Is anybody out there?

In fact, had a giant asteroid not killed off the dinosaurs, homo sapiens might never have evolved. If it weren’t for that chance cataclysmic encounter from space, Earth might even now be ruled by dinosaurs.

By Wayne Boyd

In the early days of Hollywood and television, we used to think that life on other planets was common. Science fiction movies about invasions from the planet Mars or Venus were normal. HG Wells wrote War of the Worlds which later became a radio show and still later several big screen adaptations and it was about Martians invading Earth.

Even as our imagination thrived our knowledge of the cosmos grew. We sent probes and rovers throughout the solar system and beyond. We gazed into the stars with our space telescopes. We took images from non-visible light and radio waves. Great minds like Einstein and Hawking churned it over. Finally, after all that, we came to a startling if not disappointing realization: Planets other than Earth that support life, if they exist at all, appear to be the exception rather than the rule. There is no warmongering Martian civilization waiting to invade Earth. There are no lovely ladies lounging around on Venus. It’s true not only for our own solar system, but for all the exoplanets we’ve detected so far.

Our understanding of distances in space developed, especially between stars. Distances, it turned out, were vast. The more we knew the less likely it seemed anyone would go star hopping. That not only applies to us, but the aliens as well, if any extraterrestrial sentient beings exist at all! There will be no warp drives, no faster than light travel, and no light speed travel. It just isn’t possible. We can’t go there and they can’t come here.

Recently, there’s been some reports of UFOs in the news, and that’s always been there from the 1950s on. There is no evidence that unidentified flying objects are extraterrestrial in origin. It is unlikely for the simple reason that to travel from one star to the next would take tens of thousands of years. Sadly, and perhaps fortunately, no one is traveling from star to star. The best we can hope for is that we can visit other planets in our own solar system. Maybe one of them might at least have some microbes.

Once we figured out that there wasn’t much chance of advanced, intelligent life elsewhere within our own solar system, then we hoped we would find it on planets around other stars. Remember the movie Avatar? Supposedly that took place around Alpha Centauri, one of our closest group of stars. So if we can’t find life here then for sure it’s going to be on the closest star!

Yet, as we peered into the solar systems of other stars we came to a new understanding: most planets that we’re able to detect outside of our own solar system are hostile environments. There’s something weird about almost all of them, and so the prospect of finding life orbiting on a planet near our closest star is kind of unlikely. There’s no “Avatar” on Alpha Centauri.

Intelligent alien life is not impossible. The universe is a big place. The point is that we now know it to be rare. So rare, in fact, that it might exist nowhere other than here. At least as far as we can see so far.

In fact, had a giant asteroid not killed off the dinosaurs, homo sapiens might never have evolved. If it weren’t for that chance cataclysmic encounter from space, Earth might even now be ruled by dinosaurs.

Therefore, even if a planet were in an ideal goldilocks region around it’s star, and even if on the off chance single cell organisms had developed there, we have no reason to suspect that a homo-erectus kind of being might have developed there.

We really could be the only ones out there.

Do you know if NASA has evidence of alien life?

Yes, I do know the answer to this. It’s no, NASA has no evidence of alien life to date. We only have theories and speculation, but without evidence there is no proof of alien life anywhere else in the universe other than good ol’ Earth.

That being said, most scientist believe life probably exists elsewhere in the universe, but until we actually find even a fossil of a microbe of alien life, there’s no evidence to date.

What are the chances of two planets from the same solar system having sentient species that reach space exploration around the same time?

This is a great question, but unfortunately no one will be able to give a definitive answer as to the chances.

This is simply because we do not yet know if life exists anywhere other than Earth. It is still within the realm of possibility that Earth is the only place where any kind of life, what to speak sentient life, exists.

Finding such life would be an affront to many religions that contend that God created life on Earth only, and therefore finding even a fossil of a microbe on another celestial body would be the holy grail of science and have reverberating effects throughout human society. The theory of evolution would be proven.

It is believed to be highly likely that life does exist elsewhere in the universe simply by the laws of probability, but that being said, we have found no evidence to support this theory.

So now we can come back to your original question: “What are the chances of two planets from the same solar system having sentient species that reach space exploration around the same time?” Based on the fact that life has not been discovered anywhere, the chances to sentient life forms existing in the same solar system is practically nil (but not impossible).

Are octopuses originally from another planet?

Are octopuses originally from another planet? It sure seems so, doesn’t it? They are a very weird creature!
But just because they are weird doesn’t mean they’re from another planet! In reality they are related to several other Earth critters. They are a mullusc and belong to the class cephalopoda along with squids cuttlefish and nautiloids. So although they are very weird, they are definitely not from another planet.
However, in the sense that we are all made of stardust that came from some Supernova explosion somewhere in the universe, then we are all from another planet or star!

Do you think aliens have received our communications and chose not to respond?

Do you think aliens have received our communications and chose not to respond? Well, who knows, but…. radio waves travel at the speed of light. We’ve been emitting radio waves for maybe a hundred years. A hundred light years radius around our solar system doesn’t encompass a lot of stars. So the answer to your question is “probably not.”

Does life have to have a climate like Earth? Out in space somewhere, can life not exist on a frozen planet or on a sun and just evolve to be able to live in its environment?

Life exists on Planet Earth in all kinds of places that are not where you would expect life should exist. Therefore, life could exist on other planets with similar bizarre climates.

For example:

  1. Deep under the ocean there are volcanoes erupting. The water temperature is way above boiling there and yet we have found these areas teaming with life.
  2. Life has been found in bubbling hot tar.
  3. The Deinococcus is listed as the “world’s toughest bacterium” in the Guinness Book of World Records because it withstands huge amounts of radiation that no life should be able to withstand.
  4. Pitch Lake in Trinidad is 250 deep and bubbling with hydrocarbon fumes seeping from oil reserves and is full of microscopic life.
  5. Lake Untersee in Antarctica has been iced over for 100,000 years. It is here they find Stromatolites mounds built by microorganisms.
  6. Researchers found these autochthonous organisms at the bottom of a South African gold mine.

Credit. So if life can exist in all these unexpected places on Earth (and more) then there is some possibility life can exist in different environments on other planets. The problem? We just haven’t found anything yet.

Does anyone believe in extraterrestrial life? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Pretty much all of science and scientists in the world believe in extraterrestrial life, even though no evidence of extraterrestrial life has ever been found to date. Why do scientists believe in extraterrestrial life? Simply because there are billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy and billions of galaxies in the universe. Somewhere it is highly likely that extraterrestrial life exists. It is even possible that extraterrestrial life of some form or another exists on Titan, within our own solar system!

Will an alien invasion by secular and militaristic extraterrestrials solve a lot of problems on Earth?

An alien invasion by secular and militaristic extraterrestrials would solve one of the biggest problems we have here on Earth. That problem being: does life exist on other planets? Finally we would have an answer!

How can we believe in God, but not in alien/extraterrestrial life or vice versa? This seems like a paradox to me.

I don’t see either as being dependent on the other. In other words, you can believe in God and not in extraterrestrial life. Many religious people do in fact hold that view. On the other hand, you can believe in extraterrestrial life and not believe in God. I know many people who hold that view.

So I don’t see a paradox at all. According to the Google dictionary, a paradox is “a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.” I fail to see a contradiction that two different people can hold either view. It’s all theory.

In reality, we do not know for sure that life exists anywhere other than Earth because we have never found any evidence of life, although we continue the search. We have yet to find even a fossil of a microbe from space. However, the laws of mathematical probability suggest that with billions of planets in this galaxy and billions of other galaxies, it is likely that there is at least microbial life somewhere, if not something more advanced. We just haven’t the proof yet.

Similarly, except for subjective experiences, there is no proof that God exists either, although people believe that God exists. Maybe both exist. Maybe neither exists. I suppose it’s a question of faith in either view.