FromQuarkstoQuasars

Are we alone?

FuturismMarch 8th 2013

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Personally, I think that there just has to be life somewhere.

 

We live in a galaxy that contains billions of stars, and we live in a Universe that contains billions of galaxies. There has to be life, for example – If you get a full glass of sea water from the sea, and there are no fish in it, would you assume there are no fish in the rest of the sea? It’s a bit like space: 50 years of space exploration is the glass of sea water. There’s still a whole sea of space yet to be discovered.

 

Is there life out there? I think the possibility of discovering life is very small, but by the same token, the possibility that there is life out there somewhere is imminent.

 

Human beings have always asked themselves whether the Earth is the only place in the Universe where life has been developed. If the observations of giant molecular clouds result in the discovery of organic molecules,then any newly forming solar systems would be seeded with the chemicals necessary for life to develop and evolve. How life began on Earth is still unknown, but many think it was on the ocean floor, around hot water vents. Other believe that life first took root on Mars when it was a much warmer, wet place, before being transferred to Earth through space rocks. Regardless, once we know for sure, we may be able to estimate how many other worlds could support life.

 

For life similar to our own to develop, the planet would have to resemble Earth, in physical properties such as temperature, atmosphere, and sunlight. This would only happen on a planet in orbit around a star similar to the sun. Our sun is a G type star, but a cooler K type star might also work, if the planet were a little closer to it. The same goes for hotter stars, such as A or F type stars, they might also provide habitable zones if the Earth-like planet were to orbit a little farther away. Both hypes have a completely different set of obstacles to overcome in producing a habitable planet. With red-dwarf stars, who are smaller, cooler and more dim, than the sun, a planet would have to be orbiting their parent star very closely to provide any sustenance for life. The blue-white stars are much too hot and die within a small fraction of the lifespan of sun-like stars, making it difficult for any life to take root.

 

However, detecting any such life-bearing planets from Earth is very difficult. Our planet leaks radio broadcasts into space every day: perhaps other planets might do the same. Astronomers around the world are actively listening to these signals in a section of the microwave spectrum known as the ‘waterhole’

 

If you own a computer or laptop, you can download a screen widget called SETI@home that will search data for signals when the computer is not being used… however, nothing has been discovered through this method yet.

 

Astronomers have made some deliberate broadcasts, as well as some radio missions. The first was aimed at a globular cluster, M13, and was sent in 19074 by astronomers using a 305 metre radio dish at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. However, even if the message is traveling at the speed of light, it will take 24,000 years to reach M13. If the message is received, and a reply sent, it would take some 24,000 years to reach us (the time-frame alters, as the universe is constantly expanding and moving). Many astronomers and engineers believe that, in those intervening 48,000 years, technology will have advanced enough that it will enable us to travel to the star and deliver the message personally.

 

So what do you think? Do you think there is extra-terrestrial life? If we ever come across ET life, do you think we should contact them? Personally, I am for & against this. They could expand our knowledge of the universe if they’re more developed than us, but also, they could wipe out what has taken 4.5 billion years of development. On the other hand, they could be less developed, such as microbes, and we could watch them evolve! Imagine that! The possibilities are infinite.

 

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This article was written by: Awel

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