I See Green People

May 2, 2011

Torah Kachur

Aliens exist.  They have to.


They have to exist because Alien was an awesome movie and ALF was pretty much the coolest cat on the block.  They also have to exist because mathematical probabilities say that there is way too many galaxies and Earth-like planets for life not to exist on other planets.


The Drake Equation was proposed in 1961 and calculates the possibility of alien life forms existing on other planets.

N = N* fp ne fl fi fc fL

It takes into account everything from the number of planets per star that are capable of supporting life (ne) to the fraction of planetary objects where intelligent life could evolve (fi).  Even if you are a complete non-believer and go to this calculation and plug in the least plausible numbers like that there is 500 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy - you still end up with a chance, however slight, that life exists. 


But then factor in that there are an estimated 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe this equation, with even the most conservative numbers, makes it a shoe-in for intelligent life existing on other planets. 



Ok, so other intelligent life forms exist.  This can either a) fuel your imagination of space travel and alien visits or 2) create a severe blow to your anthropomorphic ego causing you to reevaluate if, in fact, humans are God's perfect creation.


If they exist, why haven't we found them yet? 


Mostly because there are 100 to 200 billion galaxies and that is a lot of places to point our telescopes, if we could even reach there.  And because funding has been cut to the single most important institute that searches for alien life - SETI - or the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.  In particular, the ATA or Alien Telescope Array has been forced into hibernation because funding from governmental sources has been cut to 1/10th its former level.  Maybe we should just ask Trump for some donations, I heard he's looking for ways to show-up Obama.


Is ATA an effective use of taxpayer dollars in light of the recent economic downturn?  Possibly not.  Is it essential to our understanding of who we are and where we fit into the massive expanse we call the universe.  Absolutely. 



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