'Helloooooooooo -- is anybody out there?'
The possible existence of occupants on other planets is an issue fraught with debate. Primarily, there are those that believe, and those that think it’s all bullshit. I have always been of the school that holds “of course there are.” They are there, I have deduced via mathematical logic, but just not in the immediate neighborhood.
My mathematical logic holds that since it is believed there is an infinite number of galaxies and an infinite number of solar systems, and we live on a planet that is occupied by folks, ergo there must be an infinite number of planets upon which creatures of some sort have set up housekeeping.
For a long time I was one of the decriers about extraterrestrials, and that was despite the fact I had actually seen a UFO. I thought the Roswell fanatics were utter flakes. Come to think of it, I still do. Further, I don’t believe for a second that anybody has had a close encounter of the third, let alone first and second kind. And those who claim to have had sex with aliens I believe are people who don’t get to have sex with anybody human.
But, back to the possibility of aliens. Recently released have been the possibilities offered by the new LOFAR space telescope. In other words, rather than just relying on the mental meanderings of wackos and ET junkies, we have some serious professional geek input on the matter. To wit:
ASTRON is researching the potential role of the LOFAR telescope in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). This initiative has been taken by Professor Michael Garrett, General Director of ASTRON and professor of radio techniques in astronomy at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Researchers from all over the world will contribute to this effort to find ways in which LOFAR can be used in the search for extraterrestrial life.
There are about 100 thousand million stars in the galaxy and most of these are expected to harbour planetary systems; some of these planets might actually be suitable for life. Many scientists believe that life is probably wide-spread across the galaxy, although technically advanced civilisations might be relatively rare or at least widely separated from each other.
So, what else do we need? I believe that the foregoing thoughts will suggest that there is life on approximately 37,964 planets, and we’d better get ready for some visitations.
Science guys, being science guys, look at all aspects of the scenario, which is called either ‘scientific method’ or ‘raining on your romantic parade’. What they point out is that these solar systems are so damn far away that we will never physically connect with us, or we with them. Or, they could be civilizations that have come and gone well in to the past. Or, they could be totally primitive and lacking in the means of communication. Or, they might be so advanced that they would find us unspeakable primitives with poor social graces and would want nothing to do with us. OK, I made the last option up, but the others are legitimate considerations by the science boys and girls.
There is also the fact that even should life exist, it may be in a form that we cannot relate to. You know, the Planet Gzrk17b may be just primeval forms of life. Not the sort of inhabitants familiar to us other than in the odd bar at closing time, or in the political mutterings of Rush Limbaugh.
So, in concluding I will ask: Do you believe other planets in other solar systems are inhabited? Do you think we will be in contact with them in your lifetime? If they don’t actually come to call, do you think they might at least write?
Labels: Maybe we're not alone at all