's flight to ISS

Hypersonic Test Center for US Army speeds ahead

Soyuz launch from Kourou postponed until 2021, 2 others to proceed

NASA takes preliminary steps to resume SLS Core Stage testing work

Pryer Aerospace signs long-term agreement with Blue Origin to support New Glenn Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle

NASA's Perseverance Rover goes through trials by fire, ice, light and sound

Lava-like mud flows on Mars

ExoMars rover upgrades and parachute tests

Mystery of lava-like flows on Mars solved by scientists

More details of China's space station unveiled

China's Kuaizhou rocket industrial park partially operational

China's tracking ship Yuanwang-5 back from rocket monitoring mission

China's experimental new-generation manned spaceship works normally in orbit

Strings of pearls in the night sky - the Starlink satellite project

India allows private firms, start-ups a sneak peek into ISRO data

RUAG Space offers new electronics for constellations

Bankrupt OneWeb seeks DoD financing to keep assets from Chinese purchase

AFRL satellite duo probing Earth's radiation belts

Rocket Crafters concludes tests of 3D-printed hybrid engine

Liquid metal research invokes 'Terminator' film - but much friendlier

AFRL pushes boundaries in metals printing with new research

TRAPPIST-1 planetary orbits not misaligned

New study estimates the odds of life and intelligence emerging beyond our planet

Exoplanet climate 'decoder' aids search for life

Astronomers confirm existence of two giant newborn planets

SOFIA finds clues hidden in Pluto's haze

New evidence of watery plumes on Jupiter's moon Europa

Telescopes and spacecraft join forces to probe deep into Jupiter's atmosphere

Newly reprocessed images of Europa show 'chaos terrain' in crisp detail

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.