Thursday, January 12, 2012

Alien Life an Almost Certainty?

Astronomers are now estimating that there is a minimum of 100 Billion planets in our galaxy alone and a majority of these are earth sized.  Match that with a conservative 500 billion other galaxies in the Universe

Stephen Kane—at NASA's Exoplanet Science Institute at CalTech in Pasadena wrote in a recent study:

  • not only are planets common in the galaxy, but there are more small planets than large ones.
This means that even if an amazingly small percentage of these small planets could harbor life, by just the sheer amount of these planets means that life is all but a certainty.  

It almost comes down now to life vs intelligent life.  

Check out the great Gizmodo article here


Homer said...

Man. back in the day, I could have rolled up a fat one and talked about this for hours...haha!! I've always thought that the theory of aliens visiting Earth in the past was intriguing. The legends of the Greek and Roman gods, carvings found on ancient constructs and writings in ancient texts including the Bible could be interpreted as influence from beings with higher technological levels than man did at that time. Not to mention the construction of the pyramids, the Sphinx, the heads of Easter Island or the Mayan cities, whose very existence defies the technology of the times.

Then there’s the ages old Sci-Fi explanation as to why so many humanoid life forms exist in movies and TV. That an ages old alien race spread the ‘essence’ of their being on planets that were capable of developing life ‘in their image’. The variations in evolution were due to the unique environments for the planets where the ‘primordial ooze’ was deposited. Or like BSG or Stargate; for one reason or other humans were scattered across the galaxy.

I do think that it would take very unique circumstances to find a world with the perfect parameters in place to develop humanoid life as we know it. Even though all life on Earth is carbon based there is no reason, in my mind, that some form of life could be based on another mineral. Even some insects ‘blood’ is not even iron based, but copper, if I’m not mistaken.

I loved the comment wkm001 made on Gizmodo about existing in the necklace of a cat like in ‘Men In Black’. Reminds me of the ST:TNG episode where they trapped Moriarty in a table top holodeck thinking that he had the entire universe to explore. I think Data made a comment something like ‘what if were are in a holodeck sitting on someone’s desk’. And Picard just turned and looked out the window (fade to black). That always sent a little chill up my spine..haha!!

Have you ever seen ‘The Thirteenth Floor’? It’s about a scientist that developed a computer system that allowed you to ‘jack’ into the system and live in an artificial world within the machine. It will twist your mind around and leave you wondering what’s real and what isn’t. And Vincent D’Onofrio’s character is really psycho….lol!!

Well, that’s it for my novella this time around!! Until next time!!

Beam Me Up said...

Wow Homer!
Have to say that you got the juices flowing. I delibrately left the article short so others would float over to Gizmodo and other places to get a handle on what can be a very complex subject. You managed to take it in a very "interesting" direction. I do remember the holodeck episode and it is one on my favorites of the program, much as somewhere in time is with the original Star Trek. Thanks for the memories as they say.

Anonymous said...

Humanity has much hubris to imagine we are the only sentient
life in the entire universe, or as some believe the only life is on this one planet...
What wondrous forms of Life are most likely out there...
With all the unusual life found in such strange places on this planet alone. Life is persistent, tenacious, and prolific, and my bet is its existing in places, and ways we haven't even imagined...

Beam Me Up said...

extremely well put Anon

Matthew Wright said...

Fascinating idea and one that needs careful thought, discussion and debate. When doing that, however, I think we have to be careful not to fall into a false syllogism or be guided too much by pop-SF tropes. For instance, just because we think life exists elsewhere, does that mean it follows that it has come here - now or earlier - or that it validates any of what has been asserted outside the science community about these matters. Who says, for instance, that life automatically leads to intelligence, or indeed anything more than microbes and perhaps slime, which is what life consisted of on Earth for most of its history. But an interesting field and one in which we have a great deal to learn. And where it is important to discuss, consider - and which will, I think, ultimately be answered by the right sort of hard data about exoplanetary systems - which, so far, we don't have to the extent that we need for a definitive answer.

Matthew Wright

Beam Me Up said...

excellent caveats Matthew. Plus dead on. My take away from the article was simply that statistically speaking, life elsewhere in the universe is a certainty. Does that then infer that life from elsewhere has visited here? or for that matter that this life is intelligent? Not in the least. I think the odds are good that there is intelligent life elsewhere under the same auspices that there be life at all. But no matter how many believers wax lyrical about the possibility concerning visitations, the very nature of the universe all but precludes that possibility no matter how advanced.

Thanks for the comments!