Talk:Extraterrestrial life

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Former good article Extraterrestrial life was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
December 11, 2005 Good article nominee Listed
July 16, 2009 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article

Deletion of reliably sourced content supporting evidence of contact[edit]

Wikipedia has a policy about neutral point of view WP:NPOV. Relevant, reliably sourced material should not be removed from the article just because it goes against conventional wisdom. This material is supported by mainstream press reports: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Extraterrestrial_life&diff=625211231&oldid=625204360 Ghostofnemo (talk) 11:53, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

I agree with David's removal of the material. The purpose of this article is to document the development and testing of hypotheses on extraterrestrial life -- not to recount anecdotes about alleged ET sightings, whether they have received press coverage or not. WP:NPOV does not apply here. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 14:29, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
Absolutely agree with DoctorJoeE and thank him for his support. The Extraterrestrial life article is about the scientific search and development of research into the subject. It is certainly not for conspiracy theories about UFO visitation, just because they have been reported in the mainstream press - the "Roswell Incident" and "Hitler Diaries" were reported in reliable media, but that does not make them fact or even reliable reports. The relevant Wikipedia pages on the alleged UFO sightings also cast serious doubts on the reliability of these accounts. The material that Ghostofnemo inserted needs reverting again. Regards, David, David J Johnson (talk) 14:46, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
I apologize, I didn't see this discussion before I reverted, but a (reliable) reference reporting on the existence of a conspiracy theory about alien visitation is *not* a reliable report on actual evidence for (or against) extraterrestrial life. Simply a different subject. Rwessel (talk) 15:11, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. When mainstream science begins to discuss whether they have found extraterrestrial life, whether it be a UFO or a discovery through astronomy, then we will have a topic to feature here. Kortoso (talk) 16:32, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

So it's ok to have a section in the article in which the U.S. government denies any knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrial life, but not ok to have information from mainstream press sources, not about "conspiracy theories", but about numerous government employees who claim to have witnessed evidence of extraterrestrial life? How is that WP:NPOV? That's like, in an article about the solar system, quoting authorities saying the sun and planets revolve around the earth, but not allowing a news story quoting astronomers who challenge that position by suggesting the earth is just another planet that revolves around the sun. It's not up to us to filter and decide what is true or untrue, accepted conventional wisdom or "conspiracy theory" - Wikipedia articles should include all relevant, reliably sourced aspects of the subject material. If government employees are coming forward and saying they have had contact with ET's, and the press is reporting it, that seems relevant to an article on extraterrestrial life! Ghostofnemo (talk) 01:03, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

The question is whether there are high-quality sources which treat what these people say as bearing on the serious topic of whether or not there is extraterrestrial life (there aren't such sources). For popular/sensational little green men stories there are plenty of other articles on Wikipedia. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 03:53, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, we *do* filter the content of articles, by considering WP:FRINGE and WP:UNDUE. The notion that there is evidence that we are being visited by aliens is *far* off in the fringe, and just mentioning that some folks hold that position (third paragraph of section Background) is quite enough weight given to that. While I would not object to trimming down the fourth paragraph (the one you mention), as the White House denial is of rather marginal relevance (and is effectively covered by the references and links in the third paragraph, specifically Extraterrestrial hypothesis), I think the last two sentences of the fourth paragraph are valuable, but those need some context (which is now being provided by the first three sentences). Rwessel (talk) 05:36, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
ABC News and two British newspapers covered these stories. That makes them notable. We don't decide what is notable, the reliable sources do. So what you are saying is that there is no possible way any eyewitness accounts, no matter how credible, no matter how many, that earth has been visited by extraterrestrials, will ever be allowed in this article. Here's a CNN article written by former Arizona Governor Fife Symington. http://edition.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/11/09/simington.ufocommentary/index.html Excerpts: "In 1997, during my second term as governor of Arizona, I saw something that defied logic and challenged my reality. I witnessed a massive, delta-shaped craft silently navigate over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix, Arizona." "As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man-made object I'd ever seen." and "I now know that I am not alone. There are many high-ranking military, aviation and government officials who share my concerns. While on active duty, they have either witnessed a UFO incident or have conducted an official investigation into UFO cases relevant to aviation safety and national security." Ghostofnemo (talk) 10:57, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Ghosts, Bigfoot, apparition of the Virgin Mary - there are eyewitness reports for pretty much anything you care to imagine. They are not taken seriously as "evidence" by the sort of respectable, high-quality publications WP requires for sourcing in general (and in particular for exceptional claims). So no, Wikipedia will never treat anecdotes in the laypress as meaningful inputs into the serious question of extraterrestrial life (unless high-quality sources start doing so - which is highly unlikely). Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 11:06, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Military personnel claim they killed bin Laden, too. Is that information in doubt until it appears in a scientific journal (hard to confirm because his body was dumped in the sea), or can we rely on mainstream news reports of claims by the military that he was killed? If mainstream news reports based on reports by military witnesses are acceptable in the case of bin Laden's death, why the double standard? Ghostofnemo (talk) 11:13, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Here's another story. 12 people, airport employees and pilots, saw a flying saucer over O'Hare airport in Chicago in 2007. The FAA is not investigating. An object in the airspace over the country's busiest airport, and they aren't going to investigate? Was this a mass delusion? Was there LSD in the water cooler? Or do we take 12 eyewitnesses seriously? The mainstream news media is taking it seriously. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6707250 and http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ufo-at-ohare-officials-say-weird-weather/ Ghostofnemo (talk) 11:45, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
The death of OBL is not seriously disputed (unlike the existence of Bigfoot, ghosts and little green men) and so does not require exceptional sourcing - though, as it happens, it is well covered in respectable literature too (e.g. here). Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 11:47, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Not a scientific article by any stretch of the imagination. Ghostofnemo (talk) 11:49, 13 September 2014 (UTC) OBL family questions reports of his death, demands evidence, government refuses to supply it. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2011/05/201151143347815396.html Ghostofnemo (talk) 11:55, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be "scientific". OBL's death is accepted fact; there are however conspiracy theories he isn't dead; WP's policies/guidelines on WP:FRINGE content and neutrality mean the distinction between reality and fantasy is kept clean in this subject area too. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 11:58, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
This is beginning to go off the original subject into the realm of "conspiracy theories". It needs to be said - once and for all - that Wikipedia relies on quality sources, the media might report fringe theories, but that does not make them mainstream or acceptable. Wikipedia also has articles on conspiracy theories and that is where the deleted contribution belongs. The consensus here amongst editors was that my original deletion was correct and may I respectfully suggest that Ghostofnemo accepts this. Regards to all, David, David J Johnson (talk) 13:09, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

To return to your original question -- is it okay to have a section in the article in which the government denies any knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrial life, but not okay to have information about numerous government employees who claim to have witnessed evidence of extraterrestrial life -- yes, it's okay. Because their is a yawning gap between evidence and people who claim to have seen evidence, i.e. hearsay. The government is saying that there is no compelling evidence to support all the hearsay, and that's true. The hearsay, no matter how extensively it is reported by the press, remains hearsay. Even after a century of UFO sightings, there isn't a shred of hard, reproducible evidence that any were actually UFOs. The conspirators, of course, say that the government is hiding all the real evidence, but there is no compelling evidence of that either. It's not our job to report hearsay, except in the articles about hearsay, where it is specifically labeled as such. This is not one of those articles. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 13:36, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

The editors of the article are taking the unscientific position that the U.S. government never lies, and calling any suggestion that they have lied a "conspiracy theory". Is NSA mass warrantless wiretapping a "conspiracy theory"? It was until Snowden's revelations: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/17/government-lies-nsa-justice-department-supreme-court Director of National Intelligence lies to Congress: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/01/27/darrell-issa-james-clapper-lied-to-congress-about-nsa-and-should-be-fired/ The "conspiracy theory" label is usually enough to steer the media away, but in cases like the ones I've noted above, large numbers of eyewitness accounts by apparently reliable witnesses are difficult for them to ignore, without looking like they are obviously being pressured to deny coverage. Ghostofnemo (talk) 00:14, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
More directly applicable to this topic: "Charles Halt, Former Air Force Colonel, Accuses U.S. Of UFO Cover-Up" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/ufo-secrets-turn-out-to-be-strong-opinions_n_1907492.html Ghostofnemo (talk) 00:33, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Ah, the cabal theory. If you attack people who oppose you as if they were a collective with an agenda against you, then they will certainly become one. There is no cabal conspiring against you unless you create it yourself. Also, consider that if many or most of the editors involved in a discussion disagree with you, it may be simply because you are wrong — or in violation of site policies (such as WP:UNDUE) — or, as in this case, both. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 00:14, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
How can you say it's given undue weight - it's given no weight at all. This article violates WP:NPOV (neutral point of view) because MANY people claim they have had contact of one sort or another, and this has been mentioned by reliable sources (supplied with the deleted sentences and during this discussion), but it is only mentioned in the article to deny or ridicule that possibility. There is no mention of any evidence (retracted press releases, video, photographs, radar data, government documents) or eyewitness accounts of contact with ETs or their technology. "Conspiracy theory" is the modern term for "heresy". Science does not ignore evidence to protect holy cows. And the policy of Wikipedia is supposed to be "bring it on, if you have reliable sources" so that all relevant, notable points of view are expressed in articles. But what actually happens is that inconvenient data goes into "conspiracy theory" articles, in order to protect established dogma. Here's a story about a poll that says 48% of Americans think UFOs could be ET visitations: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/48-percent-of-americans-believe-in-ufos_n_3900669.html That's not notable? Ghostofnemo (talk) 12:39, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
And 42% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. I have a patient who believes that he is Napoleon. Beliefs are neat, but don't confuse them with facts. We're an encyclopedia; we deal in facts and hard evidence. Unexplained sightings and blurry photos do not constitute hard evidence. Hard evidence might emerge tomorrow (and I hope it does), but until it does, it's not our job to reinforce unsupported beliefs with hearsay. (That's the Discovery Channel's job.) In any case, consensus is firmly against you. Enough. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 13:56, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Can you imagine an article about evolution that didn't mention people who don't believe in it? Ghostofnemo (talk) 14:00, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 14:21, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, luckily for Wikipedia users, if they visit the article Evolution, they will be aware of the fact that not everyone believes in it, and why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution#Social_and_cultural_responses Ghostofnemo (talk) 14:23, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Of course I can, and we have one here in the encyclopedia; equal time is not given to creationists -- they have their own article. Evolution is not a religion, or a belief. One either accepts the scientific evidence supporting it, or one does not. Similarly, this article documents factual information, and we have no obligation to give equal time to unsupported beliefs. Find us some hard evidence and you will have an argument. The fact that some percentage of the citizenry believes in spaceships, or that individuals have seen things that they believe to be spaceships, are not evidence of anything. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 14:34, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
"Evolution is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community." From the article's talk page. Ghostofnemo (talk) 14:26, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes and this article has a "Cultural impact" section in which we mention the people (conspiracy theorists) who believe in flying saucers, govt. cover-ups and such. Same sort of thing. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 14:30, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Life in Space[edit]

Of possible interest --

In any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 14:11, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Garrett P. Serviss' Edison's Conquest of Mars[edit]

The book by Garrett P. Serviss, Edison's Conquest of Mars, is mentioned in the 19th century section. A recent edit has attempted to define that book's relationship to H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. The current text is at least partially incorrect, as Edison's Conquest of Mars is actually a sequel to Fighters from Mars, which is a unauthorized retelling of The War of the Worlds. Anyway, since War of the Worlds is a far more well known source, which illustrates the point being made nicely, I think we should remove Edison's Conquest of Mars (which is far less known) as trivia, rather than trying to explain the rather convoluted relationship between the two (or three) books. Rwessel (talk) 23:19, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Direct search section[edit]

The direct search section has several entries on organics found in space, I assume this relates to abiogenesis, but that is not the topic of this article. I'd write a introductory paragraph for context or delete those entries. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:53, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

A link to a more appropriate article seems justified, since readers may be curious about the associations. Kortoso (talk) 17:07, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Gaia Hypothesis mini-paragraph[edit]

@David J Johnson:, my WP:BOLD removal of the Gaia hypothesis statement on chemical disequilibrium [1] is motivated by it being unsourced and, seemingly, wrong. Disequilibrium as an indicator of biology goes back at least as far as Sagan, but this is a separate concept from Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis: chemical disequilibrium (like Earth's atmosphere) should be expected in a biosphere whether organisms are evolving to maintain environmental parameters or not. The Gaia hypothesis continues to be an interesting and popular idea, but its validity even on Earth has always been somewhat doubtful. In such circumstances and with no source, I saw deletion as preferable to no action. But now we should discuss. Geogene (talk) 18:13, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Direct search material (hidden by comment lines)[edit]

Several paragraphs in source file for the section on direct search were commented out, thus making them invisible on the regular page. These might be remnants from somebody's editing work. I don't actually know. They are, however, relevant, if also extremely detailed. I took the comment lines out so that everybody can see the material and consider its relevance, etc. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 18:38, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

Biochemistry[edit]

Would it be reasonable that the section on biochemistry be a bit more rigorously structured into two paragraphs, one on the importance of water and one on carbon-based chemistry? It is almost that way now, but some tuning up and moving material into this two-paragraph structure might make the point a bit more clear. Of course, some editors might have different opinions, hence my question. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 13:44, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

No, you are editing for the sake of editing. The section appears to be perfectly readable in terms of understanding. Other editor views welcome. David J Johnson (talk) 14:33, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Hello. This article, although "Wikified" to a nice formatting, it contains several errors, some fringe assertions and outdated material. I agree in that the overhaul seems massive and sudden, and its regular editors might feel disconcerted, but I am sure it will improve its accuracy significantly. I think it used to be a "Good Article" but it was demoted for a reason. If there is specific info you'd like to see reverted, please discuss it. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 00:00, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

 Done - somewhat related - the unsourced (entirely "original research"?) sub-section "Extraterrestrial life#Evolution and morphology" (and related text) has been removed - it's *entirely* ok with me to rv/mv/ce the edit of course - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 12:52, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

Section: Ancient and medieval ideas[edit]

The section entitled "Ancient and medieval ideas" is basically religious speculation on extraterrestrial life. I wonder if it has any use in this article, even for context. I don't feel strongly one way or another but my intention is to delete it. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 18:17, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

Support. Seems like religion. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 18:21, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Possibly summarize to a single paragraph? Isambard Kingdom (talk) 18:36, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that a brief summary of pre-scientific thought on the matter is inappropriate. There is unquestionably a cultural aspect to the notion of extraterrestrial life. Rwessel (talk) 21:04, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm agreeing, now, with Rwessel. A short summary seems appropriate. The material is already there waiting to be made succinct. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 23:03, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
I'd like to make a specific point to mention that the Catholic church repressed any astronomical research and discoveries that opposed their religious view. The censure was not just on astronomy but in all sciences, and it lasted centuries. That is a very relevant religious context. BatteryIncluded (talk) 21:07, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
BatteryIncluded, I would be curious if the issue you raise here, the Catholic church repressing astronomical research, is specifically relevant to the article on extraterrestrial life, and, even more, whether or not it fits into the balance of this article. Can you share your thoughts on this? Thanks, Isambard Kingdom (talk) 23:00, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, I am not religious so I am not eager to spend time on documenting it. But it relates to the early assertion of the existence of many other worlds (and maybe civilizations), which the church labeled a heretic (god created only one planet), and therefore the censure through the Roman Inquisition (Galileo Glilei and his trial comes to mind). Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:54, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
On second thought, I rather stay away from that perspective. The article History of astronomy does not touch that subject, so I won't either. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:36, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

 Done -- Have a look, I'm not wedded to the summary, but it is, perhaps, a bit more of a balance, given other content in the article. I kept all the citation information. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 14:49, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Mathematical Proof[edit]

In addition to the current article's equation for calculating a deterministic number about alien creatures (that is not a proof for the extraterrestrial life), add the logical mathematical proof of the extraterrestrial life (which is a mathematical proof for the extraterrestrial life debate, for the first time in mankind's history) to the article too, please. Link: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01184545 --78.164.4.118 (talk) 15:22, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Not done It is a probabilistic mathematical argument posted in an open archive (HAL); not peer-reviewed, and not published by a reliable science journal. BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:46, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

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Will viruses count as extraterrestrial life?[edit]

It has been mooted that some viruses arrive on Earth from space. If this is proven to be so, will these viruses be regarded as extraterrestrial life? Many people (Brian Cox is one) don't regard viruses as life. Wythy (talk) 02:08, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

Good question. They have nucleic acids and evolve. I would say yes. However, don't expect them to just "rain down" from space. Both their protein coats (capsid) and nucleic acids (DNA/RNA) denature fast in the vacuum of outer space. Then you have the solar and cosmic radiation which fries them over the millions/billions of years they float about. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:34, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
Would depend, as you suggested, on your definition of life. Viruses are the simplest organism that could constitute life—DNA wrapped in protein casing. The case "for" is that they have DNA, and reproduce. The case "against" is that their structure is so simple, and they carry out so few functions. But it's a moot point until you find one that can be proved to be of extraterrestrial origin. Find one, then we'll argue about how to define it. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 03:15, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
At minimum, they would certainly count as biosignatures since they only replicate inside living host cells. Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe has made several such claims, but without support from peers. BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:22, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
Let's cross this bridge when there is actually good evidence of space viruses. I would say it should definitely be noted at this page, but for the moment it's a very fringe view if even that (and I doubt it will ever be anything more). A2soup (talk) 17:17, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
Aye. If extraterrestrial viruses are found, you can bet it would be a news item. But this is Wikipedia; we don't do "moot". :)
Kortoso (talk) 21:41, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

Watson paper[edit]

So, Dr Watson thinks that chances for intelligent ET is 0.01%. Given that thousands of scientists have expressed their opinion or assessment, I don't see why this one opinion has to be prominent in the introduction. I don't disagree with a mention of his estimate, but don't do it in the introduction which has to be a summary of the main points, and specially not in a manner that implies that number is a scientific consensus. BatteryIncluded (talk) 06:37, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Totally agree with BatteryIncluded's comments above. This is only one scientist's opinion. David J Johnson (talk) 10:15, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
I also agree. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 14:20, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
Watson source [2] --- I agree as well, but at the same time I think a lot of readers come to this article specifically in search of information regarding intelligent extraterrestrial life. The fact that the current lede makes no mention denoting probability is a huge disservice to the reader (in my opinion). Can we work together in presenting consensus formatted material to the reader? -- Somedifferentstuff (talk) 16:10, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
I apologize if I came across harsh. Having worked briefly on the field (astrobiology) and in these Wikipedia articles, it is critical to express that all "estimates" rely on enormous assumptions and speculations. Citing a number, any number, is not helpful. Just take a look at the Drake equation article for example. A simulation on exoplanetology or planetary science (strictly astrophysics) is one thing, but biology does not conform to mathematical models. We just don't understand living systems-environment. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:59, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I feel adding any comment about Watson's model into the lede would be a disservice to the overall value of the article. The lede presents facts and major theories clearly as it is, and the 2013 NYT op-ed by Davies (current Ref. #1) balances current thinking. Further balance results from sections on the Drake equation and Recent history under Cultural impact, i.e., after the lede presents the article, further perspective on the potential for intelligent alien life is adequately gained from the article. If Watson's model is to be given deeper attention, it might be used in a new subsection added under the Drake equation consolidating the Fermi paradox and the 2015 NYT Overbye essay. --Zefr (talk) 21:30, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Business Insider, 23 Mar 16, presents several concepts for why humans have not had contact with aliens more advanced than us, possibly because we are in a supercomputer simulation game. 22 Apr 16, Neil deGrasse Tyson leads a panel of thought leaders on the idea that the universe is a simulation. Plenty of fun ideas... but over 2 hrs of conversation. --Zefr (talk) 16:13, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Elvis shot JFK. -BatteryIncluded (talk) 18:17, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Misleading !!![edit]

The article seems to be arranged in such a way that aliens or extraterrestrial life exists. Its not in a neutral point of view. People are not saying why it may be wrong, it assumes that people know that ET doesn't exist and only proof regarding its existence should be given. Imagine when a kid ( i am not very old. ) with a NPOV reads this page. They will think that ET exists, only proof is not found. I'm serious. Some kids are refering to wikipedia. They blindly belive that ET exist and the scientists are genius peopel, cant be wrong. Why are they investing so much to find them. Seriously, my grandmother used to believe ghosts exist and she even saw them. I even belived. But you know better. So Im saying that the point of view should be a lttle bit NPOV. Thanks. --modi bhai (talk) 05:14, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

You can see that in first para of introduction its in NPOV. But he second and third para says as if most people belive that ET exists. I think the information in the introduction should not say about opinions or what people thinks. It should be about general information. Like the first para. you know about the effect of first impression. --modi bhai (talk) 05:22, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

I'll be honest, I don't see the basis in your statement. Nothing in the lead says that extraterrestrials exist, merely that the vastness of the universe suggests that something is likely out there; and it discusses efforts to try and find evidence of them. Seems pretty neutral to me. Huntster (t @ c) 06:32, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

What i'm trying to say is that the introduction should not say about its existence as we are not sure. It should only have general info --modi bhai (talk) 07:30, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Besides the line saying one of the researcher.... should not be in the introduction. --modi bhai (talk) 07:32, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

I see nothing wrong with the article as it stands. It is written in a neutral tone and I see no basis for alteration. The "editor" has already admitted that they have little knowledge on their User page. David J Johnson (talk) 10:24, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

There is about "possible basis". But nothing about why not. --modi bhai (talk) 07:34, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

I may be wrong about the introduction thing. But is there e article truly neutral. --modi bhai (talk) 07:35, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Yes it's okay as far as the ordinary scientific understanding. Though it's rather minimal, the sections are very short and don't give much detail and it probably has some inaccuracies. I just checked the Mars section and it had several major mistakes which I have fixed. Someone with a good background in the subject needs to go through and check the whole thing. I'll look it over some time when I get a bit more time and see if I can find more things to fix and maybe expand some of it.
I think the intro doesn't make it clear enough that though scientists think that life may well be commonplace around other planets, they don't know for sure, and if it does exist, it might easily nearly all be ET microbes. For astrobiologists, an ET microbe would be a thrilling discovery which would be likely to revolutionize biology, medicine, perhaps agriculture, nanotechnology, and many other fields. So although they are of course interested in ETIs (Extra Terrestrial Intelligences) the main focus of most of astrobiology, except SETI, is on extraterrestrial biochemistry and microbes I have added a couple of sentences to the intro:

"There are many planets now known in the habitable zones of their stars and several places in our own solar system where it's thought life similar to ours may be able to survive. However, until we learn how life got started on Earth, we have no way to estimate how easy it is for life to evolve on those planets. If they do have life, they might all or most have only microbial life, and with no other examples to compare ourselves with, we have no way to estimate whether we are unusual in evolving as far as intelligent life. The Drake equation is an attempt to answer this question, but without more knowledge, any numbers put into that equation are speculative. The science of extraterrestrial life in all its forms is known as exobiology."

Clarification of Drake quotation in the "Recent History" section[edit]

This is not a hard physics article so for the benefit of the lay readership, Drakes quotation "All we know for sure is that the sky is not littered with powerful microwave transmitters" requires one clarification since it omits the the following context:

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic wave and so are limited by the speed of light: a caveat to Drake's correct observation is that such signals may simply have not reached us yet (or ceased transmission before humanity started looking for them).

This is hardly an unsourced opinion. The finite light speed (c) of all electromagnetic communication is a scientific fact. However the lay reader may not be aware that this applies to microwaves. It is therefore a reasonable edit.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 27.253.56.6 (talk) 01:06, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

By that reasoning, we should make notations about all elements of electromagnetic radiation that aren't radio, lest they assume otherwise. No, at some point we just have to trust that readership can figure some things out without having everything explained in a single article. Huntster (t @ c) 02:22, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Removed misleading statements from Mars section[edit]

The Mars section said that Phoenix found subsurface water - not true, it only found ice scraping the surface. It did find evidence of global exchange of oxygen over recent geological timescales with the atmosphere which probably means liquid water close to the surface. The other main thing is that droplets of what looked like a liquid formed on its legs - now thought to be probably liquid brines due to contact of salt with ice thrown up during the landing. Those could be mentioned.

Also removed the bit about gullies forming as signs of recent liquid water. The gullies did form, but now most think they form due to dry ice phenomena - there still is a liquid water hypothesis but as only one of many it's not conclusive enough to have such prominence. There is evidence of liquid brines in the warm seasonal flows already linked to. I could add more to this section depending how long we want it to be but thought it was most important to remove inaccurate misleading information right away. Robert Walker (talk) 03:11, 5 March 2017 (UTC)