People have been contemplating extraterrestrial life long before I have. The ancient Greek considered the possibility of civilizations in our infinite universe. Later, Copernicus’ model opened that door to extraterrestrial babble. During the space age in the 1950’s, the question of alien life became more popular as the Russians sent satellites into Earth’s orbit. We sent machines farther than we imagined, leading us to question if life had taken root somewhere unimaginable and evolved. The search for extraterrestrial life was born and the world has never been the same.
There is evidence for the possibility of extraterrestrial life beyond Earth. An analysis drawn in 2005 by a telephone survey conducted by the National Geographic Channel, SETI, and the University of Connecticut found that majority of Americans expressed that they believed there is life on other planets in the universe besides earth. This whopping sixty percent was in favor of the possibility of extraterrestrial life. The study identified two factors that influence people’s attitudes: education and religion. Americans who are more religious, measured by service attendance, are more likely to reject the idea of life on other planets. This may be because of the notion that Earth is a single spot where God focused and created life. College educated samples were confident in the discovery of life beyond Earth than the less educated samples because of their ability to question beyond.
Majority of Americans support this idea of extraterrestrial life and a group of scientists have dedicated their work to support the evidence that there is some sort of life form on a planet that is other than Earth. Search for Extraterrestrial Life enterprise, ETI, is continuing to look for life by scanning the galaxy for electromagnetic transmissions from extraterrestrial civilizations. By sending these electromagnetic transmissions it opens up possible communication if we find something. Finding them seems like the easy part, communicating with them in a way that we both understand may be impossible. The comparison between modern humans and the Neanderthals is the best analogy between us and aliens. Their language could be highly complex or extremely simple, there is no way to gauge what their language will consist of.
We may not be the only ones in our universe that are discussing the exploration of intelligence outside our planet. It is easily debatable by some scientists that this discovery could be the most important event in human history. In an article I read and annotated “Contemplating extraterrestrial civilizations,” the importance of this discovery surpasses anyone that is yet to come, “By inference, it would demonstrate that an advanced civilization was able to work through the myriad of problems associated with advanced societies, including global warming, pandemics, overpopulation, and nuclear proliferation. Furthermore, if a civilization can surmount these problems, presumably, its technology will continue to advance, in which case some form of interstellar travel could someday be possible.”
New civilizations seem like a back up plan if things do not work out here on Earth. New discoveries point to extremophiles, organisms that can live in severe environments, that could support life somewhere in the universe and not be negatively affected by threatening low and high temperatures of other planets. This tells us that if extremophiles exist on earth it is very likely there is something very similar out there in the cosmos. Extremephiles can exist anywhere but not without water. Water is a crucial factor to give rise to new life or sustain life on another planet. Water is a fluid environment that dissolves organic molecules so compounds can enter and leave cells, necessary to maintain life. Also, water remains fluid in a variety of temperatures rather than the alternatives, leading water to be more likely found and sustained in other worlds. Who knew how far we’d come in search of life beyond earth and hopefully one day it will happen.