We are not alone… I think.

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We are not alone… I think.

I was enjoying a pint with a friend last Thursday evening, and he asked me if I thought life existed outside our solar system. When I answered ‘yes’ to his loaded question he laughed and said it was a scary and unrealistic notion, like I was some sort of conspiracy nut. Is it unrealistic or scary? I find the prospect of us being alone in the vastness of the space a lot more frightening. Besides that, with at least 200 billion galaxies out there, and over 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in our observable Universe, it’s more than reasonable to assume that millions of life supporting ecosystems exist inside various Goldilocks Zones. To our knowledge, Earth hasn’t had an extraterrestrial visit, but it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened or won’t in the future. Sixty-six million years ago, a huge spaceship may have roared across our skies and observed the dinosaurs; we’ll probably never know unless they return and congratulate us for crawling out of the sea and gradually evolving into humans. Alien evolution may be at a less advanced stage than humanity, it might be advanced and millions of years ahead which will dent our Terran egos. I suspect we’ll have a firm answer when probes reach the Proxima Centauri, Gliese 581, or Keppler-22 systems…

Anyway, as the conversation in the pub continued, interest drained from my friend’s face while I babbled about the possibilities. He eventually fished out his smartphone and scrolled through his Facebook app. Each to their own, naturally, but it got me thinking about how an alien species would view us. In most science fiction shows on TV, aliens are usually human-like bipeds which isn’t an unreasonable assumption. However, I’m not sure how things would go for us if we were visited by an intelligent race who had the appearance of a turkey. This isn’t a post about the virtues of vegetarianism, I’m a meat eater and have no plans to change, but picture this scenario for a moment… The aliens descend undetected on Christmas Day, peer inside a window of a family home to survey our behavior, and recoil in horror as a man at the head of the table carves up the roasted carcass of a creature similar in form. This probably won’t happen but what would a benevolent race, who have mastered intergalactic travel, make of our planet today? I doubt they’d visit because of the tired old cliche of wanting to wipe us out and steal our water. Plenty of ice is available on Jupiter’s ice moons or the Mars polar regions without the need for war. If we are visited, I suspect it will be for peaceful purposes, and I doubt our visitors would stick around for long after taking in a snapshot of our unstable world. I have my fingers crossed that 2017 brings us a brighter future.

Speculating about such things doesn’t mean I’m a big baby or have a screw loose. It could end up being a positive thing for humanity, and ultimately I have faith in our species. A universal outlook might help put certain global issues into perspective. I want to end on a positive note as I was descending down a rathole while thinking about this year events. I hope anyone reading this has a great festive period and I wish you, your family, and friends have a great 2017!



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