Kajsa R's Guide to Knowing the Unknown

April 27, 2010
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I am writing this to warn you; to tell you that They do exist, and that They are coming. They are coming with weapons none of us could ever fathom. Their technology is far greater than ours and They will use it for great evil. You cannot run from Them and you cannot hide from Them. There’s no point in attempting to contact the government; they knew this day was coming. They have been covering up information that could help us for centuries, just so they wouldn’t have to deal with a world-wide uproar. The media is in on this too. It seems that anyone who could make a difference in our fate is part of the scheme to keep us in the dark. To keep us from the truth. To stop us from discovering that They, the Aliens, are real.

…well there you have it! Hope you weren’t too alarmed; I assure you, if it didn’t aid the learning experience, I wouldn’t have written it. What’s that? You didn’t know this was supposed to teach you something? Oh, forgive me, forgive me, I’ve gotten too caught up in my Sci-fi drama. Let me introduce myself properly. My name is Kajsa R., and I am going to shed some light on aliens. More specifically, I am going to answer a very serious question; what are the odds of intelligent life on other planets?

Surprisingly, the idea of aliens is a very new one. The modern age of ufology actually started in 1947, when Kenneth Arnold saw the first ‘UFO’. This caused a major outbreak of sightings and supposed ‘abductions’ in the early 50’s. Of course, it didn’t help that all of the authors were experimenting with the new genre ‘Science Fiction’. Pretty soon, everyone was putting more thought into old paintings and strange monuments. “After my first sighting, I started to look at everything twice” says Theriot. This seems to be the case with everyone. Even cave drawings that apparently depicted alien life forms were found! Yes, I know that this sounds crazy. Please, just keep in mind, that even though people think that all of this stuff is bogus and influenced by others, the first person who experienced this couldn’t have just dreamt everything up. However, I find it interesting how people can twist even the most ordinary drawings into being ‘aliens’.

The same thing applies to UFO’s. There have been over 100, 000 reported sightings so far, and 646 cases still remain unsolved. Other than that, there have been six major sighting s over the span of 30 years. “I know what I saw” says Theriot “It was something…strange. Something that could have easily been overlooked. But I know what I saw, and I saw something from another planet”.

Most sightings these days are around Rachel, Nevada. For those of you who have no clue where that is, it’s a small town in the middle of nowhere. It’s surrounded by deserts and mountains, and most importantly, a very mysterious Government base, Area 51. Of course, there could be many explanations for this, and it doesn’t help that there is a diner, the little A’le’inn, that’s dedicated to these sightings. They all congregate and their stories seem to grow bigger and bigger. This makes it hard to separate the fact from fiction. That’s also why many conspiracies are born.

For instance, in 1947 was the Roswell Incident. It was basically when an old farmer found some old shiny remains of something that had crashed on his field and took it to the government to examine. They shrugged it off as nothing more than a weather balloon, but many eyewitnesses disagree. However, it wasn’t until 1978 that all the witnesses started to come out. They stated crazy things, like that the government was hiding the real remains in a bunker in Area 51. After all, with all the rumors surrounding Area 51, why not put the blame on it?

Area 51 has been shrouded in secrecy ever since it’s establishment in the 50’s. No one knows exactly what goes on there, however there have been many rumors regarding. Some think that it is merely a misdirection attempt, but many disagree. There have been claims that it is actually a facility to try and develop a system of time travel. That’s not the craziest claim; a good amount of the population that believes it’s an alien spacecraft storage! Of course, don’t think I’m prejudiced, no, I perfectly accept the fact that some people think I am insane for believing these claims. Again, I’d like to remind you that these ideas could not have been thought up without a certain amount of evidence. Is there something the government is hiding from us? Mrs. Theriot thinks so. “If they weren’t hiding something, there would be no reason why it would be guarded so heavily. Something’s going on here”.

However, the government has publicized the fact that they have spent quite a lot of time trying to find intelligent life (on other planets). First we must realize that the United States aren’t the only ones interested in finding these so called ‘aliens’. Russia has started a program where small children write letters to aliens that are going to be sent off into space. Along with these letters, they also attached a single lock of hair so that whoever receives it can trace the DNA back to Earth. The US has a similar project. On August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 was launched. Why is this so special? Well, when NASA realized that this object would become scrap-metal floating around in space, they decided to add a gold audio plate holding information about Earth. They included everything from a video of the Olympics to the sound of a barking dog.This wasn’t the first thing the US government has done, though. In the mid 60’s they set up a ‘Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence’, more commonly know as SETI. However, the government decided to drop SETI in 1984, leaving them scrambling for money. But don’t you think that if all of this had no possibility whatsoever that people would have dropped the idea a long time ago?

SETI is basically an independent team that searches the universe for radio signals. It holds at least 50 satellites, which are unfortunately very expensive to maintain. They have to ask for donations from wealthy business owners like people at Microsoft to help pay for the maintenance costs. So far, the only signal recorded that could be extraterrestrial was, unfortunately, a false alarm. On the other hand, the satellites can only focus on one star at a time, so it doesn’t surprise me that nothing has been found. They’re out there; I’m sure of it! Either that or maybe the aliens don’t wish to speak to us.

….Or maybe they’re already making contact with us in a different sort of way. Have you ever heard someone claim they’ve been abducted? Odds are that they aren’t, in fact, insane. They are just most likely suffering from the disease ‘sleep paralysis’. Sleep paralysis is when you think you are awake, but you aren’t able to move or interact with the world around you. Sometimes, people’s imaginations run wild, and they believe that they have been ‘abducted’ by aliens. Unfortunately for scientists, many who have experienced this say this is not the case, and search for other explanations. “I don’t know why people don’t believe me” says Theriot “If it had happened to you, you would have known they were actually there. I just can’t accept the fact that this was all in my head.” Some say that what it really is is ‘Recovered Memory Syndrom’. Recovered memory syndrome causes people to forget extremely dramatic and scarring events from their life. This could be why some ‘dream’ about the abductions; they could just be replaying the activities in their mind.

Finally, the piece of information that finishes my intricate puzzle of confusion has been found. In 1961, Dr. Frank Drake discovered the equation to find (approximately) how many stars, containing life, in the Milky Way there are. The simplified equation is ‘N=Nx*pf*ne*fl*fi*fc*fL’. I understand that none of you here understand what that means, so allow me to simplify. Let N=the number of civilizations that can communicate in the galaxy. Then ‘Nx’= the number of stars in the Milky Way. Estimated, this is about 100 billion. ‘fp’ is the percent of stars that have planetary systems (planets around them). Scientists guess this is anywhere from 20% to 50%.Now, ‘ne’=the number of planets per star capable of sustaining life. Basically, this is one planet. ‘fl’ is the percentage of ‘ne’ that evolves. This is where things start to get iffy. The percentage can range anywhere from 0% to 100%, causing serious dispute among scientists . Moving on, though. ‘fc’ is the fraction of ‘fi’ that want to communicate. Again, this is widely argued, but it’s anywhere from 10% to 20%. And finally, ‘fL’; the planets life during which communicating civilizations live. Again, this is only a estimate, but scientists are guessing it’s about 10 billion years. If you multiply all of these numbers (have you been keeping track?) you get 1000 civilizations! Amazing, right? I hope I didn’t loose too many of you all there. I know that math may be a bore, but it’s essential to this project.

After many tears of frustration shed, I have indeed come up with an answer to my question, ‘What are the Odds of Life on other Planets?’. Truthfully, my answer is that it should (and shall) remain in the realm of the unknown. As I stated before, my reasoning is based on nothing more than claims of believers and non believers. However, I hope that my I-Search has shed a new light on aliens and such. I tried to capture both sides of the arguments in my paper, but I have the feeling that my sci-fi side got in the way sometimes. What can I say? I am just so passionate about this topic I find it hard to control myself. This is another reason why I can’t bring myself to answer my overall question. I gave you the information and a different point of view on things. Now you make the choice; are those lights in the sky UFO headlights, or nothing more than stars? Are those footprints from a bear, or something not from around here? Am I an alien in disguise, or nothing more than a 7th grade student with an odd name and strange attitude?

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