Calling All Intelligent Life Forms: Are You Out There?
“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?
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.
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.
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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