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Yellowdog's avatar

What are your thoughts. hopes, and expectations about extraterestial life? Is the prospect of other life-forms in space, as it really might be, all that interesting?

Asked by Yellowdog (11101points) June 24th, 2017

When I was ten years old, I was fascinated by the prospect of life on Venus and Mars. They were still thinking, in those days, that Venus might have life—but only microbes, and only possibly floating in the clouds. The surface was known to be over 800 degrees—warmer than warm enough to blaze if such temps were in our own atmosphere. Mars’ hopes for vegetation was still out there but only the most determined optimists still believed in the canals theory. Maybe potatoes could be grown there someday if it could be terreformed (making a whole planet into an earthlike biome? That alone sounds science fiction and not possible ) And when rocks were later found that might have been Martian in origin turned out to have evidence of very simple bacteria—some even espoused the idea that life on Earth began on Mars.

None of these seem all that interesting—nor does the bleak existence traveling months or years in a space-craft with the stress of things failing—nor the bleak existence of life in a martian colony with nowhere else to go

I admit that there are many fascinating, wonderous, and beautiful things in space— Gas giants, Black holes, Pulsars, Nebulae—etc etc. But for me, part of the fascination is in that these things are completely devoid of life, of never being closely observed and contemplated by sentient beings—that they exist in eternal silence and are unseen and unvisited and maybe will never be seen but nonetheless is out there.

It would be nice if there were Greys, Nordics and Reptilians—or Vulcans, Klingons and Romulans or Wookies from whence Sasquatch came from. Or planets with trolls and orcs and elves and creatures of high fantasy and role playing games. or adventures in Oz or the many worlds visited on Star Trek. But the truth is, I think the aspect of life—as it usually turns out to be, if even possible, is apt to be a disappointment. If it does not rise to the sentience level of at least fish or birds or maybe insects, it just isn’t that interesting to me.

Space is far more interesting to me as devoid of life but very beautiful in its energy forms and anomalies of time, space and energy— but not the simple, barely qualifying as life lifeforms that may actually be there.

Even so, a part of me is looking for the land of oz—or some ELO -type starship (the iconic space ship of the band Electric Light Orchestra)—or something that can take us out of this world, provide some answers unlike we never imagined, and visit some distant star. There’s got to be more than this mundane hubris we know actually contains. And here sits our own world, brimming with life and light and the only home we’ll ever really adapt to, boring and unappreciated for all the life it is.

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15 Answers

kritiper's avatar

It’s out there somewhere, be it intelligent or otherwise. No intelligent life in this neck of the woods.

Yellowdog's avatar

Amen to that—thus prompting this post.

We are. actually intelligent and have plenty in this world to fascinate us—we just find it mundane and hope for something more—when all that’s out there usually turns out to be different but less.

Yellowdog's avatar

Lets say, for instance, that we find a nearby star—six light years away—a planet four times the size of the earth, maybe 240 degrees (hotter than a boiling point of water) but has oceans and rain but not quite suitable for life but close enough. We’ll never even have the ability to really get there—and so what if we did? We just found a place we weigh four times as much and a lot of hot water and maybe some primitive form of microbe might be able to live there, probably not.

Nary a Vulcan, Gorn, Salt Vampire or Grey Alien to be found

kritiper's avatar

Our actual intelligence is moot seeing as how we are doing little to stave off the coming cataclysm from climate change, vast oceanic garbage collection, overfishing of the oceans, and human overpopulation, to name a couple…
Another place to replace this place?? We’d gum it up, too, eventually. Humanity is just a form of planetary vermin that really just needs to die out without spreading to any other place.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I like the Drake equation I hope that the outsiders share technology and we can have a new golden age of science and growth.

Yellowdog's avatar

I think that’s why we long for other places where people are indeed smarter than us.

I don’t want to get into politics here but if anyone wants to go there, maybe it must. But for every step forward it requires two steps back.

I agree we could do A LOT more than we’re doing to protect the environment—but is taxing gasoline and car mileage the way to do it? We may produce more pollution than we’re worth but other countries it remains largely unchecked altogether—even though the same countries are lauded for their efforts. And too often we name the wrong people as the offenders.

On Star Trek—the solutions we are now striving for (globalization) actually work and all cultures and peoples exist—distinctively but as one.

When I was ten years old, my Leif Erikson Galactic Cruiser / U.F.O mystery ship was, in my imagination, of Cytherean / Venusian origin. We were wrong about the heat of the planet as our probes burnt up in the clouds. Those clouds deflected much of the sun’s energy and heat back into space. The lack of sun due to the clouds made them Nordic or Balticlike. The Venusians were like Nordic aliens and although they would conquer us and take over—they were people of love and impose a civilization upon us although we today would find it racist— being sort of a Baltic super race.I thought the Venusian blonds would save our planet. Martians and people of the former Phaeton (now the Asteroid belt) were Grey aliens and more like War of the Worlds martians—or Independence Day in those bear-sized Orson Wells inspired suits.

Even the black comic hell about a Nordic super race from Venus solving all our problems I had as a kid and a teenager—sounds to me today more like a Nazi fantasy than anything we’d want.

Pachy's avatar

How can there NOT be life elsewhere in a universe too large to calculate or even imagine?

Highly unlikely another form of life will ever visit our tiny marble. Especially during the Trump presidency.

ragingloli's avatar

We are going to kill you all.

flutherother's avatar

There may well be unimaginable cities in space but the distances are so great and travel so slow that we will never see them or know anything of them. What puzzles me about the universe is why there is so much of it. It seems literally a waste of space.

flutherother's avatar

@ragingloli You don’t even know we exist and you could never reach us anyway.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Do you think there is another life form out there wondering the same thing as they are the only life form in their galaxy?

Yellowdog's avatar

Agreed that there probably IS life somewhere—maybe something with cities and civilization—but all the stars and galaxies as we know them will be extinct before we could ever get to them.

For every society that might be like us—there are probably a few planets whose denizens are more like a global ant hill—- maybe a few water worlds with jellyfish or intelligent coral but not something we relate to. Maybe a few inhabited by weird things like Lovecraft and his ilk would create but rather indifferent to us.

But most we could relate to and communicate with are far too few and far between, if they are there at all. Potential, possibility, and likelihood still doesn’t mean there is anything
Maybe a few microbes where conditions are right.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Lots of life out there. Their planets are close together enough to visit each other. Most of them circle the same star, like Saturn’s rings. Our ancesters were evicted to this planet because they were stupid, and aggressive. The only way we can find others is to wise up, and learn to put hate and evil aside, because if we were all friends and put our knowledge together, we could figure out what they know about space travel.

Yellowdog's avatar

Humankind in exile

Dogs never wonder. Something else must have genetically engineered dogs from wolves or other canids.

Thanks, Pattymelt— I’ll meditate on the dwarf star with the rings. Or a place cozy in a nebulae or a place in the galaxy where the stars are closer together and brighter than Sirius.

Darth_Algar's avatar

First let us assume that life is only possible under Earth-like conditions (an entirely reasonable assumption to make). Now even if these conditions are extremely rare they must surely, considering the sheer size and scale of the Universe (trillions of galaxies, each containing up to hundreds of billions of stars), exist elsewhere. Thus I believe it is not only very likely, but almost mathematically certain that there is life elsewhere in the Universe. Whether or not such life is more advanced than us, less advanced (or even, for that matter, sentient) I make no assumptions. I only assume that life must exist elsewhere. Even assuming that the conditions for life are so rare that there is only a life-bearing planet in one out of every one thousand galaxies that still adds up to billions of life-bearing planets in the Universe.

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