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They Are Out There

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Do you actually have to see to believe? Something could exist that you might not know of, such as a higher power, mythical creatures, or maybe even aliens! They could be hovering around the planet right now, and we would not know because we cannot see them. No one has ever discovered the existence of extraterrestrial life in the universe, so are they really there? The answer is no, not yet. However, it does not mean extraterrestrial life does not exist. Despite a lack of evidence proving otherwise, many doubt it; in fact, they argue that if there were intelligent extraterrestrial life out there, what are the odds that we would not have found them, or they us? Have they gone extinct, or is there another problem? Believers suggest other reasons that strongly support the possibility of an alien reality somewhere. According to them, it is likely that extraterrestrial life exists in the universe because of the high probability, conditions for Earth-like life on other planets have sprung, and there are several chances for new life to adapt, despite any evolution problems.

Other life in the universe has been a common fantasy for many, and someday it could just be a reality. Already there is a high probability that life has existed and still does exist. First taking into account the chances of human loneliness, Lonnie Shekhtman reported in an article, “Probability We’re the Only Intelligent Life Ever? Really Low, Say Astronomers,” that astronomers, “...found that the chances that a human civilization evolved on Earth and nowhere else in the universe are less than about one billion trillion...In our own galaxy Milky Way, the number rises to one chance in 60 billion” (1-3). The reason for such low probability, the author reports, is, “Scientists now know that about one-fifth of stars have planets in habitable zones” (2). Clearly, there is a high probability of other life in the universe - one in ten billion trillion - that we may not have made contact with. Even one in 60 billion is still an incredibly low probability of our isolation in the galaxy itself - and think about how many other galaxies there still are! Extraterrestrials might have evolved before us or maybe will evolve after us, and we just have not yet figured out how to communicate with them. Already there is so much potential for Earth-like life on these habitable planets, and there is no guarantee that alien life will even operate the same way Earth life does. They could live in completely different conditions! Rachel Feltman described in an article that, “About 15 percent of the stars near the sun are ultra-cool dwarf stars similar to TRAPPIST-1, so if this glut of Earth-like planets is ‘normal’ for such a system, there could be lots of potential targets in the search for life” (3). Therefore, there are numerous rocky planets for Earth-like life itself to spring up, and several more planets for other types of aliens that operate on different systems. Feltman also mentions how, “[TRAPPIST-1 and surrounding planets] may not have water” (1). However, not everything needs water. We only have one example of organisms, and aliens could be just the opposite. NASA’s broad definition of life, according to the Simon Fraser University, is, “A self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution” (Alternative 1). It does not specify that life has to follow the same structure and operating factors as Earth life, so aliens could still exist without having to perform our everyday functions such as eating or breathing. In addition, even if some conditions for planets are not ideal for any life, they could change as time continues. Jason Thomson mentions in his article “Are We too Late to Find Alien Life?” that as a planet is still forming, temperatures are too high for organisms, and the planet is peppered constantly with detritus; however, as time goes on, temperatures cool and collisions are much less common, giving way to habitable conditions (1-2). Clearly, a planet could change over time to allow life to evolve, such as cooling down, warming up, developing an atmosphere, etc. Some say aliens went extinct before evolving enough to survive, such as Professor Lineweaver when he told Space how, “...the vast majority of fossils in the universe will be from extinct microbial life, not from multicellular species such as dinosaurs or humanoids that take billions of years to evolve” (Thomson 2). However, it is not guaranteed that multicellular organisms would take so long to evolve. There could be an extraterrestrial species that evolves quicker than human life. We do not have enough evidence to support that their evolution period would be longer or similar in length than ours, as we just have Earth life to base off of. Besides, we have not finished exploring the universe yet, so there is always the chance that life is still evolving, or is evolving more quickly than Earth life is.

Extraterrestrial life potentially exists in the universe, even if we may not have found it yet. Many doubt it, but even skeptics cannot circumvent the high probability of life, the amount of habitable conditions for Earth life to develop on other planets, and how many opportunities there are for different life to adapt. Life does not always have to follow Earth’s example. Just as Earth life is all different from each other, an alien species could easily deviate from the makeup and needs of Earth life. So, to ask again, is seeing really believing? Are these supposedly reclusive aliens really there? There is a surefire answer to these questions, even if we may never know.

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