Are People alone in the Universe

What an arrogant thought; us being alone in the Universe. When one considers the creation, rise and evolution of life on our planet, a few things should spring to mind. First might be what a wild, unlikely chain of events had to occur over the course of Earth’s history in order for us to be here now even contemplating such an idea. A second thought is then often being confident that such a random string of occurrences could only happen once, and here we are, on that one and only planet with life on it. Knowing a little more about the Universe, or even just our galaxy, and thinking more astronomically, one can do some simple math and realize that if these unlikely chain of events happened around even a tiny fraction of stars in space then the galaxy and Universe must be just buzzing with life of some kind. Currently astronomers are thinking that when stars form out of clouds of gas and dust in space, called nebulae (leftover from previous star explosions called supernovae) that the gas and dust not used up to make the star continue orbiting the newly formed star and become planets, asteroids, comets and other “junk” in the solar system. That’s right, when you look up at the stars tonight and your unaided eye can see around 6000 stars, you are also looking at nearly that many other solar systems, outside of our own, complete with their own Sun, planets, comets, asteroids and if the conditions are just right, like here in our solar system, maybe life. Now consider our galaxy has over 100 billion stars in it for possible locations of life. Also realize our galaxy is 10 billion years old while our Earth is only 4.6 billion years old but we have only been in our present form for a few million and only had technology to detect life out there, and send signals out, for a few hundred. That leaves more than plenty of time for civilizations to rise and fall long before we would ever have known about it. Consider now that galaxies, like ours, are not unique. There may be 200 billion galaxies in the observable Universe, each with hundreds of millions, probably hundreds of billions of stars, each of those probably producing planets of their own. Once one realizes the ridiculous immensity of the Universe and the unfathomable number of stars in it, it seems somewhat crazy to think we could be alone. Although, speaking scientifically, we really have, as of yet, no evidence to make us think we are not alone. Mars is a good candidate for having at least bacterial life in the past. Jupiter’s moon Io is another hopeful location for life, as well as a few other outer plane satellites. If any of these turn up positive it would mean that life “sprung up” at two locations in our own solar system, independent of each other. This would greatly raise hopes for there being a great multitude of life in the Universe.