Intelligent life beyond Earth — reality or fiction?


2019-12-26 00:20:20




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Intelligent life beyond Earth — reality or fiction?

the Famous poster that hung in the office of agent Mulder. The inscription at the bottom of the poster reads: “Want to believe”

The Character of the cult TV series of the 1990s , FBI special agent Fox Mulder, is convinced of the existence of intelligent life beyond Earth and that the representatives of extraterrestrial civilizations have visited our planet. Partner is agent Mulder, FBI special agent Dana Scully, the views of colleagues did not share, questioning his extravagant ideas. Spores of two FBI agents are a great example of how we should perceive all the information regarding aliens — with great scepticism and exclusively from the point of view of science. And if in the universe of “x-files” aliens do exist and are trying to take over our planet, in reality things could be very different.

Regardless of our beliefs and desires, there is an objective reality: our house — Earth, located in the Solar system in the milky Way galaxy, which dissects the endless expanses of the Universe. But in the Universe as we now know, the same laws of physics as on Earth. Science has helped to answer difficult questions about the world and our place in it and that science is our guiding light in trying to find the answer to the question, are we alone in the Universe.

Fear of being alone

After Nicolaus Copernicus marked the beginning of the scientific revolution, challenging the General notion that the Sun revolves around the Earth, it has been almost five hundred years. During this time many things have happened. So, thanks to technology we were able to look at the coming to us of a celestial body, and then to go beyond our own planet. We've sent into space, robotic , made Mars the only planet in the Solar system inhabited by robots and discovered hundreds of planets around other stars. Just think — there are thousands of distant worlds, most of which are probably uninhabited. But if we came with you, it is possible that among the innumerable worlds there is at least one inhabited by rational beings. At least we want to believe it. However, how could we not looked at the sky, we still don't know if there's someone else. However, in trying to find the answer to the famous question of Italian physicist Enrico Fermi is necessary to clearly separate reality from fantasy.

Where did the Universe come from life?

Outer space — this is the main chemical factory, which began its work immediately after . Three the lightest element — lithium, helium and hydrogen, as well as the rest of the 92 elements found in nature, created the stars, including the entire carbon, calcium and phosphorus, present in all living organisms on Earth. When stars die, they throw into space the lion's share of its weight and endow next to them the gas cloud by a set of atoms, which in the future will enrich the next generation of stars. Thus, all people, planets and moons would not exist if not for the remains of spent stars. It also tells us that the origin of life does not need rare ingredients.

Life on Earth we owe to the explosions of supernovae

In the space of five first places on the allocation is hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen. Interacting, these elements helped to create the main components of life on Earth. But the space for the molecules that live in the massive clouds envelop the stars, the place is not the most favorable. Constant temperature spikes, supernova explosions and ultraviolet radiation from nearby bright stars can destroy molecules. In order to survive and to join the particles of cosmic dust and then comets, asteroids, planets, and people molecules must be present in relatively calm and sheltered from foreign influences areas. Moreover, in order to light a complex molecule to another and the time.

The Most famous complex molecules are glycolaldehyde (hydrocarbon), adenine and glycine. These and similar ingredients necessary for occurrence habitual to us of life there are, undoubtedly, not only on Earth. The abundance of chemical elements in the Universe can produce life on other planets. However, such planets of the Solar system like Jupiter, Saturn and its moon Titan is extremely rich in chemical elements. In 2005, a space probe landed on Titan, so we know that the chemical environment on the biggest moon of Saturn in a sense similar to the situation on the young Earth. For this reason, many astrobiologists think Titan a laboratory for the study of the past of our planet. Thus, today, conversations about life on other planets has ceased to be the prerogative of crazy. Moreover, modern studies of particularly hardy organisms — for example — show that life knows no boundaries and no barriers to it are not terrible. To find life beyond our planet, scientists need to understand not only in astrophysics, chemistry and biology, but in Geology and planetary science, because they are looking for potentially habitable planets everywhere.

How the discovery of exoplanets changed the world

this year was awarded to James Pills — for the theoretical discoveries in the fieldcosmology, Michel Mayer and Didier Kelo for the discovery of the exoplanet, which orbits a star similar to our Sun. Since 1995 — after the discovery of the famous exoplanet 51 Pegasi b — astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets in our galaxy. The discovery of 51 Pegasi b was the revolution in astronomy and led to the emergence of exobiology, as well as new tools to search and characteristics of the observed exoplanets. Needless to say that the more new worlds open scientists are, the more the desire the public to know whether they are inhabited.

Exoplanet 51 Pegasi b in the representation of the artist

For 25 years the hype around exoplanets continues. Tremendous public interest in distant worlds, of course, was caused by the prospect of discovery in them of intelligent life. However, the hype is probably overrated. As he writes in his “Death in a black hole and other small space trouble” astrophysicist and science popularizer Neil Degrasse Tyson, the newly discovered planet — it is mostly gas giants, like Jupiter and Saturn, and thus they have no suitable surface for the development of life. Again, in our usual sense. And even if gas giants are habitable, the probability that these organisms are intelligent extremely small.

However, the majority of astrophysicists generally agree that there is probably somewhere else. To justify this position is very simple — if ours is no exception, the number of planets in the Universe exceeds the number of all sounds and words ever uttered by members of our species. Following this logic, the statement that we — the only intelligent life in the Universe is pretty radically and some incredibly. But is it all clear?

What could be life beyond Earth?

Let's Start with that one only the planet, there are nearly a million species of living beings. If you think about it, it is rather hard to imagine that jellyfish, algae, beetles, sponges, snakes, condors, and giant sequoias native to one planet. The diversity of forms and species of living organisms on Earth suggests how awesome your life can be in other worlds. We assume this based on the fact that life emerged through the interaction of four chemical elements — hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon. It is therefore very likely that if we ever find life beyond Earth, it will consist of a similar mix of elements. However, if alien life is somehow comparable to the life on our planet, intelligence, seems rare. According to some estimates, in the entire history of the Earth it existed more than 10 billion species. Therefore, we can assume that the same intelligent as Homo Sapiens would be the only 1 out of 10 billions of extraterrestrial living organisms, not more. And that's not to mention the chances that these intelligences are the high technology and the desire to establish interstellar communication.

But if such a civilization does exist, can it be her ? Astronomer Carl Sagan, his whole life was devoted to the study of the cosmos. One of the works of Sagan is a science fiction novel “Contact” in which the scientist describes the most probable from the point of view of science contact with representatives of extraterrestrial civilizations — it will be held using radio waves. The fact that radio waves are able to traverse the galaxy unimpeded, penetrating, and interstellar gas and cosmic dust clouds. However, there is one “but” — the earthlings figured out the device and use of the electromagnetic spectrum recently, a little less than a century ago. This somewhat reduces the chances that we'll get an alien signal.

These aliens portrayed the creators of “Secret materials”. The Directors and screenwriters of other Hollywood movies and TV series, it seems that the problem with imagination

Much more likely, nevertheless, to discover in the Universe are simple, foolish . Which is more than real, as it is right in front of us are Mars, Enceladus and Titan. In the next few years, NASA will send to them from multiple devices, whose main task — the search for extraterrestrial life. Some astrophysicists that in the coming decades we'll find life beyond Earth. And in any case it will be sensational.

How to treat contradictory statements by the scientists?

Given all the above, such loud statements of some scientists and the media as “aliens have visited our planet” or “aliens colonized the milky Way” sounds pretty speculative. It might even seem that they are no better than the statements of people who supposedly were abducted by aliens right out of bed and put on them a terrible experience. However, conclusions should not hurry.

Recently, the magazine has been published a study according to which the aliens, with great probability, was already on the planet. Or are reluctant to communicate with us. As writes the edition , the researchers believe that if the attempts to resolve the Fermi paradox does not take into account the movement of the stars, is one of two things: either the representatives of other civilizations are unable to leave their planet, or we — the only technological civilization in the milky Way galaxy. For this reason, in their work the researchers suggest that the stars and planets revolve around the center of our galaxy at different speeds and in different directions. From time to time the stars and planets areclose to each other. For this reason, it is not excluded that the aliens are able to travel to adjacent areas in the galaxy. But such journeys take a long time, so the authors believe that if aliens have yet not reached, they could visit the Earth long before our appearance on it.

Cover of the film adaptation of the novel of Carl Sagan's “Contact”. Starring jodie foster and Matthew Mcconahy

what do you think, are we alone in the galaxy? Share your opinion in the comments and join the discussion in

It Turns out that if 1 in 10 billion species in our galaxy is an intelligent and technologically advanced, the conclusions of scientists seem quite logical. However we can't disprove the findings of another , which involved experts from Oxford University. According to the results, the probability that we — the only intelligent life in the observable Universe is quite high. Even if we assume that the average number of civilizations in the galaxy can reach hundreds, the probability that we are alone in the galaxy is 30%. As reported by the study's lead author Andreas Sandberg portal , given the conditions necessary for the development of intelligent life, he and his colleagues came to the conclusion that there is a fairly high probability that in the milky Way we are alone.

Whatever it was, our world and our universe is a place so amazing that amazing is the fact that we are trying to learn and what we got… impossible. As for life outside of Earth, peering into the endless cosmic void, it is difficult to assume that in the Universe besides us there is none. In the end we are not so special.


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