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Life on other Planets? Yes or No?

The answer to this question for me at least is incredibly obvious, especially in light of all the recent astronomical observations of planets around other stars and considering the huge estimated numbers of planets similar to earth in the universe. It's a matter of probability! Thus far of course, scientists have no direct proof of life outside the Earth, but what do people think? Y or N?

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ripcurldane 7 Dec 31

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The probabilities of life elsewhere in the universe is undeniable. That being said, It's unlikely we'll ever meet life on other planets, let alone intelligent life. Comes down to distance.

"The probabilities of life elsewhere in the universe is undeniable"

Very deniable; see my replies above.



As you say, it's just a matter of probability. It's a given in my mind, but even finding the most rudimentary microbe on another world in our solar system would raise that probability astronomically (no pun intended) to the extent that we could start talking about sentience.

godef Level 7 Dec 31, 2017

Given the sheer unimaginable vastness of the universe there is surely a high probability of life in a variety of forms on other planets within our galaxy and beyond in other galaxies. I think it exceedingly unlikely that we are the only life form in the universe.


Yes, I would expect life to crop up elsewhere. It might be foreign enough for us to not even notice if we define it based on life here.

Zster Level 8 Dec 31, 2017

I'm not so arrogant as to imagine that we're the only ones floatin' around !

Sorry. I didn't mean to tromp on your comment. I only really registered it after I commented myself. As Ed would say -- You Are Correct Sir! (or Ma'am).

@RichCC Not to worry ! (smile)


While the probabilities are superficially good, until we actually find life elsewhere, we can't say for sure. If the odds of life arising are low enough, we may be unique. Like the odds of a monkey typing Hamlet by chance. Doesn't matter how many monkeys you have, it's odds are so low as to be effectively zero.

That's true good point. Like quantum mechanics where anything 'can' happen but probabilities are so low that we'll never see them.

According to one estimate:
"Frank Drake's own current solution to the Drake Equation estimates 10,000 communicative civilizations in the Milky Way"


Then counting the number oif estimated galaxies which by the way keeps growing, currently at about 10^12 galaxies (

That's 10^12 x 10^4 = 10^16 = 10 000 000 000 000 000

Of course not all galaxies are equal, so this is a very basic way to find an estimate.

But no matter how conservative you get here it's still going to be a 1 with quite a few zeros attached 🙂


There is not a doubt in my mind given how unfathomably big the universe is. I find it highly unlikely that we are the only sentient life in our galaxy much less the universe.


There is likely life on other planers. But, without any evidence, certainty is not possible.


There has to be something living out there.


I put another post about why I'm undecided (read: agnostic) on the issue of life on other planets. I'd like to add another real big problem to the thesis of life on other planets:

  • How do we know that we aren't the first life in the universe? It might be that life is POSSIBLE on other planets but that we are the first to actually achieve it as it is not very PROBABLE.

  • How do we know we aren't the last life in the universe? It might be that life was very PROBABLE on other planets but they quickly self-destruct or the planets don't allow for survival such that there have been countless other races on other planets but they are all, currently, dead.

So these are two scenarios that we must take into account if we are to believe that at this moment in time, there is life on other planets: that we aren't the first or that we aren't the last.

The universe is surprisingly silent


"It's a matter of probability! "

There are several problems with adopting that philosophy:

-The induction fallacy: just because there is one of something, we induce that there must be 2, 3, or 4 of that something somewhere else. That is a fallacy that can lead to thinking that because there is 1 form of life here, there must be more forms of life in the heavens or in the afterlife, i.e. god thinking.

-We have no concrete idea of how life evolves. As such, to claim that it MUST evolve elsewhere is unfounded. It could be that life is really, really, really, really, really improbable and then probability works against us in this thesis, as in it's a one in a 10000 billion billion chance of life emerging, more than the number of habitable planets in all the galaxies (estimate of habitable planets at 100 billion per our galaxy, though again that estimate is suspect; estimates of galaxies in the universe at 100 billion).

-We've been receiving radio for about 100 years and so far no signal. We've recently started picking up gravitational waves and so far no "signal" from where we are looking. The planets that we have found (or inferred to be around suns) have put out no signals. The dataset is not extensive but so far, despite our best SETI efforts, we've no evidence of anything out there.

You're referring to intelligent life. The question is life, microbes, and viruses qualify as life so do animals and insects. There is much we have yet to learn if it is even possible to do so.

We do know how life evolves. Its the origin of life where the big question mark is. If I had to guess I'd bet that there was some kind of life out there, And when we discover the origins of life maybe we will have a better idea of where to look


Only the last point refers to intelligent life. The induction fallacy and our not know how life starts apply to any life, microbial and viral included

SETI would only detect life signals from relatively nearby in our own galaxy. The universe is far, far bigger than that.


It is true that if we want to get a signal from our relative present (say within a few thousand years) we could only get something from our galaxy. But if a species in another galaxy sent out a signal in the far past, say millions or billions of years ago, then we would be able to get the signal here today.

This is why I'm very excited for gravitational wave astronomy for it gives us another set of ears to the universe.

@TheMiddleWay In principle you're right, of course. But they'd have needed a very powerful transmitter. Not saying they couldn't, but would they bother, knowing that eons would pass before they could hope for a response? Agree on gravitational astronomy, but I can't see how it would be useful for detecting intelligent life. Unless they're busy building wormholes and that sort of thing, which would be interesting.


Why not.... Do I want to go there ? NO!


I've mentioned the Drake equation (whichever incarnation you want to choose) and the Fermi paradox elsewhere on The numbers make very compelling arguments.

Now the question seems to be Why is there no evidence of ET life yet?. It is becoming apparent that believing we are alone is a step beyond arrogance.


What @TheMiddleWay said with some reservations. I am 99.9999...9% sure there is life elsewhere in the Universe, perhaps in our solar system. I won't go the full distance because of the same reasoning he brought up.

@NerdyOkieDude -- The one with the Frank and Sullivan modifications taking into account Kepler and more recent data. Yes. Here's a slap shot I took at it just now. The article is well written.



It's only a matter of time before we get confirmation. But it will not be in the UFOs field that it will be confirmed, but after our civilization leaves the boundaries of our solar system. So centuries from now.


of course but how far away it is will be the difficulty


The Fermi Paradox suggests there is a high probability of extraterrestrial life. So, I think keeping an open mind about the existence of ETs rather than denying the possibility is the better way to think. When proof presents itself maybe I'll feel a little better inside.

Gohan Level 7 Jan 9, 2018

For me it's not really a paradox that there are high estimates for the probability of alien life and yet a lack of evidence, as there are such vast distances between solar systems. This may prove or not prove to be an impenetrable 'barrier' to meeting other life forms directly. However, I am hopeful that with improving radio telescopes and other receiving instruments that in the future we would at least be able to pick up signals proving their existence, signals that could only have come from another intelligence.


Fiction mimics reality. The movie, Avator, takes place on a moon of a gas giant planet in the Apha Centauri system. Moons of gas giants in our home system possibly harbor life. The question about life anywhere other than earth may be answered within the next couple of decades, not to mention other planets in other star systems. So what will happen is we'll discover life and Christian missionaries will be the first to go there and try to convert the inhabitants.

IF Xtian Missio9naries do ever go to another planet and try to convert them, then the inhabitants of those planets will most certainly have my deepest and most sincere sympathies and condolences.

@Triphid I'm including the microbial life that may exist on the moons of our solar system's gas giants. 😉 (My view of the absurdity of christian missionaries.)


"It's life Jim, but not as we know it..."


Life in the single cellular sense? Probably, but I'm doubtful that we'll ever see it.
Intelligent life? Really no idea, but I'd be seriously surprised if it was in our galaxy.


While still a matter of conjecture, I have to vote yes. With the overwhelming number of possibilities presented by the Drake equation, an estimated 11 billion such planets may exist just among our Milky Way "neighbors". Seeing there are now over a trillion galaxies in the known universe, the probability increases so close to 100% it'd be ludicrous to calculate it...largely because...

"We" are not special. The exact same elements exposed to much the same conditions which formed our "single celled ancestors" abound in the universe. Of course, this life may also have been formed and evolved in a much different way. The chances of evolution to sentient then intelligent life diminish the probability considerably...but that wasn't your question!


hey why not, its a big universe


Yes I believe in life on other plants


While I'm certain, by simple probability, that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe; I'm also comparatively certain that it has not visited us, simply by the distances involved.


No reason not.

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