Recently, a lot of earth-like planets have been discovered, and UFO sightings have been happening forever. Which has led to a general speculation about the existence of alien civilizations, fueled in part by science fiction movies and books, especially when there’s a notable movie, story, or incident, such as the Roswell incident, movies such as “”Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind“, “ET“, “Avatar“, and books such as “Chariots of the gods”.
And of course you have people on both sides of the debate on whether or not aliens exist. Where do I stand on this matter?
I do believe that aliens exist. But I’m not a zealot where possible evidence is concerned. Not every UFO, or picture of one, is necessarily an alien craft and I don’t know if ancient monuments and art were created by, or depictions of, real aliens.
But I also find it incredibly hard to believe that we are completely alone in the universe when we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface in exploring it yet. So when I hear people, including people who are prominent in society say that they don’t believe aliens exist, I think they are like the kid telling his parent he can’t find what he’s looking for when he hasn’t even looked in his room, let alone his closet or the rest of the whole house!
Of course, we still don’t have “it”, the evidence which would be absolute in proving the existence of aliens, such as their openly visible arrival here, a truly “readable” signal from them where we would know that it could only have come from intelligent life and not be something nature could create, or an artifact left here that we would somehow know was not created by humans or nature.
There is what is known as the Fermi Paradox, which attempts to explain why we haven’t been contacted yet or have found any absolute evidence of the existence of aliens.
Now, after having read an article some time ago regarding what it would take to have a successful mission to Mars, I can see that we are still very far away from having the technology to build a ship fast enough with the capability of keeping its crew alive and well for the duration, to make an interstellar journey feasible. This may also be why aliens may not have visited us yet.
What about radio signals? Some theorists say that we may be on different frequencies from what alien civilizations may be using. Possibly. But what if we are on the same frequency?
We’ve had radio since 1914. It’s 2014 now, so the first radio signals, which travel at the speed of light, have only traveled 100 light years. Any civilization further out than that, will not have received them yet. And since there’s no video, but only sound, the alien civilization would have to try to decipher the message first and determine where it came from, before it could send a meaningful reply.
And remember, a civilization only 80-90 light years from us will have only received our signals 10-20 years ago. And, once they reply, if they do, it will take 80-90 years for their reply to reach us!
But let’s say a civilization advanced enough to have radio astronomy, and enlightened enough to believe that other civilizations exist in the universe, and is only 50 light years away, receives our radio signals. Even if they only took a year to decipher the message, find out where it came from, and sent a reply back to us after that year’s time, their message back to us is still a year away from arriving here!
And if you look at just how big the universe is, (The nearest star is 4 light years away and the galaxy is 100,000 light years across with over 100 billion stars!), it’s easy to see that there might not be a civilization capable of receiving and sending radio signals within that 50 light year radius.
With video like that from TV signals, an alien civilization that can pick them up will have a better idea of what they’re seeing and has a better chance of figuring out what is being said as well as what we look like. But, TV did not come into use until the 1940’s, so these signals have only gone out about 70 light years, and if we were to get a reply back, again, assuming an almost immediate reply, that civilization would have to be no further from us than 35 light years in order for us to get that reply this year.
Also, this assumes that a civilization is advanced enough and also interested, in radio communication with us or any other civilization.
We’ve come from ancient Egypt and ancient China to now, a span of about 5,000 years, in which only in the past 200 years have we had any kind of electronic communications. A civilization only 300 years behind us could be as close as the nearest star, but we cannot know with radio astronomy alone since they’d have no way of even knowing our signals exist and nothing they have would be emitting any signals for us to pick up!
What about more advanced civilizations? Certainly they could pick up our signals and send replies back, maybe faster than light, too?
Yes, most likely, so why haven’t we heard from them? They may be too far out and haven’t received our signals yet and don’t yet have a way to “reach out and grab” them. Or they may not be interested or truly believe there aren’t other alien civilizations, and so have no interest in looking or listening.
Or it could be a case of information overload.
In 5,000 years of human civilization, we still haven’t reached or have seen all areas beneath our oceans, under the polar ice caps, or the interior of our own planet, let alone the other worlds of our solar system. Imagine an advanced civilization with access to 5, 10, or even 100 life-bearing worlds that it has already reached with manned missions. They may know about our world but just don’t have time yet to even begin exploring or communicating with us yet!
With our space telescope having discovered over 700 earth like worlds now, I can see how this could be the case. And if a means to reach them easily and safely should ever be discovered, especially if within this century, and especially if life is discovered on many of them, we, especially the scientific community, will be like a kid who’s just gotten a million toys! Every scientific organization and publication wouldn’t know where to explore first and they’d all be crying for people to come work for them as field explorers! It would be amazing!
For now, though, we can only speculate, wait, and continue to listen and explore. Someday, though, I’m sure we will find “it”, that evidence which truly proves beyond all doubt that we are not alone.
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