- Life exists on this planet only because it provides the ideal environment for carbon-based life forms to exist and flourish. When one considers that there are probably well over 100 billion planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and that there could well be more than 200 billion – and possibly as many as 2 trillion – galaxies in the known universe, it is perfectly rational to think that there are plenty of other planets out there which are similarly supportive of life, be it carbon-based or otherwise.
- The scientific community has been actively searching for extra-terrestrial life for many decades. The most famous organisation involved in this work is the SETI Institute, which was formed in November 1984 and began operating in February 1985. SETI is an acronym for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, and currently employs over 140 employees – a large number of which are scientists and educators – to operate more than 100 active projects.
- Technology has developed at a rapid rate over the last fifty years, and its continuing development brings the discovery of alien life ever closer. Our ability to send probes into space has improved markedly, as demonstrated by the fact that NASA currently has several rovers exploring the surface of Mars, and is planning a Mars 2020 Rover expedition to specifically look for signs of ‘habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past’ as well as ‘signs of past microbial life’.
- Although we often think of humanity reaching out to search for life on other planets, it is also perfectly possible that, if such life does indeed exist, and it has reached a certain level of ability, it could also be looking for us too. Surveillance projects using radio telescopes have picked up a number of interesting signals in the past year or two, and although they could well originate from distant black holes, one or two of them might – just might – be from alien civilisations.
Given that the human race has been around for several hundred thousand years, and our evolutionary ancestors for about six million years, it isn’t likely that aliens will make contact within the next two-and-a-half. Of course, some believe that we’ve already been visited by aliens, who kindly left us the pyramids and other impressive creations, but we still don’t think they would be likely to make a return trip any time soon – especially given that the electoral systems in both the UK and the USA is helping to bring our own intelligence into question.
If we leave behind the idea of aliens being little green people who have a penchant for uninvited probing, it is likely that at some point our scientific explorations will indeed identify alien life of some kind – most probably at a microbial level. However, that isn’t likely to happen before the Mars 2020 Rover project is underway, and it will probably be much later.
With those things in mind, we think that we will prove alien life in 2020 or later. Bear in mind, however, that if you bet on that outcome, and the big event happens 100 years from now, you may not be around to collect your winnings.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Alien Life to be Proven in 2020 or later – 1/7
*Please note, odds may change as the mothership approaches.