Serie: Is there extraterrestrial life?
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5. Exo-life in our solar system
We don’t have to look far to find alien life. In our solar system alone are plenty of inspiring examples.
Let’s start with Mars. Steve Squyres, principal investigator NASA’s Mars rovers, said Mars is the most Earth like planet in our solar system. Perhaps surprisingly, mountains, volcanos and deep ravines are similar to Earth.
Additionally, it is widely believed that Mars may have had water. Seth Shostack, senior astronomer, SETI, explains how 3 to 4 billion years ago Mars had a thicker atmosphere, it had water on its surface and maybe developed life. Liquid water may still exist underground so life may have adapted and extremophiles may have survived. Let’s remember that caves, like those in the Death Valley, have extremophiles.
One element that makes astronomers be certain is the existence of Valles Marineris, a rift on Mars, 20 times wider than the Grand Canyon and as deep as Mount Everest is tall. Lakes may have flooded this valley and hosted life.
As for intelligent life on Mars, doubts fester. According to Percival Lowell, a businessman and astronomer, Mars’ terrain supported oceans, rivers and, although unconfirmed, even a system of channels potentially artificial because of their straightness and geometric regularity.
And how not to mention the popular image beamed back by probe Viking 1 that made many of us gasp.
As for Jupiter, many clues of life there have accumulated on Europa, moon of Jupiter. Europa may have an ocean under a thick layer of ice (16 km). Does this warrants suspicions for the existence of life? You bet. From what we found out from outside Ecuador, deep among the Pacific, fishes thrive without any sunlight and feed from chemicals being released from the ground into the water.
Also, Jupiter itself and Jupiter moon Enceladus has been observed releasing steam into space meaning they both have hot water and as we know from the Yellowstone park’s geysers, thermophiles can live in it.
Then we have Titan, the moon of Saturn. Titan has methane behaving as water does on Earth and it has Earth’s conditions before life emerged on our planet. Titan had 4 billion years to cook up some life; not valid reasons enough to host life, you may say? Well, in this case again we know of a Earth based example where life emerged from the exact same conditions; life emerged even from a mine filled with methane in Mexico. In this case centipede-like worms found it an acceptable habitat.
Finally, Venus: Venus has the highest temperature in the solar system but in the atmosphere is present vapor gasseous H2O and sulphur. By now you know the drill: scientists found extremophiles living in a Californian cave in flesh burning acid, and precisely sulphur.
“Alien Life” is therefore abundant in our solar system. What does this mean for the ability of life to emerge in the billions of planets across our galaxy and in the billions other galaxies? We have an answer to that: it means that life is tenacious, universal (pun intended) and NOT the exception that we humans like to think, because of our ignorance and pride.
6. Alien life: Exo-evolution
Our solar system has nothing peculiar that makes it any particularly different to the rest of all other solar systems. Our solar system is placed within the same environment of all other solar systems and abide to the same rules. Whatever makes life spark in Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Earth and more, well, the same conditions make alien life possible anywhere in the billions of galaxies in our universe alone; see “A crowded galaxy, a new model of the universe“.
We know that chemically it is thanks to basic building blocks combined with water (see part 1 of this article) and “behind the scenes”, meaning in lower layers of the fabric of reality it is thanks to a universal consciousness taking shape and rising wherever it can; see “The quantum foundation“.
Serie: is there extraterrestrial life?
In support of this theory we find evolutionary palaeobiologist Simon Conway Morris who believes that human-like evolution has taken place elsewhere in the universe. Professor Conway Morris goes beyond our belief of life and intelligent life being common places. He argues that other species go through a very similar type of history as the human race – with philosophy, religions, arts and more, just to give a few examples.
Simon Conway Morris’ conviction stems from the theory of convergent evolution, which claims that, as Science Focus put it, “random effects eventually average out so that evolution converges, tending to produce similar organisms in any given environment.” What Simon Conway Morris is essentially saying is that our human evolution experience converged in the funnel of normalisation making bizarre, extreme conditions become the universal average.
Alien life, then, is ubiquitous and is destined to evolve in an intelligent way (similar to humans).
Simon Conway Morris’ book “Life solution” tackling this topic has been publicly praised by none other than Richard Dawkins.
7. Space dynasties
Given the conclusion of the previous chapter, what type of alien civilizations can we expect to be encountering? By encountering we mean both if we were to travel to great distances as well as what aliens are we currently dealing with right in our home turf? We have been sighting UFOs for centuries here on Earth and the sightings have become more frequent and more widely recognized thanks to the countless reports from US military. (See article: The universe beyond the horizon 4 of 5 – Pentagon UFO Report – is there extraterrestrial life?)
To understand that as well as to imagine what the future of our own race might be if we survive climate change and planetary disasters in the next hundreds years or so, a categorization of the evolution path of civilizations (Elohim and other aliens as mentioned in the previous paragraph) should give us a good indication.
Astronomer Nikolai Kardashev of the former Soviet Union originally categorized different evolution phases of advanced civilizations in three types, mainly according to their level and ability of controlling and harnessing energy sources.
Type I – controls the energy resources of an entire planet. They can control the weather, prevent natural disasters such as earthquakes, mine deep in the earth crust and harvest the oceans. It has completed the exploration of its solar system
Type II – controls the power of the sun itself. They mine the sun. The energy needs are so large that it directly consumes the power of the sun to drive its machines. They will begin the colonization of local star systems
Type III – controls the power of an entire galaxy. For power source it harnesses the power of billions of star systems. It can manipulate space time at will
The basis of this classification is simple: each level is categorized on the basis of the power source that energises the civilization. And as we can see, the scale starts at a very advanced stage. When can we expect to get there ourselves, for example? Let’s look at the estimated timelines:
To reach type I → A civilization might need hundreds of years to reach this stage. Given our exponential technological innovation growth we might get there in 100 years, optimistically speaking; this, according to Michio Kaku;
To reach type II → It might take a civilization 1,000 years to reach this stage. To get a sense of what to expect from a technological standpoint of a civilization at this stage, we may want to think of the federation of planets portrayed in Star Trek where star ships are powered by the collision of matter and antimatter and can bend space to travel throughout the galaxy;
To reach type 3 → >Several thousands years or more will be required; a civilization may be able to reach control of the ten dimensions and travel through time and space. Anything is possible to them and their capabilities would seem magic to comparatively primitives like us.
The scale has been retouched over the years — Carl Sagan introduced decimalized graduations to help us track with ease our progress towards Stage I civilization. According to him our civilization scores 0.72 on the Kardashev Scale. In fact, we do not appear to be so far away from that first step.
As Carl Sagan himself stated in an old interview, much older stars exist who have been around for millions of years before our Sun; and they are most likely to have planets around them. If civilizations out there have an advantage over us of millions of years and knowing that it would take perhaps 10,000 to 100,000 of years to reach a Stage III civilization type, why it is so hard to believe that aliens with near infinite powers are observing our progress?