Are we alone in the universe? This question has occupied our imagination for more than one hundred years. Is our planet the only miracle and home for living organisms among all other planets and galaxies? Some scientists believe that the day when we encounter alien life is probably going to come sooner than we expect.
“We will find life in space during this century“,
confidently said Dr. Seth Shostak, the head of the research project SETI engaged in the search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, speaking at the meeting of the European Commission considering innovative development.
The SETI project
Researchers of the SETI project calculated the date when humanity will encounter alien life, based on data received from the space telescope Kepler.
Shostak stated that probably by 2040, electromagnetic signals of alien origin will be detected, writes Space.com. This forecast was made on the basis of data received from the space telescope Kepler.
Speaking at a NASA symposium at Stanford, Shostak said that there is an extremely great percentage of potentially habitable planets, and in two decades, astronomers will be able to scan enough star systems to detect them, reports the Guardian.
According to the scientist, every fifth star has a planet orbiting it, on which the existence of intelligent life is possible. This may mean that there actually are billions of Earth-like planets in the universe.
The scientist is sure that if at least one of them has living creatures on it whose intelligence is at our level or exceeds it, they will certainly receive a radio signal from Earth and respond to it.
“There are more than 150 billion galaxies in the space, which are somehow different from our own. Each of these galaxies contains tens of billions of Earth-like planets. That’s why the belief that the Earth is the only place in the universe that hosts life is nothing short of a miracle. 500 years of astronomical research led us to understand that if you believe in miracles, you are most likely wrong,” said Shostak.
Now, according to Shostak, aliens are probably “listening patiently and cautiously to find out if the contact with them is set up.” The astronomer does not exclude that the signal may be received by the researchers on Earth.
Let’s assume that there is life on other planets in space indeed.
In what form would it exist and how could we detect it? Dr. Shostak believes that the answer to this question may be found within the next 25 years.
It will be either found in the microbial form in own neighborhood within the solar system, on Mars or one of Jupiter’s moons or will find evidence of extraterrestrial life in the form of gases produced by living organisms in the atmospheres of exoplanets; or Dr. Szostak and his team at SETI will finally catch a radio signal transmitted by intelligent extraterrestrial life.
Astrophysicist at Oxford University, Dr. Suzanne Aigrain, who studies various planets outside the solar system, believes that the discovery of extraterrestrial life is more likely to happen according to the second option, that is, by detecting metabolic products of living organisms.
Speaking at the meeting, she expressed her confidence that humans are not alone in this world.
“We are very close to getting to the point when it can be said with certainty that universe contains a giant number of Earth-like planets. Inhabited planets. That’s why when someone asks whether there is life on other planets, I always take the side of someone who believes that it does exist, because the probability is really high.”
Dr. Aigrain and her scientific team use electromagnetic radiation (light) as the primary tool for finding planets rotating around other suns. Planets may be considered as potentially habitable if their size corresponds to the size of the Earth and their surface temperature is suitable for keeping water in liquid form.
Aigrain and her colleagues believe that such kind of planets are the ones that may contain “biomarkers”, that is, traces of gases in the atmosphere which could be a product of the life of biological creatures.
In turn, Dr. Shostak and SETI are looking for evidence of the existence of life in the universe by observing the signs of technologies. If such signs are finally detected, then, according to Shostak, this signal will be produced by a much more advanced in terms of technology civilization than we are.
What happens if we find them?
If we do find life on other planets, or a radio signal from distant neighbors in the universe, then what will be the consequences of all this? After all, if we find, for example, space germs, then the question will be much deeper than just reconsideration of the content of schoolbooks on biology, and we will expect great philosophical implications.
“It will change everything we’ve ever known,” says Dr. Shostak.
The SETI project, which began in 1959, aims to search for extraterrestrial life. At the beginning of the 2000s, the “alien busters” believed that due to the rapid growth of computer technology, mankind might be able to make contact with other worlds and encounter alien life in 2025.
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