Skip to main content

Prepare for Alien Contact

I've not gone barking mad or joined some weird religious cult (aren't they all?). But I do predict that we will make contact with intelligences from other planets soon. Here's my reasoning:

There are approximately 100,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy (easy way to remember this order of magnitude is it's one hundred, thousand, million). Usefully there are also approximately the same number of galaxies in the universe. And assuming every star has about the same number of planets orbiting it as our Sun, and that the Milky Way is an average size of galaxy, that means there are around 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the universe. A lot.

Scientists have long debated the probability of life, as we would recognise it - reproducing, eating, etc - existing outside Earth. Most agree mathematically that it's a certainty. What they did was take all the components they believed were required for life to have evolved on Earth and then extrapolate what they know about the existence of these components on other worlds. This therefore excludes all possibilities of other life systems requiring, for example, very high temperatures, toxicity (for us), lack of solid land or water, no carbon or oxygen etc. The number they arrived at was still enormous. They then reduced it extensively to allow for evolutionary processes to have become established (it's generally believed that the simple carbohydrate molecule of formaldehyde needed to have existed before DNA could form) and for the planet (presumably, rather than its star) to have reached a sufficiently stable and benign (whatever that might mean) state for long-term evolution of systems like biological cells to appear.

That's all well and good. So given there are definitely aliens wandering around other planets somewhere else, why do I think we'll have evidence of this soon? Because we are living in an age of technology unlike anything your parents or any previous generation of our species could possibly fathom or even recognise. Today we can detect incredibly feint radio waves coming from the outer edges of the universe 46,000,000,000 light years away (and a light year is about 10,000,000,000,000 km - so multiply one number by the other to give how many kilometres we can now detect signals being emitted). 100 years ago our natural audible range was a couple of hundreds yards and our visual range was a mile or so. We didn't even know radio waves existed. So us detecting them, and them detecting us were virtually impossible until very very recently.

So homo sapiens has been around about 800,000 years. And we've no reliable evidence yet that any of our ancestors have ever encountered aliens. But maybe that's because aliens didn't know we were here combined with the fact that we couldn't detect very distant aliens until only a year or so ago. Our technology is therefore now, and uniquely in our history, capable of delivering and receiving communications from whatever aliens might exist who have also developed similar or better communications technologies (including inter-galactic travel).

We're the only species on our planet to have evolved technical expertise. So even if you reduce the odds of homo sapiens' communications skills being developed by a single species on another world, there is still a near certainty that:
  • Extra-terrestrial life exists
  • At least half of all extra-terrestrial species are smarter than us
  • They can now detect us because we've only recently been transmitting coherent signals that might reach them
  • We have within the past year or so developed the sensitivities (and continue to improve on them) to be capable of detecting them
So now is the time for contact to be established.... But unfortunately there's a rather large problem with my argument. If intelligent aliens exist thousands of light years away, and they probably do, then it will take thousands of years for radio signals to reach them, and thousands more for those signals to be responded to and received by us. So a bit like Vodafone. However, there are still a few possibilities that might mean we're about to be contacted:
  1. They've already discovered us and are waiting for the most appropriate time to communicate with us. As our technology advances day by day, that time must be approaching fast.
  2. We might still discover them - albeit thousands, perhaps millions of years in their past. Why not hook up your PC to the SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) processing network? I'll let you know if mine discovers anything!
  3. There are possibilities that certain future communication technologies will not experience any time delay between transmission and reception irrespective of distance. It's all part of quantum entanglement. We're not there yet, but within our lifetime it may become a reality. And if aliens have also developed it...


Post a comment

Thanks for taking an interest.

Popular posts from this blog

Phillips screws - yes I'm angry about them too

Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!). My gromble is abo

Introducing Product Relationship Management - it's what customers want.

Most businesses these days have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems which store and process vasts amounts of information about us. They use this information to generate communications, amongst other things, which target us to buy their products and services. CRM is all about how a business relates to its customers: Past (keeping them loyal through aftersales and service), Present (helping them buy through bricks and clicks channels) and Future (prospecting). Most businesses will at some stage have declared themselves 'customer-centric'. They will probably have drawn diagrams on whiteboards that look something like these: But there's a problem with this whole approach of keeping the customer at the centre of your world and the focal point for everything you do. Is it what the customer wants ? Of course companies who ignore their customers eventually go out of business. And those who treat their customers well, tend to thrive. But is it really in the best inte

Norman's Autobiography

The following is an unfinished autobiography written by my father who passed away earlier this week at the age of 93. Cheerbye Dad (you were the only person I knew to use this expression). You were a huge influence on my life. Thanks for taking the time to record so much that I never knew about your own life and those of our immigrant ancestors. Dad's the one in the middle ;-) The HorBraJacSac Saga by Norman Horwood  9th June 1926 (or possibly earlier!) - 27th June 2019 The Families' Backgrounds. We have four families; Abrahams/Horowitz/Horwood; Bralofsky/Braley; Jacobs and Tchaikofsky/Sacof. Taking my pair, the (Abrahams) Horowitzs/Horwood and the (Bralofskys) Braleys. They escaped from different parts of "Mittel Europe" at different times. Abraham and Rachel Abrahams, nee Gess, (Horowitz), had been in England longer than the Bralofskys, having come here from Lithuania in about 1897 as a married couple without children. It is certain that Abraham