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Bulletin : Published
Monday, November 03, 2003
Subject: Regarding dark angel's query about ALIENS
The following article comes form a post of mine at space.com regarding Aliens (Extra-terrestrials). Its probably a good idea to consider our location in the known universe when tackling such questions.
Few weeks back I got the DVD version of the movie “Contact”. Aside from being a great fan of Jodie Foster (she was just way cool in “Silence of the Lambs” but that’s another story!), I thought it reflects on our quest for E.T. in a wonderful artistic manner. The concept of finding life outside of earth however, often gets muddled into fringe ideas like Alien abduction, Crop circles and UFOs. I had a recent discussion in a space-related portal about this and thought I share some of those ideas with the alochoks. Also one of the previous magazine articles have focused on search for life in Mars. The 2 NASA spacecraft and ESA’s “Beagle” are heading to the red planet to find water (essential for life). The question of E.T. thus becomes a timely topic to discuss.
So, let’s consider the following questions.
1. Does extra-terrestrial lifeform exists in our universe?
2. Does extra-terrestrial lifeform exists within our galaxy?
3. Does extra-terrestrial lifeform exists within a few light-years of earth?
4. Does E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) exist in our galaxy?
5. Is it possible to communicate with E.T.I.?
6. Has E.T.I. already communicated with humans?
7. Is it possible for E.T.I. to visit our solar system?
8. Has E.T.I. visited our solar system?
Of course there is no conclusive evidence for any of the above 8 questions. But from scientific evidence gathered so far, in present day and in historic context, some observations can be made.
The solar system is a tiny presence in our vast galaxy. Yet, we already have two bodies in addition to Earth, which has some possibility of harboring life - in past or present (Mars and Europa). So it is only rational to assume the Universe possibly has millions, or even billions of planets/moons with condition to harbor life. Some may have extreme conditions such as Europa, and some maybe of ideal conditions such as Earth. This observation is based on the fact that we have 3 out of about 50 large planets and moons in our solar system that has some condition to support life. This frequency is important. This is because until recently we were not able to detect planets outside the solar system visually. But for hundreds of years it has been accepted that many star systems will have planets and moons. Only now we are starting to see growing physical evidence of that, but it goes to show how inference generally matches with physical observation. I admit this is not a perfect analogy because position of planets and other bodies can be derived with great accuracy using physical theories and calculations. We don’t have such luck with quest for E.T. But trends have always been taken in account for most scientific hypothesis and this should be no exception.
In future when we are able to inspect such planets and moons more closely, if we find that out of the next 500 planets none are even remotely hospitable to life, this frequency hypothesis may change. But based on current evidence it seems quite likely that the Universe has billions of planets hospitable for life. In our system 1 out of 3 prospects has current lifeform. Without getting into a statistical guess, it is then safe to say that maybe even millions of planets in universe harbor life. I do not know of any current trend in science that actively disputes this. There is just not any evidence, but if one has to make an educated guess, the chance of E.T. in our galaxy is a much more likely possibility than not having any. So that takes care of #1 and #2. Assuming #4 to be true also would not be a big stretch. Based on life, as we know it, evolution will happen. And over time intelligent being may develop.
Assumption for questions #3 and #5 are actually very crucial for the remaining questions. This is because these two are verifiable with our current technologies. We have the SETI-at-home project going on, the radio telescopes are there, so there are on going efforts to verify this. Even though the universe has potential for millions of intelligent lifeforms, they can possibly be spread over space-time of a several million light years and couple of billion years. In such case, it is extremely unlikely that we can communicate with an intelligent civilization in just 20-30 years of effort.
It is VERY important that we establish communication. Because it seems much more plausible that we be able to communicate a lot easier over great distance (lightyears) without having to invent technologies to reach such places physically. For example, the planet pathways and features of the large planets like Jupiter’s were evidenced about 500 years ago and we only sent satellites there in the past 2/3 decades. A physical presence from humans in planets such as Jupiter or Saturn is probably 30-40 years away at least. Based on this trend, it wouldn't be illogical to say that we will most likely establish communication with E.T.I. long time before we actually have a chance to encounter them visually or physically.
Based on this hypothesis, the remaining questions should have negative answers. Again, there is not definitive conclusion yet, and the supporters of Alien presence theory only have to present evidence to prove the skeptics wrong.
Also I feel reluctant to bring in UFOs into this argument. Just because 95% of them are hoax does not make all of them hoax. But also, just because they can’t be explained, does not mean they are from outer space or even controlled by an alien civilization.
It is entirely possible that an alien civilization has in past, attempted communication with earth. It is also possible (but less likely) that another more advanced civilization has visited the planet. It is very unlikely that this happened in the last 1 million year considering the billion-year history of life in this planet.
Regarding the government conspiracy theories and cover-ups about aliens that seem so popular these days, I am sure there is some truth to that. One only has to look at the government explanation on many UFO incidents to discover why there is so much controversy. Faulty logic and sometimes far-fetched conclusions have hardly gained any supporters for the official agencies among UFO enthusiasts. But to me it seems more like lack of interest and in some cases secrecy related to national security (i.e. top-secret aircraft experiments) that has prompted bizarre behaviors on the government's part. At least one thing I can say for certain, thousands of scientists across the globe would be more than happy if Alien existence is proven. It would open a whole new door to research and govt. funding will be much easier to come by (be that for educational or defense related initiatives).
Overall, I think the present evidence points to life existing (or have existed) in a large number of planets and moons in our galaxy and others. But there is no evidence of any intelligent being trying to contact us, let alone visit us on Earth. So for the time being, we just have to entertain ourselves with fine science fiction works like “Contact” and “Signs”. And that’s just fine with me!
(Monday, November 03, 2003)
phew! well written
(Monday, November 03, 2003)
THANKS CLUSTER FOR ALL THE INFORMATIONS...
(Tuesday, November 04, 2003)
ami ans peye gesi.......cluster....