Astronomy: Will We Find Extraterrestrial Intelligence

  • Updated August 26, 2021
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When one considers life in the universe, multiple theories come to minds such as extraterrestrials or merely the concept of planets within our galaxy. There are arguments on whether humans are the only intelligent beings in the universe. Scientists have continued to research, but their results remain the same. Insufficient funding to search for extraterrestrials have discouraged most scientists to discontinue their study. Some believe the risk of seeking extraterrestrial life is too high, because of multiple false alarms during the research process.

The few researchers that have decided to pursue this research have spent billions of dollars, causing dispute about whether money should be spent on the search for extraterrestrial beings. Due to limited technology, humans cannot identify whether extraterrestrial life exists, leading to disagreements that scientists should stop searching for them. However, discoveries on Earth and other planets suggest extraterrestrial life could live in outer space, further encouraging scientists to continue their research. Discovering water is the first solution to finding habitable planets.

In recent findings, NASA has confirmed that Mars had a shallow pool of salt water on its surface long ago. Since water is a crucial element of survival, it can sustain life which could have died out when the water dried up. If Mars was inhabited by extraterrestrials long ago, then scientists cannot rule out living beings on any other planet in the universe and must continue searching. The search for extraterristrials must continue since Jupiter’s moon Europa has a habitat similar to the Earth’s with an ocean 95 kilometers deep under thick ice. Researchers cannot rule out life under the ice on Europa, due to similarities of the Earth’s environment. Scientists have discovered living creatures in places on Earth that seemed unlivable, so if humans look at planets that seem uninhabitable, they may find life as well.

This is another form of knowledge that encourage scientists to proceed in searching for extraterrestrials. Another suggestion that supports the existence of extraterrestrials is known as The Drake Equation. This was used as an estimate of the number of active civilizations within the stars. The exact number of stars remains as the only factor with an estimate of physical proof. All of the other variables of the Drake Equation still have not been identified. Scientists are encouraged by the Drake Equation to keep looking for extraterrestrials and pursue the missing variables in the equation. However, those that challenge the idea of extraterrestrial life, believe the equation is invalid, because of all the missing components.

People believe that if aliens exist, humans cannot realize it or know how to contact them since they are too far away. Distance can be measured by a light transmitting from Earth now that will never reach galaxies whose light took 10 billion years to contact Earth. An intergalactic limit refers to the limit of how far information can travel. It has been stated that there has been no reciprocating response signaling back since we started traveling through space. Based on this information, either there is no life with technology to communicate with Earth or life outside does not want to contact Earth.

Individuals believe if humans can never contact extraterrestrial life, then scientists have no reason to look for it. Budgets of space programs could be drained with no benefit if humans carry on searching for extraterrestrials and never contact them. Granted that finding extraterrestrial beings may not be possible, scientists have developed several types of technologies to help the search. The efficiency of modern technology has not reached the requirements to locate extraterrestrials but ingenuity motivates scientists to carry on with their research.

Previously most technologies used have been unsuccessful. But The Kepler examined over 150,000 stars constantly for about four years. Until May 2013 when a part of The Kepler stopped working and halted the telescope’s capability to receive accurate data. The Kepler was created to find the missing variables of the Drake Equation and to locate similar to Earth life planets. Technology scientists previously used were not efficient to travel far enough into the universe to send back the data needed to prove extraterrestrial life exists. Space programs cannot focus their attention on building rockets or space probes since they are expensive. They use more practical search tactics to look for extraterrestrial beings.

Continuing attempts that keep growing stronger trigger increased scope further into the universe. Radio or laser signals and technology that scientists now have or that scientists could adjust to having been the concentration of most search tactics. Experts keep tweaking radio and laser signals in hope to find data for their research. Laser and radio technologies are currently inadequate for finding extraterrestrial life, and it is questionable as to whether technology can ever be powerful enough to locate extraterrestrials. Scientists have developed costly technologies for the future, hoping to uncover extraterrestrials. Planned for implementation in 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope will examine the atmospheres of planets for proof of extraterrestrial beings.

The JWST will investigate for signs of methane, oxygen, water, and other biologically significant molecules in the atmospheres of other planets, by analyzing light from planets orbiting faraway stars, once it begins operating in 2018 (Fecht). Researchers recognize that modern technology has not led them far. However, new technologies being built like the James Webb Space Telescope have potential to work in their favor and aid the debate about the validity of extraterrestrial life. Assuming that scientists are confident new technologies will work, then it is probable they will carry on researching. As a result, if new technologies work, finding life outside of Earth would significantly affect life on Earth.

Potential contact with extraterrestrial intelligence will have an enormous impact on science and humans, which may be perceived as positive or negative for debaters. Religion may change if scientists find extraterrestrial intelligence. Extraterrestrial intelligence refers to beings outside Earth that can think for themselves, similar to humans. God becomes increasingly edged out of the story about the creation of life as science develops. The idea that God can be the reason when scientists do not fully understand an idea can be expressed by the term ‘Cod of the gaps’ (Smith). Suppose humans come across extraterrestrial intelligence that does not have the same religious beliefs as on Earth. Earth’s religions will be threatened. If extraterrestrials can grant humans religious information, then Earth’s religions may be forced to rethink some beliefs.

New religious beliefs may seem unnecessary to religious extremist, who would not alter parts of their religions. Despite this, others may believe the information is essential for religious development. Detection of extraterrestrial life will not change the lives of regular citizens unless they are extraterrestrial intelligence. Discovery of multicellular animals on a nearby extrasolar planet would be ground-breaking. They would help humans recreate the idea of evolution on Earth. However, Earth’s animals will still be unaccompanied in the universe, unless the extraterrestrials can communicate, or can have careful, self-sufficient thoughts (Smith).

Not only can extraterrestrial intelligence affect religion, but also the idea of Earth’s creation can be impacted. Supposing that life on the newly founded inhabited planet was created the same way as Earth’s scientists believed, then the information can be legitimized. While this may be true, merely finding living plants will not have a significant effect on regular citizens, because humans cannot interact with bacteria or plants to gain a vast amount of new knowledge. Assuming that humans cannot communicate with life in outer space, then only science can change. People may believe that increased scientific knowledge is worth searching for extraterrestrials; however, not everyone agrees with the idea.

Possibly, humans will never make contact with extraterrestrials. Chances that humans of the current generation will witness extraterrestrial intelligence first hand seems rather low unless aliens have traveled for hundreds of thousands of years earlier with incredible technology. Although additional intelligence may seem fascinating, one must also consider the possibility of failure of the entire extraterrestrial search. In short, it is possible that extraterrestrial beings live in outer space, but it may not be worth looking for beings humans may never find with modern technology. It remains a mystery as to whether beings on Earth live in isolation in the universe and whether the pursuit for extraterrestrials should continue, due to ineffective technology.

The two sides of the debate have valid points; therefore scientists work diligently to resolve the issue with the constant creation of new theories and inventions. If extraterrestrial intelligence exists, the culture and science on Earth could be significantly affected. Both sides of the extraterrestrial life debate have frightening results. People could either be alone with no one to save them from themselves, or there could be life humans would have to save themselves from.

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Astronomy: Will We Find Extraterrestrial Intelligence. (2021, Aug 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/astronomy-will-we-find-extraterrestrial-intelligence/

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