January 07, 2013, 8:32 PM —
Every once in awhile I write something making fun of what I consider to be silly beliefs regarding extraterrestrials or other space-related phenomena. For example, claims that:
* Video footage from the Curiosity Rover shows evidence of rats on Mars.
* There's a fierce ongoing war off Antarctica between various naval forces and a race of aliens that have built undersea bases for their UFOs. (Which, you know, makes so much sense.)
Usually I get at least one comment from someone accusing me of being "ignorant" of this or that, and then linking to some UFO site that is supposed to "set me straight."
Problem is, these people are arguing against something I never wrote. Nowhere have I ever written that I don't believe UFOs exist. I'm entirely open to that possibility. I just don't believe there's a war with aliens going on now in Antarctica. One would think there'd be some kind of documented evidence of these skirmishes. It's a small world, after all.
The rat thing is just stupid.
But to me the most ridiculous belief of all in the space realm is that the only life to be found in this vast universe is right here on planet Earth. In all the infinite universe! What would make anyone conclude that an entire universe exists with life nowhere else but here? Is it insecurity? Myopia? Arrogance?
Research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics based on data gathered from the Kepler space telescope underscores how unfathomable this belief is.
The scientists estimate that there are at least 17 billion planets in the Milky Way -- just our galaxy alone -- about the size of Earth. And there are about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way alone, they say. Further, the Milky Way is one of hundreds of billions of galaxies.
But let's just stick with the 17 billion (minimum) planets in our galaxy that are roughly the size of Earth. If we conservatively guess that only one out of 1 million contain life, that means at least 17,000 planets in the Milky Way are
All I can say is if it turns out that, in this vast and limitless universe, the only planet where life exists is right here on Earth, well, talk about a waste of space.
If any readers would like to make the case that there is no life anywhere else but on Earth, the comments section is below. But "how come we haven't found any yet?" doesn't count. After all, when it comes to space, we're not even out of the womb yet.