Old 10th Jan 2019, 10:17
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Sunny Sussex
Posts: 778
Originally Posted by SpringHeeledJack View Post
To think that 'we' are the only sentient beings in the vastness of space, is breathtakingly naive, though perhaps understandable from a psychological point of view. 'We' are happy to indulge our egos, variously lauding our achievements over other living forms on planet Earth. To countenance that 'we' are not the only sentient life form and more so that they are eons ahead of our development is too much for the majority of mankind to digest.

Btw, what's happening with that long odd shaped asteroid that was mentioned some months back ?
I think it took a look & jogged on.

You are expressing the intuitive highly probabilistic view that given the numbers of galaxies, stars & planets, there must be life elsewhere and some of of it must have developed interstellar travel. It seems an absolute certainty, right? Yet all we know for certain is there are two planets with life on them in our solar system. Us & Mars and Mars is wholly populated by robots!

So there is a difference between what seems likely & what we know. It's a fascinating question & the reason we keep lobbing probes at Mars is we know it had liquid water & Wherever we look on Earth, where we find water, we find life, so finding just one instance of fossilised life on Mars, microbes, little green men or space cows would be profound. It would tell us for certain life is everywhere (assuming life here wasn't seeded by asteroids from Mars or vice versa) Another interesting thing about water is it acts as a solvent with a wide liquid range. It follows in logic that water isn't necessarily required for life, just a solvent which organic chemistry can use. It's possible in theory that life could emerge in the methane lakes of Titan for all we know.

We also know that life arose on Earth pretty much as soon as it could do so & so extrapolating that to similarly endowed planets around other stars that we now are able to observe in large numbers, it seems obvious that the universe is teeming. Yet nothing has ever been observed. As Enrico Fermi famously said: Where are they?

The Fermi paradox is a fascinating topic all on it's own & I won't write it all out here but if you wonder where they all are, then have a look at things like the great filter, the Drake equation, self destruction of intelligent life even relativity ruling out fast interstellar travel.

Decent wiki:

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