Thursday, March 3, 2022

Life, the Universe, and Everything

The other day (like a month ago) I was thinking about life. Not how life as a human on Earth tends to be a constant struggle. But is there life elsewhere in the galaxy or maybe even the solar system?

I would be surprised if there's not life somewhere in the galaxy. Intelligent life? Maybe. But definitely life.

If we do meet aliens, they are either going to be cavemen or god-like beings to us. Why? The universe is 13.8 billion years old. Now, it wasn't capable of forming and sustaining life for all that time (it was too hot, there weren't enough heavy metals, etc.). According to this article, life was probably able to form in the universe for the past few billions of years. 

Humans have been around for only about 100,000 years (and for about 90,000 of those years we, too, were cavemen). So if we meet aliens, they are likely to be hundreds of thousands if not millions of years more advanced than we. Or be cavemen.

But life doesn't have to be intelligent. And there's where it gets interesting. On Earth, we have found life nearly everywhere. There's life in coldest Antarctica. There's life around thermal vents in the ocean where the water would boil if it weren't for the crushing pressures. These "extremophiles" live in places were temperature, pH (acidity or alkalinity), pressure, radiation, salinity, energy, and nutrient limitation would kill most organisms. 

So if there's life in places we can't fathom on Earth, what about off of our planet. Most scientist cite Europa (a moon of Jupiter) or Enceladus (the largest moon of Saturn) as places off Earth but in our solar system where life could exist. There's even speculation about Titan (another moon of Saturn) which has methane seas and water ice mountains. Someday, maybe, we'll find this life with robotic probes. Probably not in my lifetime.

What do you think about life off of Earth. Does it exist and, if so, in what form? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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