Editor’s Note: The views expressed in the following column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the views of the Collegian or its editorial board.
Aliens coming from the sky has been a phenomenon for a long time. It became especially popular in 1947 when several people spotted an unidentified flying object crash in Roswell, New Mexico. Since then it’s become a popular trend, with TV shows such as X-Files and Ancient Aliens. Signs with alien heads can be seen all over Roswell, embracing the idea that their encounter actually happened. There are even people who claim that they’ve been abducted in a UFO and tested on by little green men. All jokes aside, you can’t deny that life exists on other planets, even if we haven’t found it yet.
On Feb. 22 NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets circling around a single star. This new solar system is the closest thing we have to finding life on other planets. According to their website three of the new planets are in the habitable zone, which means there’s a chance of finding water on their surface.
This new solar system creates the potential to explore a long dead ancient alien civilization. There’s the possibility to make contact with life that is already there and if there isn’t life on these planets already, we now have the opportunity to possibly see extraterrestrial life grow. Even if there isn’t life on these new planets, it’s hard to argue that Earth is the only planet inhabiting intelligent life.
The planets that rotate around our sun comprise a single solar system. Within our galaxy, the Milky Way, there are over 500 solar systems. In the observable universe, which is essentially anything we can see from Earth, there are at least one hundred billion galaxies. It would not statistically make sense to claim that we are the only planet where there is life because there is so much outside of our single solar system, let alone our own galaxy.
If you still aren’t convinced, take a look at the Drake Equation created by Frank Drake. Initially its purpose was to calculate how many intelligent lifeforms are in the Milky Way galaxy. The equation has changed over the years and now its purpose is to calculate how many active and communicative extraterrestrial civilizations are in the observable universe. Drake calculated that there are between 1,000 and 100,000,000 intelligent civilizations within the Milky Way galaxy, but so far we have found none. Over the years there’s been debate over the question if there is any truth behind the Drake Equation, because a lot of the numbers are estimations. Scientists today, however, still analyze it. Modern estimates show that there are 156 million intelligent civilizations in the observable universe.
People all around the world have claimed that they’ve had alien experiences and sightings. Crop circles pop up all around the world while people watch and try to find patterns. Even locals here at Colorado State have had UFO encounters.
People will question why we haven’t found aliens yet and that could be due to the fact that we just don’t have advanced enough technology. There’s also the possibility that our scientists have found them and our government leaders are keeping it secret from the public for our safety.
Non-believers will also question why extraterrestrials haven’t made contact with Earth. Who’s to say that they haven’t tried? There’s the possibility that aliens have already come and gone from our planet long ago and left signs such as the Nazca Lines.
If the aliens are millions of lightyears away, then coming to our planet wouldn’t make sense. By the time they arrived our civilization would be long gone. But this doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.
If the aliens somehow found our planet lightyears away there’s a chance that they’ve sent signals we haven’t picked up on yet. If aliens found us there’s a high chance they have better technology than we do and we just aren’t able to see what they’re trying to send. There’s still the possibility that the UFO sightings haven’t been hoaxes and that extraterrestrials are already observing us. And there’s always the possibility that they found us and left straight away with their war spaceships to destroy Earth and our existence.
Leta McWilliams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and online at @LetaMcWilliams