Are we alone in the universe?

By Shawn Knight
Nov 20, 2015
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  1. Few things are as awe-inspiring as taking in a clear night sky. While early civilizations believed the universe consisted merely of what can be seen with the naked eye, some of today’s astronomers estimate there may be at least 100 octillion stars out there (that's “1” with 29 zeros after it).

    Star count aside, the real question that virtually everyone has pondered at some point in their life is whether or not we’re alone in the universe.

    With this week’s open forum, we’re curious to hear what you think on the subject. Do you believe we’re the only intelligent life in the vast universe? Will we one day make contact with alien life forms? Chime in with your opinion in the comments section below!

    Image courtesy A.G. Evans Photography

    Permalink to story.

  2. Xyvis

    Xyvis TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Been a while since I've commented/posted but this one really caught my interest.

    So let's look at it from a Scientific perspective, and ignore in this instance religious influence.

    We live in the Milky Way Galaxy, to our knowledge Earth in our solar system is the only planet that has had life, although we are starting to find evidence that in the past Mars may have had life, at least microbial life.

    That said, a few years ago NASA made a statement saying that each red dwarf star, which is the most common type of star found by the way, is believed to have at least 1 planet orbiting around it at a distance which could potentially support life as we know it.

    The Milky Way Galaxy has billions of stars in it, including red dwarfs it's estimated that more than 60 billion planets in our galaxy could potentially support life. Then we add to that idea, that there are billions of other galaxies other than our Milky Way, and it starts to seem that it's very unlikely that we are the only forms of intelligent life.

    Will we ever see or meet these other beings? I don't know, things in space are a large distance from each other, and getting into the physics, you cannot go faster, or even match, the speed of light. Touching on theoretical physics a bit, strange things tend to happen when one approaches such a speed; time and space start to warp, and we've been able to witness a bit of that with femtophotagraphy.
    Steve and trgz like this.
  3. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,154   +197

    I could not even attempt to answer this question honestly because I have no idea at all

    The older I get the less I realize I know.
  4. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 119   +17

    We're all just AI in a Matrix-like computer simulation.
    JamesPH and Steve like this.
  5. nananana_Batman

    nananana_Batman TS Rookie

    Life is so persistent it is hard to believe we are alone.
    Steve, TheDreams, trgz and 2 others like this.
  6. Misagt

    Misagt TS Booster Posts: 94   +40

    No, I don't think we are alone. Simply ignored due to stupidity.
    learninmypc, fimbles, SirGCal and 3 others like this.
  7. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 615   +143

    We dust in the corner
  8. jameshorrocks

    jameshorrocks TS Rookie

    Statistically speaking there simply must be at least 1 other intelligent civilisation within 100 octillion other solar systems.
    I think the more important question is how we should treat any other civilisation we come across.

    Ideally we should all live in a world of absolute peace; while this is an idealistic point of view, it is one that we should all aspire to. Maybe I've watched too many sci-fi TV series (Star Trek, Babylon 5 etc.) to have a valid point of view, but the world I see in the next few hundred years is one where we are all at peace and are willing to extend that peace to any other civilisation we encounter.

    "I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
    SantistaUSA and Steve like this.
  9. mccartercar

    mccartercar TS Booster Posts: 130   +24

    Science meet Religion, Jesus was an extraterrestrial. :p
    Seriously though, that's a question that can have multitudes of different answers without ever knowing if any of them are right. I believe the best way to go about answering it is to have an open mind and know that even though we have math and science we still can't accurately estimate how many civilizations could exist in our timeline. I'm sure the ant in the front yard is never aware of the spider in the backyard. We could just ask Scott Waring to explain it to us, but he'd probably deny they exist outside of our solar system. Just keep looking up.
    SantistaUSA and Steve like this.
  10. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,106   +1,376

    If it is ultimately impossible to travel faster than light, then none of it matters, because we are stuck in this neighborhood, the same as any other civilization out there.
    MilwaukeeMike and Steve like this.
  11. andrewyoung

    andrewyoung TS Enthusiast Posts: 41   +9

    Nope......our own superiority complex keeps us from realizing it.
    trgz and wiyosaya like this.
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Maniac Posts: 931   +238

    I tend to think along the same lines as Xyvis. In my opinion, it is highly improbable that we are alone in the universe.
    Steve likes this.
  13. WangDangDoodle

    WangDangDoodle TS Addict Posts: 199   +70

    I have no doubt that there are other intelligent life out there. However, I don't think humanity will ever meet any of them. What it comes down to, in the end, is that nothing lasts forever. Nothing running on electricity will last forever, because even the conductive materials said electricity runs through will eventually degrade to the point of failure. Anything that requires moving parts, like say a hard drive, will also require lubricant of some sort. That lubricant, whether it's grease or synthetic oil will eventually dry up. At that point you get friction, causing heat, fire... explosion in space? Considering the distance from Earth to what might be an inhabitable planet, all the random hazards in space and the time it would take us to get there... it's all starting to look rather grim. This could also explain why we haven't been conquered by aliens yet. They might not be able to travel that far either, no matter how advanced they may be. Or, space is simply too big, and it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Then again, maybe they just don't care. Either options works for me. We have enough **** to deal with on this planet.
    Steve likes this.
  14. nickstricks007

    nickstricks007 TS Enthusiast Posts: 29   +11

    Looking at it from a scientific perspective, it almost seems arrogant to think that we are the only civilization in the universe. Scientifically speaking, there are an estimated 1 octillion stars in the universe. Let's just say only 1% of those stars have planets in the "Goldilocks" region. That's 1 septillion planets. Now, let's also say only 1% of those planets have the necessary conditions to sustain life. That's 100 quintillion chances that some form of life has developed elsewhere in the universe. Again, let's assume only 1% of THOSE planets had life that has evolved to roughly the same point as us. That's 1 quintillion life sustaining planets with about the same evolutionary progression as us. Even if those numbers are half of a percent or quarter of a percent, that's still a heck of a lot of possibilities. Throwing religion into the equation wouldn't really affect the outcome in my opinion. Most organized religions don't really believe that life started the way the bible explains it. I tend to perceive it as God (or Gods depending on your beliefs) created the universe and all aspects of it including but not limited to gravity, all forms of matter and yes, even the evolution of life. So, if God(s) really did set these events in motion, knowing full well what the outcome would be, then how could they not know or allow life to happen anywhere else in the universe?
    Steve likes this.
  15. Snowden

    Snowden TS Member Posts: 68   +31

    I am very interested in Macroscopics. If you pan out, what where would we be? Another creature's form of bacteria? A bubble inside another bubble? Or just a picture on the wall of a giant alien museum?

    Mankind really seem to be a sort of aberration, we are really so unspeakably cruel despite being somewhat self-aware. Greedy, selfish and now, thanks to Social Media, mostly narcissistic.

    In lighter news, 9 out of 10 people Americans think that Kim Kardashian is the center of the universe. If that's true, then Kanye must be it's bumhole.
    Steve and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  16. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,936

    Who can say? If we are the only intelligent (and that's subjective) life form then it's a helluva lot of wasted space.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
    Steve and trgz like this.
  17. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,936

    You watch too many documentaries on TV, although that can be good too.
    Steve likes this.
  18. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,936

    We can use a worm hole.
    Steve and trgz like this.
  19. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Prove we are not alone and then revisit the question. Until then stop asking about the unknown!
    Steve likes this.
  20. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,106   +1,376

    Existence of wormholes is hypothetical, they very well may not exist.
  21. emmzo

    emmzo TS Booster Posts: 111   +14

    It`s a paradox, really. Because of the vastness of the universe, by the time a civilization gets to reach that level of sophistication to contact us, the differences will be so big in terms of technology that they`ll just ignore us.
  22. I know a lot of people want to say "Yes" but considering that in our galaxy that the Earth is about the size of a pin head, I can't believe that we are alone.
    Steve likes this.
  23. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Addict Posts: 289   +55

    Maybe intelligent life is rare say one species per thousand light years, if FTL is not possible (we can just slog to other planets the hard way) we will never see or probably hear another species.
  24. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 804   +270

    I am surprised no one religious showed up yet, not that I have anything against it, it's just weird.
  25. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Ahh yes the arrogant statement that we are the only pet project, where as there is space for so many other potential projects. Arguing the merits of the unknown, is just as pointless regardless of standpoint.

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