It will be Q#7: "Planets around a binary star system is not suitable for development of intelligent life because the planets....?" for a poor biologist as myself! Could one of you explain the answer? (I know which one is the correct answer now, I won't tell here, no spoilers allowed!) :)
That's what I guessed
Woooh 100%. I can now officially call myself an astrobiologist!
Well, I actually have some problems with the quiz questions. Perhaps we
can write a better version and host it on SAGAN itself ;-)
For example, the word 'Earth' should have a capital E ;-)
Q1: I would suggest that life on Earth is based on hydrogen
(think about the number of atoms of H compared to the rest). Much of
biochemistry is also controlled by the movement of hydrogen atoms or the
manipulation of C-H or O-H bonds.
Q7: I understand that a planet was reported last year in
the AlphaCen system (result is being confirmed by Hubble Observations).
If the planet does exist, it has probably been around Alpha Cen for ~4.5
billion years (about the same as the age of the Sun). Plenty of time to
give life on this planet to originate and evolve?
Indeed both Q6 and Q7 assume that given enough time and environmental
conditions, intelligent life is a likely outcome of life's origin and
evolution. As Earth history has shown this is not a good assumption
(Notice how with the same amount of time and availability of
environments that our species had access to, we don't see Kangaroos
building radio telescopes or Penguins using iPhones!)
Q5. Perhaps could be better rephrased as "what is the most likely place to find Earth-like life". Also, in recent years, place like Enceladus, Europa and Titan have been put forward as better candidates for life than Mars.
Q2. Aren't there proteins like ribosomes (which have critical bits made
of RNA) also transferred to the next generation (independent of the DNA
material) and so couldn't one say they too transfer genetic information. BTW aren't all enzymes also proteins?
Hmm... I am already becoming a grumpy old astrobiologist !!!
#6 and #7 ! Although I got them right by excluding the most unlikely answers. I was indeed thinking that there exist stable orbits in binary system, am I wrong? What about the possibility of a planet orbiting a single star in a wide binary system? And what is wrong with a small star? Is it the activity (X-ray flares etc.) that causes problems? Someone has to enlighten us!
I'm not sure about the hardest, but Q. #7 was perhaps the most ambiguous -- as a scientist, I'd appreciate more specificity! ;-)
Wow! All excellent comments! Hmmm, perhaps we could do a better job with developing an Astrobiology Quiz? I place the one of this week's DoW here available for edit. How would you rephrase it? Let's shoot for 20 questions? What do you think?
Thanks Graham! I'll play with a few questions as well
Gosh I'm surprised, I got 100% right and guessed on three. (Proudly saved webpage)