by Chad Wilson, Publisher
Paranormal Underground e-Magazine
Are there aliens among us? The consensus within scientific circles is no, but if you listen to what the general populace is saying, then maybe so.
Man has always been fascinated by the night sky; it’s multitudes of stars being a subject of speculation throughout history. And with the advent of science and the postulation that we may not be alone in the universe — leading to dreams of far-off worlds and intelligent beings that might reside there — the speculation as to life on other planets began.
Science Has Helped Discover How Vast Our Universe Is
Science continues to explore our universe, seeking answers to the question: Are we alone? Through the use of telescopes, both visual and radio, it has been determined that, yes, there are other worlds out there orbiting other stars.
Many in the scientific community have come a long way from the days of thinking we are alone in the universe. With the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, we have found out just how vast and wondrous our universe really is.
With further discoveries of exoplanets orbiting other suns, this through the wobble of the suns themselves, it might be only a matter of time before another habitable world is discovered. One exciting note to this is the discovery of a planet (MOA-2007-BLG-192-L b) 1.4 times the size of Earth.
Why is this significant? Because up until this point, most of these discovered planets, of which there have been 336 to date, have been huge gas giants that more than likely don’t support life. The discovery of this small, relatively Earth-sized exoplanet may be an indicator of a planet with conditions more favorable to life.
The Odds of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth
Still, that doesn’t determine if extraterrestrial beings have been to this small, blue world of ours. But as more positive proof of possible life outside our solar system is brought forth, the likelihood of said life visiting us increases.
Just as you only have a 1 in 195.2 million chance of winning the United States’ Powerball lottery jackpot, the more you play, the better your odds. The same can be said of extraterrestrial visitations; the more inhabited worlds you have, the greater the chance that other civilizations have developed the means for interstellar transportation, and have been observing, some say visiting, us for a period of time.
Judgment on this will have to wait until the number of possible inhabitable worlds can be accurately determined or direct contact is made. We do have the Drake Equation to give us probabilities.
The Drake Equation Provides a Starting Point
This equation was created in 1960 by Dr. Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His goal was to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy that we might come in contact with. The main purpose of the equation was to allow scientists to quantify the uncertainty of the factors that determine the number of such extraterrestrial civilizations.
The Drake Equation is as follows:
N = R* x fp x ne x fe x fi x fc x L
N is the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;
R* is the average rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne is the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fe is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc is the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L is the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.
But how accurate is the Drake Equation? Of course, we don’t have the answer to that. According to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, the real value of the Drake Equation is not in the answer itself, but the questions that are prompted when attempting to come up with an answer.
“Obviously there is a tremendous amount of guess work involved when filling in the variables,” according to SETI. “As we learn more from astronomy, biology, and other sciences, we’ll be able to better estimate the answers to the above questions.”
If you’d like to try the Drake Equation yourself, visit www.activemind.com/Mysterious/Topics/SETI/drake_equation.html and give it a try.
What Do Personal Experiences Mean in the Grand Scheme?
What has helped convince me of the possible existence of aliens, and their having visited our planet in the past and present, are the actual numbers of personal experiences. I find it hard believe that everyone who has ever had any kind of “E.T.” experience is hallucinating, lying, experiencing sleep paralysis, etc.
Even the infamous Project Bluebook classified about six percent (701) of 12,618 investigated UFO reports as “unknowns, defying detailed analysis.” This is not even considerng the cases worldwide. Even if one case is true, then we are left with the fact that aliens exist, and have at some point — past or present — been on our planet.
As for their intentions, that is something else entirely. All I know is that one case is enough to impact our world. I personally would like to know that there are others out there, regardless of what they might look like or think. I’d like to think that the human race is not alone.
Who knows, maybe one day soon, we will all receive an answer to the age-old question: Is there intelligent life beyond Earth?