Jump to content
Thunder?
Local
Radar
Pollen
IGNORED

Technological life elsewhere in the Galaxy/Universe


Luke McDonnell
 Share

Recommended Posts

Posted
  • Location: Liverpool
  • Weather Preferences: Warm and humid with some thunderstorms plus some snow too.
  • Location: Liverpool

    Hi,

     

    I am curious about the possibility of advanced technological life elsewhere in our Galaxy/Universe.  I would like to think we are not alone as far as technological intelligence is concerned but there are different schools of thought ranging from the fact that technological intelligences should be common based on the shear numbers (e.g. ~200 billion starts within the Milky Way Galaxy and billions of galaxies in the universe meaning that life supporting planets should be common) to the Rare Earth hypothesis which states that the occurrence of complex or intelligent life is very rare due to it being a result of many improbable factors (such as a large moon in relation to the size of the planet to ensure the axial tilt is stable, correct placement of the planet in the area around the star to maintain water in a liquid state, correct placement within the galaxy - the galactic centre would be unsuitable for life due to radiation, frequent supernovae and the presence of supermassive black holes and the placements of Jupiter and Saturn like gas giant planets further out than the terrestrial planets to prevent the terrestrial planets being bombarded by comets).  Personally I do not subscribe to the Rare Earth theory as it seems to rule out so many possibilities - could binary star systems sustain complex/intelligent life - it was once thought that binary systems could not have planets in stable orbits but we are now discovering planets in such systems.  I think the Rare Earth theory is too Earth-centric - IMO a planet does not have to be exactly life Earth to support life and many planets may have moons - the only planets in our Solar System that don't have moons are Mercury and Venus - Mars has 2 small moons - even tiny Pluto has a large moon in relation to the size of the planet.

     

    So I am just asking for your opinions about the possible existence of other technological civilisations in the Milky Way Galaxy - personally I think that there could be at least 1000 in our galaxy at this time - if not more - I know you can bring up the Fermi paradox which says that if technological life is common it should have either contacted us or visited us by now - but any other civilisation is going to be constrained by the same laws of physics as we our and I think it may be of a consequence of interstellar travel being difficult - as getting close to the speed of light can bring a lot of hazards to at least biological beings.  Also we have the SETI program looking for radio transmissions but we have only been broadcasting for 100 years or so but it is likely too be at least 500 light years to the next star/planet with a technological civilisation so the chances are they have not got our broadcasts yet. Also taking into account that signals sent out from Earth may degrade over time by the inverse square law so at 500 light years they may be very difficult to detect even by the most sensitive of instruments.  

     

    It will also be interesting to speculate on what an alien species of a human or more level of advancement would be like - would they be bipedal like us, would they have similar technology to us (e.g. computers, aircraft, electricity, radio etc.) and would they be likely to have a similar political or sociological structure for us - it would be interesting to get some speculation on what alien life and technology would be like.

     

    Luke   

    • Like 5
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    • Replies 26
    • Created
    • Last Reply

    Top Posters In This Topic

    One very big question has to be answered first before we start speculating - how does life happen? How do non-living things like elements, minerals, rocks suddenly start breathing, reproducing, walking, thinking? We don't know.

     

    How can one say there are 1,000 civilisations in our galaxy, extrapolating from a sample of one, from a phenomenon that we can't explain or recreate? From our starting point of almost total ignorance, the galaxy and universe could be abundant with life and advanced civilisations, or life could be an almost infinitely unlikely one-off event in the history of the universe. A freakish coming together of coincidences, some strange quantum fluctuation or something, who knows.

     

    There's one thing we do know, that the only planet in the universe known to contain life is Earth. The rest is surely wild speculation?

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: North York Moors
  • Location: North York Moors

    The factor which is hard to grasp is time.Earth has not been here very long compared to the universe, but billions of years have passed before anything 'technological' happened here, and even being very optimistic it might only last the blink of an eye on the timescale of the Universe.So there almost  certainly have been technologically advanced lifeforms but maybe that was Aeons ago.Getting two at that special moment within communication distance must be unfathomably difficult. 

    • Like 6
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Mostly Watford but 3 months of the year at Capestang 34310, France
  • Weather Preferences: Continental type climate with lots of sunshine with occasional storm
  • Location: Mostly Watford but 3 months of the year at Capestang 34310, France

    If we take into account the vastness of just our galaxy and the number of stars and the potential number of Earthlike planets, I believe it is possible that there could be quite number of those which there are technologically advanced life forms but alas our current knowledge of science has not reached the stage where it would be possible to travel across the galaxy, 100,000 light years across and 1,000 light years deep, so it's not quite the same as popping out to the local corner shop.

     

    Some theorists postulate that it may be possible for matter to be transmitted via wormholes, should we ever be able to find one but they may well prove to be an  unsatisfactory transportation system for the human frame and it may well be that these wormholes are far too small.

     

    At the same time if we consider how much scientific knowledge and technology has advanced in the last 100 years we can't even begin to envisage all the likely advances which would be made in the next 1,000 years, even more in 10,000 years, so it is not something I would rule out altogether.

     

    Failing that, I would expect it quite likely, should mankind still be around in 2 or 3 million years time when the expansion of the sun will start to make life a little difficult on Earth I could envisage, first of all settlement of some suitable moons of the gas giants and thereafter the construction of a self supporting vehicle which could sustain human life for many generations whilst a new suitable habitat is found.

     

    I would not expect mankind to take the prospect of being frizzled by our sun starting to morph into a red giant lying down and would expect that such an attempt would be made; as to whether it is successful or not, who knows?

     

    If we accept this, then it is reasonable to consider that other intelligent beings in other parts of the galaxy could come up with the same idea but they could be as far as 100,000 light years from us and that long ago, as a species, we were still in a primitive stone age era, so I am not holding my breathe until we make contact with them but it is interesting to conjecture and let our imaginations run riot.

     

    What I will say and it is something we have found on this planet,  is that wherever it is possible for life to start and this covers a remarkable range of habitats from the thermal vents under the sea to glaciers, some existing with oxygen and some without, it will start and with the right circumstances, evolve.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.

    The factor which is hard to grasp is time.Earth has not been here very long compared to the universe, but billions of years have passed before anything 'technological' happened here, and even being very optimistic it might only last the blink of an eye on the timescale of the Universe.So there almost  certainly have been technologically advanced lifeforms but maybe that was Aeons ago.Getting two at that special moment within communication distance must be unfathomably difficult. 

    Pretty much how I feel about it, 4...I find it impossible to think that the entire Universe if lifeless, apart from us. i'd even like to hope that God - if there even is such a thing - would have learned from the obvious flaws in this particular creation, and gone on to create something better?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Liverpool
  • Weather Preferences: Warm and humid with some thunderstorms plus some snow too.
  • Location: Liverpool

    Interesting views - yes I understand the existence of life elsewhere is purely speculative as we only have one sample of life to work with which is that on Earth.  But I find it difficult to believe that we are the only technological civilisation in the Universe - even if life or intelligent life was very rare it is just by a matter of statistics alone that life should occur elsewhere and probably technological intelligence.  Even the Rare Earth hypothesis suggests that it is only advanced multicellular life that is rare and single celled simple life (e.g. microorganisms) could be quite common in the Galaxy - this is based on the fact that simple life started quite quickly after the formation of the Earth but the jump to multicellular life took a lot longer.  But all this assumes that the conditions for the formation of life on Earth are typical if repeated across the Universe - it could for instance be possible for the jump to complex life to take place quicker on another planet due to different environmental factors unique to that planet and planetary system.  I am also interested in the possibility of life in binary systems like Alpha Centuri which has 2 sun like stars and one M class dim red dwarf (technically a triple system) - do you think complex life could be possible in that system.  What we have also got to take into account is that while we often assume that a technological ET species is ahead of us I also think it is a possibility that they could be behind us too - if their was a race equivalent to humans in the middle ages on a planet 20 light years away we would not know about them as they would not be transmitting any radio signals - but however assuming such a planet exists we could possibly pick up some signals about possible life from the new generation of space telescopes which are designed to look for chemical markers of life in the atmospheres of extrasolar planets.

     

    Luke 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet

    My personal view is not just that their is advanced life, but that the galaxy is teaming with life. The sheer numbers suggest to me that this is so.

     

    Since scientists now believe that the common stars in the galaxy (red dwarfs) have rocky planets it is now postulated that as many as 100bn rocky planets exist. Account for the fact that only 22% (margin of 8%) are believed to be in the habitable zone and we have for easier numbers ~20bn potential life bearing worlds as we know it. Now given the dimensions of the galaxy (diameter of 100,000 light years and 3000 light years thick) along with the fact that rocky planets tend to be in systems with multiple rocky planets (3-5 being the mean) and we have a high probability that even our nearest stars may have habitable worlds. To date we have already discovered multiple planets at Tau Ceti and with new telescopes will be able to scan the tonnes of red dwarfs near us.

     

    On top of that we then of course have gas giants and their moons. We have Titan with an atmosphere thicker than Earth so allow for the chance of some being similar in atmosphere to Earth and the numbers increase further.

     

    When people first went looking for exo-planets they thought such systems would be the exception, rocky or not it now seems that nature overwhelmingly prefers planetary systems.

    • Like 2
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This is straying from the topic slightly but I found your response amusing. "We don't know". "How can one say...". "Total ignorance". "Wild speculation".

     

    That's right, Bobby, we do not yet know how the process of Abiogenesis came to be; how a self-replicating molecule was created. We are very much ignorant in this area, as in many other areas of science.  

     

    The amusing part: despite our ignorance, you can more be more than confident that a god exists and created the universe.  And not only that, this god has particular interest in our planet.  

     

    Indeed, logic crumbles before my eyes. 

     

    Being ignorant about science and ignorant about God are two very different things as the knowledge comes from different avenues. Thus no logical contradiction. I don't see why you are dragging up my personal religious beliefs, what have they got to do with it? FWIW I feel there is extra-terrestrial life somewhere, but it's just a feeling with no real basis, that's the point I was making.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Winterbourne, South Glos
  • Location: Winterbourne, South Glos

    "should mankind still be around in 2 or 3 million years time"

     

    This might be the burning question that every "civilisation" faces. Looking around today at what we have achieved and how quickly we could blow it all to kingdom come is what worries me.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Mostly Watford but 3 months of the year at Capestang 34310, France
  • Weather Preferences: Continental type climate with lots of sunshine with occasional storm
  • Location: Mostly Watford but 3 months of the year at Capestang 34310, France

    "should mankind still be around in 2 or 3 million years time" This might be the burning question that every "civilisation" faces. Looking around today at what we have achieved and how quickly we could blow it all to kingdom come is what worries me.

    Don't forget the rogue asteroid :(
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Welwyn Herts 115m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Surprises
  • Location: Welwyn Herts 115m ASL

    On the subject of communication with other life in the universe:

    At present with our own technological advancements and known physics we are limited by 'time' across the distances we observe.

     

    "I'll get back to you in a thousand years" could be our first effort in communication with another life form, that is if we received any signal we are able to perceive at present.

     

    The OP (opening post) and many similar questions have been a personal fascination, starting a mere 5 years after i was brought screaming into this life.  And i've 'sort of' come to the conclusion that us humans aren't ready to communicate with extraterrestrials.  I believe we have to evolve beyond technology (maybe through it) to overcome the limits of time and space. 

     

    Some people believe in a life force, a spirit, a personal essence of humanity which is unique, some have gods etc etc…  Maybe there is a power in thought we haven't discovered - (the ultimate irony since all of us do it every minute of everyday during our short lives)  maybe at some point in the future we may discover an ability to communicate by feelings… or something just as etherial but for now were stuck here, alone, killing each other and destroying our planet.

     

    My personal belief is that if there were any other lifeforms in the universe that had evolved enough to contact humanity they wouldn't bother unless they wanted to help out.  And that is being optimistic!

     

    The solution to overcome the communication aspect with extraterrestrial life perhaps lies in the paradox that is time travel and that eludes us - if it were possible then why haven't we seen evidence of it? - Probably because we can't….. yet

     

    But for the moment it's nice to imagine what possibilities there are out there in the apparent infinate vista.  I hope there's 'life' out there (-: - maybe in some sort of progression after death?

     

     

    Please everyone don't take this post as some sort of comment on religion - I'm not playing that game.

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Ashford, Kent
  • Weather Preferences: Anything
  • Location: Ashford, Kent

     

    I like to think that when we look into the skies, even with our technology, it's like a human from the 12th century looking into a cup of river water. All he/she sees is the water and a few bits floating around in it. Once humans invented the microscope though we realised that the water was teeming with life. When we look out into the cosmos, maybe we are just missing that one trick that allows us to see beyond what it obvious and into another fabric of existence that we just can't comprehend yet?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Cornwall
  • Location: Cornwall

    There has to be some 'Technological life' Somewhere in this possible infinite universe.Yet alone life.There was some sort of 'life' on mars before it was extinct for a unknown reason...We just have to find it.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Droylsden, Manchester, 94 metres/308 feet ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Dry/mild/warm/sunny/high pressure/no snow/no rain
  • Location: Droylsden, Manchester, 94 metres/308 feet ASL

    I think it is absolutely possible for there to be life and technology outside our planet - it would be dumb and ignorant to think otherwise. For every grain of sand on our planet there is a solar system. It is indeed mind boggling just how big the Universe is. There has to be intelligent life out there.

     

    Even the Romans and Ancient Egyptians talked about "strange lights and movements in the sky" all those years ago...possible UFO's? in that case it wouldn't surprise me if other "lifeforms" are thousands of years ahead of us in technology. It must be possible and not impossible.

     

    We on Earth are just a speck of sand in the massive Universe. Completely irrelevant outside of our war torn selfish planet. There will come a stage when we will completely destroy our planet - Then we will have to move to another planet but we will destroy that too. Unfortunately as humans it is in our nature to destroy. I'm sure there's other "life forms" who are not like that, and who may have "visited" us.

     

    But yes I think "E.T" does exist and I'm pretty sure (not 100%) they have visited us many times in the past using their far ahead technological know how lol

     

    The computer hacker Gary McKinnon is convinced of things he seen on American secret files. He may be lying but I think he is telling the truth.

     

    Here's what he found

     

    Edited by Gaz1985
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet

    Interesting view Gaz.

    Personally I don't think we will destroy ourselves but I rather take the view that when we finally unify and venture out among the stars we won't be seeking peace.

    Given that our species absolutely refuses to take a sustainable view to resources I expect the age of imperialism to begin anew on a galactic scale.

    Forget the friendly federation, we will be the conquering Klingons.

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    Our universe is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo huge and accelerating as we speak...but will there be the big crunch that is the question.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Cornwall
  • Location: Cornwall

    Our universe is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo huge and accelerating as we speak...but will there be the big crunch that is the question.

    We will be waiting a long....long...long time to find out.Sadly we will not find out in 100 years time.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet

    Our universe is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo huge and accelerating as we speak...but will there be the big crunch that is the question.

     

    The big crunch won't occur as the universe is a wave in my opinion. Over time this universe will simply fade as it looses energy (but getting ever bigger) and then a new universe will expand.

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    The big crunch won't occur as the universe is a wave in my opinion. Over time this universe will simply fade as it looses energy (but getting ever bigger) and then a new universe will expand.

    The multiverse...I certainly don`t think this universe will fade like they say they don`t know,thats also such a depressing outlook.The universe will never end its so rich.theres forces out there the scientist havn`t even begun to figure out and that just the weather also thunder and lightning electric and plasma.

    http://www.electricuniverse.info/Electric_Universe_theory

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Droylsden, Manchester, 94 metres/308 feet ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Dry/mild/warm/sunny/high pressure/no snow/no rain
  • Location: Droylsden, Manchester, 94 metres/308 feet ASL
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    Former defense Minister of Canada Announces On RT TV News channel of alien existence...

    This is getting pretty mainstream.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjpGnoAeiVc&feature=player_detailpage&list=WLqKGGAn3n7jWJJHVUZNj35VrZXSWnC19g

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    • 3 weeks later...
    Posted
  • Location: Winterbourne, South Glos
  • Location: Winterbourne, South Glos

    Former defense Minister of Canada Announces On RT TV News channel of alien existence...This is getting pretty mainstream.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjpGnoAeiVc&feature=player_detailpage&list=WLqKGGAn3n7jWJJHVUZNj35VrZXSWnC19g

    I don't care if he's the Queen of Sheba. He's fallen for the UFO myth and is spouting most of it without any understanding (and, not unusually, adding in the God thing by way of the Star of Bethlehem story). He's touting old school UFO mythology that doesn't pass muster. Maybe it gives him some personal comfort but his credentials as a former defense minister mean nothing.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now
     Share

    ×
    ×
    • Create New...