Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Do aliens exist?

This simple question is not so easy to answer and has a lot of implications to how we should act as a species. To answer this question I'ma split up into three parts. Does life exist at all outside of the planet? If so do intelligent life forms exist possibly with their own civilizations? And if that is so as well does have aliens visited our planet?

Question one: Does life exist at all outside of the planet?
Well given the fact that I even propose the other two questions you can assume that my assumption is yes. Why I think that is due to the laws of probability. Let's do some math now similar to what was done in Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" called the drake equation. Lets try to see how many stars in our very own galaxy could harbor life. So given the estimation that their are 100 billion stars in our galaxy we will apply some factors (mostly estimated) to this number and the result will give us a rough estimation of how abundant life is in the galaxy. So starting with a number of 100 billion we guess the percentage of stars that have planets and multiply these numbers together. So about a quarter of stars have their own planets so 100 billion times 0.25 gives us 25 billion stars that have planets. So now we times that by the average number of planets per solar system, five. So 25 billion times 5 gives us 125 billion planets in the galaxy. So lets times that number by the percentage of hospitable planets. Using our solar system as a guide lets say one out of eight planets has the potential of life. So 125 billion time 1/8 (or 125 billion divided by eight) gives us 15.625 billion planets that can harbor life potentially. So even given a very small percentage of the chance of life arising although it might be very big,  since life came very quickly on earth even when is was still cooling down from being a giant ball of lava, the chances of life existing outside of our solar system is too huge to ignore. Theres even a chance that life could be on planets or moons in our solar system. With evidence of water and a much thicker atmosphere on mars life, at least on a microbial scale, could have existed. And on the moon of Jupiter, Europa, life could exist miles beneath it's ice surface. As it orbits Jupiter the gravitational pull of the gas giant pulls on the solid core, akin to how the moon pulls on the oceans to make tides, making enough friction to raise the temperature  for liquid water to exist and with the miles of ice to protect the environment there from solar radiation life could easily occur there.

Question two: Does intelligent life or extrasolar civilizations exist?
My answer to this is a definite maybe. This comes from the logical stand point and further extension of the Drake equation and that would be totally awesome! So lets say that life occurs on 50% of all the planets that could harbor life half of 15.625 billion would be 7.8125 billion (lets round to 8 billion since these are all estimations anyway) planets that have life. Now we fraction in how many of these planets have intelligent life to get to at least mammalian levels of intelligence. Lets be a bit harsh and say only 1% of these planets have life that evolve to this point and 99% of the other planets have life that stays at the microbial scale. So that would give us 80 million planets with divers and complicated life forms. Now which of these have species that reach around human intelligence or greater and manage to build advanced civilizations. I think planets that have such high life forms it would be pretty likely that one species would walk down the evolutionary path of advanced cognitive development and realize that there is allot more you can do with intelligence than make spears and slings but lets say 50% of planets that have complicated life forms gets a species capable of forming a civilization. So using these estimations we get that 40 million planets in the galaxy alone (not to mention there are an unknown amount of galaxies in the universe) that have had civilizations grace them at one point of the galaxies history. The last and more somber part of the Drake equation is the faction of civilizations that manage to not kill themselves. Within a few thousand years of human civilization (~0.00001% of the age of the universe) humanity has lately become a hairs width of complete annihilation on multiple equations, with the possibility still ahead in the future. Since we are the only civilization we know of we have know way of knowing how often a civilization can get past the point of being able to destroy it's entire home planet to the point of establishing multiple colonies on multiple planets and stars (which would be the point of permanence where the civilization could quit possibly live on until the end of creation. But even with quite low numbers 40 million civilizations in total is a large number some I would place my bets that there are several inter solar civilizations as I type this blog of mine.

Question three: Have alien civilizations ever been to Earth?
This I think would be the most important question out of the three because it could be integral to how we are as a species and as a civilization now. My assumption right now is no, I don't think aliens have ever in the history of out planet visited it. Even with all the sightings and testimonies of sane people about UFOs and alien encounters I'm not convinced that aliens would ever just come and look for a few seconds than disappear. I try to think of this situation from a human perspective (just as any self centered human that's never met an alien civilization would). If thousands of years from now we could had the ability to quickly and cheaply travel between the stars and the stretches of the milky way and we noticed a planet of reasonable size, in the Goldilocks zone of temperature where liquid water could be achieved, had a metallic core that could form a magnetic shield to protect life and was made up of just the right elements for life to occur we would definitely check it out for our quest for extraterrestrial life. But if we found a civilization just past the industrial age (given that all civilizations roughly follow the same pattern ours did) we wouldn't just hover for a bit never actually making contact, or just experimenting on random civilians that no one would believe. We would be like "Yo dawg! whats up? We Humans and we think we tight as shit and wanna rap with ya'll mutha aliens" (this is the future where all the upper class people talk like this and you wouldn't even want to know how future gangsters talk like). We'd be too curious to stand idly by and curiosity would be the pillar of any space faring civilization as well if they want to know the secrets of the universe to bend it to their will.

If aliens did make contact I would guess four outcomes would happen.
1. The most likely is that they would be friendly and curious just like I imagine we would act. They would come down and make there presence known trying to learn our history and teach us what they know and try to ascend us to their level of technology and hopefully we would begin a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with them and any other civilizations that they know about. Much like the situation in Mass Effect and end up in a diverse galaxy like in Star Trek or Star Wars (I might be a little to optimistic about this situation than I should but I think the nerd in me wants this possibility to become true too much).

2. The next most likely scenario (or maybe the most likely according to some) is a situation more like the European exploits of the Americas. Where the space faring civilization simply doesn't care about us at all and only kills us if we get in there way. They would come to earth seeking resources or land for a new colony and most likely hurting us due to their damage to our environment, and could and would easily destroy any military power if we would try to stand up (imagine an apache helicopter fighting off a tribe off Apache Native Americans but even more one sided). Also if life is even more common than we think they might not care about losing our biodiversity since we would only be one of thousands or billions of known planets with life.  Due to the fact that the closest example we can get to alien civilizations colliding is the western exploration of the Native American populace things might not look to good for us given that situation.

3. The not so likely but would explain the UFO situation is that life could be quite rare in the galaxy and an alien civilization might see us as promising and wants to leave us alone for us to develop us on our own. Or we could be seen as some sort of zoo that would help contain galactic biodiversity and they only come to study us and to gawk at our silly exploits as scientists and tourists. This could be the case but I just couldn't Imagine that as being a more likely case than the previous two.

4. The least likely but weirdest situation is the "Ancient Astronaut" theory. This is the theory that at some point during our evolution an alien civilization came down to help us along the way. Either turning us from apes to humans or just giving us the basic knowledge of civilization. A possible example is the movie "2001 Space Odyssey" (possible as in the entire movie is up for interpretation) where the tribe of apes that got kicked out of a watering hole by a rival tribe encountered an alien obelisk that seem to either enhance their intelligence or  impart the knowledge of tools and let the tribe take back the watering hole by using animal bones as weapons and from there on out continue the making of tools improving their quality of life up till today. Many people who believe in this theory say there is evidence in the art of ancient civilizations. In an Egyptian tomb is a rendering of what could possibly be a light bulb and in Mayan drawings there is what could be interpreted as an astronaut on a rocket ship that is about to take off, both of these civilizations where very advanced for there day and possibly explains how they built such huge stone structures with apparently only human of animal power and how many civilizations have many uncanny similarities in patterns or architecture. Even cave paintings of aboriginals in Australia have figures that look like astronauts with an aura around there head that look like space helmets. This is also the explanation for what they ancients got there ideas from gods from that they were accentually the aliens that descended from the sky and gave humanity the gift of fire, language, the written word, and many other integral parts of any civilization (much like the story of Assassin's Creed, that silly game).

All of these possibilities are, well, possible and I definitely can't say which is right or wrong, I'm just saying which I think are most likely. The main reason why I think aliens have never come to Earth and why I don't think they even know about Earth is, once again, the matter of probabilities. As I said there are about 100 billion stars in this galaxy and it's around 100,000 light years in diameter. Our sun is completely average and unexceptional and the earth is nearly impossible to detect from more than a light year away so there is no reason why an advanced space faring civilization would spend any particular attention to this sector of the galaxy and even though we have been constantly sending signals out past the solar system for the past century now our signals would only fill the smallest fraction of the universe and most likely not have reached the ears of any civilization able to detect such signals so they would have no idea that there is a prospering civilization well on it's way to leaving it's home planet ready to explore.

If, thousands of years from now, we explore our galaxy and find that there is no other hint of life, then we must appreciate the honor and luck we have to exist as a life form, as a species, and as an advanced civilization. We must make sure that we accept the honor and duty of being the sole protector of life and make sure that it prospers through out the galaxy as our son will inevitably blow up and destroy the Earth. However, I'm not a betting man but I would safely put my life savings on the fact that there is at least one advanced civilization out there wondering there same perplexing thought we do. 


  1. Man, if you gunna troll get the meme rizzle (I auctually didn't know about it until I googled it), but if you actually found this intredasting then thanks for you're welcomed opinion.

    (Now I think to myself "Do I regret letting anon comment on my blog? Hmmmmmmmm.....")

  2. This post really makes you think. Keep posting stuff like this!