Saturday, 14 January 2012

What's the potential for alien life?

A change of topic to space for today!

What are really the chances of extra terrestrial life?

Ever since the beginning of humanity, we have asked the question: 'are we alone?'

Since discovering the telescope in 1609, man has advanced in the frantic search for alien life. Our planet is the only planet in our solar system to contain intelligent life. So what is it that's restricting other planets from doing so as well?

What makes something alive?

  • A common organization of atoms. This is so important because this defines cells into larger molecules to make us.
  • Capable of transforming energy, this lets us function, and allows us to fulfil our needs.
  • Maintain homeostatis, this basically means keeping a system in a living condition, so keeping the body the right temperature by sweating etc.
  • Reacting to a stimulus, reacting to the environment is crucial as life must be able to adapt or survive.
  • Capable of reproduction, kind of common sense really..
  • Can affect the enviroment, this ties in with transforming energy, whether it being kinetic energy to move, or sound energy to make a noise.
What do we need to live?

Chemical building blocks (proteins, oxygen etc), water and an energy source are the essential things needed to live. 

  • Water is needed for more or less everything, from the cytoplasm in cells to allow them to function all the way to a transport mechanism. (In your blood).
  • Energy is obvious, so you can function. (Chemical energy from food becomes kinetic in movement etc).
  • Chemical building blocks suck as protein are needed so you have mass. 
Now some single celled organisms don't need a transport system as they are so thin and small, diffusion can just transport stuff for them.

The potential for life

If we want to roughly estimate the chances of intelligent life out there. Lets say  Earth is the only planet with intelligent life in 100,000 stars, just to be very safe!
Now it is estimated there is between 200 billion to 400 billion stars in just our galaxy. So in our galaxy there is possibly 2 million up to 4 million planets with intelligent life!
..theres more.

That was just our galaxy, a german supercomputer has calculated possible over 500 billion galaxies in the universe! So now potentially there could be from 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets up to 20,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets with intelligent life!

To put that into further perspective, that is from 1 million million million million million up to 20 million million million million million planets with intelligent life! 

So I think that the chances we are alone are probably not very high.. That was also with the very generous margin of 1 planet in 100,000 with intelligent life.

Oh yeah, and that's intelligent life. Think of how many which can hold just life!

On a more important note.

Given how many planets could possibly hold life, whatever creature you can think up with your imagination, there's quite a decent chance it exists! ...maybe even pokemon.

No comments:

Post a Comment