Ok, this one is kind of fun. Aliens. Where are they? I mean they’re here right? Not so fast. Lets get this science lesson out of the way right here and now.
This is the Milky Way:
So there you have it. That’s us tucked away in a tiny corner of that galaxy. What is a galaxy? Ok, more science so strap in. Here goes…
We live on Earth, which orbits a star we call the Sun. Our entire solar system is a few billion miles across. Pretty damn big but paltry compared to the big stuff. So our solar system is what is orbiting the center of the milky way. Now, Earth goes around the Sun once every 365 days. Our Sun orbits the galactic center once every 250,000,000 years (give or take. I mean really, what’s million years here or there). So in comparison, our solar system is a spec of dust. The galaxy we live in is some 100,000 light years across. That’s the distance light travels in ONE Earth calendar year. It’s around 10,000,000,000,000km. So to get the distance across the galaxy, add six more 0s to that number for a whopping 10,000,000,000,000,000,000km across. Ten quadrillion kilometers (or 6 quadrillion miles). Yes. It’s a very very big place. Even so it’s tiny compared to the Universe. We’re done with that stuff for now. We’ll focus on the local area around Earth.
Tinfoil hats at the ready!
Aliens, right? They’re here, right? Ok, like I said before – hold the phone. Think about this. The nearest star to us is 25 TRILLION miles away. Traversing interstellar space would be a mind boggling feat. We can’t even begin to comprehend the technologies that would have to be employed for such a journey. The space craft would be massive, supporting generations of their species perhaps. It’d also move very fast I imagine. So that’s why the stories of bizarre lights and little zippy dots caught on camera really make me roll my eyes. Think about it.
A vastly superior species shows up and they flit around in the sky at break neck speeds then disappear. Uh, no. Hell no. I’ve traveled trillions of miles at the very least – I’m going to land and get shit done. It doesn’t make any sense at all. Ok, people that are abducted right, that’s a good one. They recollect the entire story and what one thing is missing? The evidence is missing. The actual physical evidence isn’t there. NDT (Neil deGrasse Tyson) said it best “take an ash tray!”. His point was that ANYTHING on a ship capable of interstellar travel would be worth looking at. Where is this stuff? Oh it doesn’t exist. Just like the aliens that took them in the first place. Moving along to my final peeve. Aliens were here long ago and vanished.
We’re awesome, screw this place and screw YOU!
So, yeah, they were here a long time ago and left. In the process of leaving they also took every single bit of their technology with them. Oh but they were nice enough to leave us stone carvings the vaguely depict that technology. Gee, thanks, asses. By the way, thanks for scaring the shit out of everyone with your damned outdated calendar. Looking at you, Mayans.
Get on with it…
So that leaves me with this final note: I believe life exists elsewhere. Mathematically speaking it just has to be true. Hydrogen, Helium, Carbon and Oxygen are extremely abundant in the Universe. We just happen to be made of those elements (minus the helium because that’s just for silly voices, duh).
So in a Universe chock full o’ ingredients with hundreds of billions of stars JUST in our galaxy, we’d be fools to assume we’re special enough to be alone. We are special as I think everything is special in its own way. We’re amazing because we actually CAN understand the Universe if we open our minds to it. That’s the real trick though. Some people refuse to let that knowledge in or deny it.
I’m not saying you can’t have faith and all. Sure, have it and let it better your life and those around you. Just don’t suppress information. Don’t feel you’re better or above someone else because your belief is better. Just be a nice person, ok? Also, don’t deny that the study of the natural world is a good thing. Of course it can be a double edged sword as can anything but most scientists have one common goal: to know.
Aliens might one day show up. I can’t know that and no one can but I have a feeling we’ll HEAR them before we see them. Even then, they won’t be talking to US but to themselves. The profound thing is that if we listen in on a civilization that’s even 100 years more advanced than we are, imagine the implications of that. Us + 100 years of advancement. It’s exciting and a little scary to think about. I’m optimistic that we’ll hear or observe something that indicates life elsewhere in the Universe but I think you can feel safe that the men in black won’t show up to zap your brain and make you forget the whole thing.