Every night I look up at the sky, stare at the stars and wonder what’s out there. I spend a lot of time reading space related material. I know all about the different stars and closely follow all the discoveries of new exoplanets. I’ve read pretty much everything there is to read about the planets in our Solar System and keep a close eye on all the current exploration projects in our planetary system. I love everything about space, I even have a space pillow!
Photo Credit: Mike Lewinski (CC license)
But there’s one thing that I really want to know! Is there life out there?
I’m ninety nine per cent sure that there is, but I still want to know for certain. Some evidence would be good, even if it’s just evidence of extinct life. There is said to be some 2 billion earth-like planets in our galaxy alone, not to mention the other 100 billion galaxies in the universe.
We are able to deduce these numbers by using the Drake equation and other such probability estimations. Scientists are always refining their calculations based on different variables they can enter into these equations, which has been helped recently by all the exoplanet discoveries.
The one part that really bugs me is the Fermi Paradox which basically asks the question “Where is everyone?”
If there are that many possible planets with life, many of them billions of years older than our solar system, then there could be loads of intelligent life out there far more advanced than us. In fact the Paradox also points out that if a civilisation had developed faster than light travel then it could theoretically colonise the entire galaxy in a few tens of millions of years.
Yes, this means our entire galaxy could have been colonised a couple of times just since the dinosaurs died out.
But it hasn’t. At least not to our knowledge, mainly because earth has been left untouched.
Unless all evidence has been erased since then! But its not likely we would have found some evidence.
So where are they? Where are all the aliens?
Do alien’s greet or battle each other in all that space between the stars or is it as empty as it all appears to be? IF a peaceful alien race were to visit and teach us, then that would be awesome, but what if a hostile alien race invaded aggressively?
Could the MilkyWay be full of life? Perhaps intelligent and even advanced civilisations that are restricted to their own local corner by the physics of our Universe? Maybe fast Interstellar travel isn’t possible. Maybe we are destined to simply explore our own solar system and perhaps some of the nearest stars at best.
I think our best bet to find alien life is within our own solar system. Subsurface microbes on Mars are one possibility and another is the Methane lakes of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. There is also a good chance that their may be life in subsurface oceans on a few icy moons. Two of the best candidates are Europa and Enceladus orbiting Jupiter and Saturn respectively.
What do you think? Will we discover some form of alien life or will alien life finds us?