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Calling All Intelligent Life Forms: Are You Out There?

Updated on January 24, 2010
Public Domain image.
Public Domain image.

“The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.” – Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes creator)

This quote makes me laugh out loud. We are so intent on finding other intelligent life that we never stop to think that maybe they have already found us and do not consider us intelligent enough to communicate with! Wouldn’t that be a major blow to our egos?

Credit:NASA, ESA and and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)   A Zoo of Galaxies
Credit:NASA, ESA and and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) A Zoo of Galaxies

Is There Intelligent Life Out There?

This is a question I’m sure everyone has thought about at one time or another. I know I have. It just seems so arrogant to assume we are the only planet in the whole universe which sustains intelligent life. Many people assume that any other life out there would need a planet similar to ours with the right temperatures, mix of elements in the atmosphere, etc. I think that is a wrong assumption, but let’s just use that for now to make an estimate of how many possible Earth-like planets may be out there.

Based on observations, The Hubble Space Telescope estimates there are at least 125 billion galaxies in the universe. There are many estimates about how many habitable planets there may be in those galaxies. Some estimates say there are 100 million to a billion in our galaxy alone, and 10 thousand billion billion in the universe. Others have more conservative estimates. But even the conservative estimates are so huge, in my opinion there has to be habitable planets with similar conditions to Earth.

Credit:NASA - Delta with Kepler Telescope ready to launch.
Credit:NASA - Delta with Kepler Telescope ready to launch.

NASA Kepler Mission

NASA’s Kepler Mission launched a 1-meter telescope in March of 2009 which, among other things, was designed to count the number of Earth-sized and larger planets in the habitable zone around stars like our sun. The results will be coming in the next 3-4 years. There are a few dozen solar-like stars within 30 light years (a light year is the distance that a particle of light (a photon) will travel in a year — about 10 trillion kilometers or 6 trillion miles) so there is a good chance it will find Earth-like planets in the 10-30 light years range from our sun. We may need these planets in the range we can travel to in the future if our planet’s resources become depleted.

Credit: Image taken from Apollo 17.
Credit: Image taken from Apollo 17.


There may be many habitable planets without any life forms but what if we find habitable planets with intelligent life? The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) organization has a website asking if we should reply to any communication we might receive and what we should say. It is called Earth Speaks and invites people from around the world to submit pictures, sounds, and text messages they would want to send to other worlds.

To submit your messages, follow these steps:

1-Create an account by going to the Login Page.

2-After you receive an email that your account has been created, authenticate your account by confirming your email address is correct.

3-Go to the Submit a Message page to upload your text message, picture, or sound file.

I think this is a great idea to get everyone involved, but long-term observations of any worlds we might find should be done first. Maybe we wouldn’t want to establish a line of communication until we figure out if they are friendly or hostile. Maybe I have watched too many science fiction movies and shows!




Advancing Space Technology

Seriously, our space technology keeps advancing and we are able to see further and further into the universe. There is no doubt in my mind there will eventually be discoveries of other worlds with intelligent life capable of communicating with us. They may not be carbon copies of humans as the above assumption makes, but some type of intelligent life will be found.  I hope it happens in my lifetime.


What Do You Think?

Is there other intelligent life out there or are we all alone in this gigantic universe?

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    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, rafken. I shall have to check out some of your hubs.

    • rafken profile image

      rafken 7 years ago from The worlds my oyster

      I like your thinking. I discuss these issues in some of my hubs.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      No, I have not read the Divine Comedy, but it sounds interesting. No one will know what happens after our time on this planet....until it happens to them. I hope there is something more. Thanks for your comments.

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 7 years ago

      I like the quote at the beginning, too. I do not really believe in other ''intelligent'' beings, if that's what we are...maybe other dimensions...and, the universe is there for us to fully get to know when we die, at least I hope so :-) Have you ever read the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri? His conception of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven based on planets is unique and a very interesting one!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Jon. I wonder if we do find someone out there, will it ruin the mystique of outer space or enhance it because we may finally get some answers to our questions. Interesting ideas to ponder, anyway!

    • Jon E. Royeca profile image

      Jon E. Royeca 7 years ago from Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

      Rose, your article proves that you're just one of those sincerely longing to understand the meaning of life. And looking up at the skies may help us solve this age-old enigma. I hope the answers will come in our lifetime.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 8 years ago

      Thanks Richard! I've always been fascinated by outer space and what may be out there. Thanks for sharing your interesting story. Sounds like he definitely knew something he wasn't willing or able to admit.

    • livewithrichard profile image

      Richard Bivins 8 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Interesting hub here Rose. I don't think we're alone in this universe and I imagine your first assumption could be true, we're just too dumb for them to want to communicate with us.

      I had an interesting encounter (not of the 3rd kind) with an older gentleman that worked for NASA out at GoldStone, an outerspace observatory in the Mojave Desert, back when I was in the Army in the late 80's. Goldstone was a secure installation, but not secret, that is attached to Ft. Irwin, where I was stationed. My vehicle had broke down in the middle of the desert and my partner and I had no radio. We managed to hike to the main road that left Goldstone and this old guy pulled over to give us a lift back to base. We got to talking about what he did out there and he told us vaguely that he was searching our galaxy. We jokingly asked if he witnessed any aliens which was met with a quick response about the lack of our security clearance. We left it alone and to this day I beleive it was his way of saying "yes." great hub.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 8 years ago

      Thanks for the comments James. You are right about everyone always assuming that any intelligent life would be more advanced than our civilization. I guess it's because we don't have the technology yet and we all have active imaginations! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      I do not believe there is life anywhere but here, on this physical plane of existence. Of course, there is God and His Angels. I find it interesting that we always imagine ETs as more advanced than us. Rarely do I hear anybody suggest ETs that are dummies. I wonder why that is? Anyway, you have created an interesting article. Thanks.