Exoplanets Extraterrestrial life

We are told: There are 300 million potentially inhabitable worlds in the galaxy

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In the Milky Way alone:

The researchers confined their search to exoplanets between 0.5 and 1.5 times the mass of Earth and stars between 4,800 and 6,300 Kelvin (4,530 to 6,025 degrees Celsius; 8,180 and 10,880 degrees Fahrenheit) in effective temperature (the Sun has an effective temperature of 5,780 Kelvin).

The team found that around half these stars, based on their calculations, should have rocky, Goldilocks-zone exoplanets. That’s roughly 300 million stars in the Milky Way, based on our current counts.

Michelle Starr, “There Could Be at Least 300 Million Potentially Habitable Worlds in The Milky Way” at ScienceAlert

And yet we never hear from anyone living there. Here’s a list, just for fun, of eight possible reasons:

1.Are the Aliens We Never Find Obeying Star Trek’s Prime Directive? The Directive is, don’t interfere in the evolution of alien societies, even if you have good intentions. Assuming the aliens exist, perhaps it’s just as well, on the whole, if they do want to leave us alone. They could want to “fix” us instead…

2.How can we be sure we are not just an ET’s simulation? A number of books and films are based on the idea. Should we believe it? We make a faith-based decision that logic and evidence together are reasonable guides to what is true. Logical possibility alone does not make an idea true.

3.Did the smart machines destroy the aliens who invented them? That’s the Berserker hypothesis. A smart deadly weapon could well decide to do without its inventor and, lacking moral guidance, destroy everything in sight. Extinction of a highly advanced civilization by its own lethal technology may be more likely than extinction by natural disaster. They could control nature.

4.Researchers: The aliens exist but they are sleeping… And we wake them at our peril. The Aestivation hypothesis is that immensely powerful aliens are waiting in a digitized form for the universe to cool down from the heat their computers emit.

5.Maybe there are just very few aliens out there… The Rare Earth hypothesis offers science-based reasons that life in the universe is rare. Even if life is rare in the universe, Earth may be uniquely suited to space exploration, as the Privileged Planet hypothesis suggests.

6.Does science fiction hint that we are actually doomed? That’s the implication of an influential theory as to why we never see extraterrestrials. Depending how we read the Kardashev scale, civilizations disappear somewhere between where we are now and the advanced state needed for intergalactic travel.

7.Space aliens could in fact be watching us. Using the methods we use to spot exoplanets. But if they are technologically advanced, wouldn’t they be here by now? The Hart-Tipler conjecture (they don’t exist) is, of course, very unpopular in sci-fi. But let’s confront it, if only to move on to more promising speculations.

  1. Is the brief window for finding ET closing? According to some scenarios, we could be past our best-before date for contacting aliens. Of course, here we are assuming a law of nature as to how long civilizations last. Can someone state that law? How is it derived?

7 Replies to “We are told: There are 300 million potentially inhabitable worlds in the galaxy

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Our Solar System is but 4.5 bn years old. It’s weird to think that some of the cosmic ray particles we are now detecting set out on their journey before our Solar System even existed. It’s also possible whole alien civilizations have risen and fallen long before we appeared on the scene.

    If an alien civilization that began transmitting radio signals 50,000 years ago but they are 100,000 light-years away, it’s going to be another 50,000 years before we start hearing anything. The Universe is a very big place.

    Aliens could be among us now. That’s a staple of science-fiction, think of The Day The Earth Stood Still or Star Trek: Insurrection.

    If we’re just an alien or theistic simulation then all bets are off. We’re entirely in the hands of the programmers or Great Programmer.

    Whether we get to go out and explore The Final Frontier depends on how long we stick around. There are no guarantees and we’re not showing any real signs of taking the whole issue seriously. Of course, why should you if you believe there is much better life awaiting you after this one?

  2. 2
    Pearlman says:

    The strongest science caps the age of hyper-cosmic expansion to up to about 5M years and 5781 years ago the tightest chronology and sweet spot. Now w/ consensus requiring hundreds of millions of years for advanced life like Earth, and no motive or credible testimony that life designed, created, placed anywhere but here, the scientific odds of any advanced biological life out there, that did not come from here w/in the past 5M years (assuming there have been over 5781 years to date, that no one to date has proven scientifically) is about as close to zero, as one can get.

    reference the YeC Moshe Emes series for Torah and Science alignment.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    “Potentially” is the operative word. Any habitable planet with complex metazoans and technologically capable intelligent beings is going to have the same factors we do. The rotation will be similar to mix the gasses, provide a magnetic field and the possibility of plate tectonics for carbon recycling. It will have a large, stabilizing Moon. Surface water will be present.

    “The Privileged Planet” lists 20+ factors required. Location is paramount. We are just outside of a spiral arm. How many of the potential systems can say that? Inside the arm it is helter skelter, absent Manson.

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    All of the sci-fi assumptions start with a failure of empathy. Even if the aliens meet all the other silly assumptions about intelligence and technology, why would they WANT to talk to other planets? Very few Earthlings WANT to communicate with other planets. Probably a thousand of the 7 billion Earthlings find the subject interesting at all.

  5. 5

    The question incorporates the logically fatal flaw of assuming a negative has been proved.

  6. 6
    ronvanwegen says:

    Polistra: “Very few Earthlings WANT to communicate with other planets. Probably a thousand of the 7 billion Earthlings find the subject interesting at all.”

    Excuse me? You know this how?

  7. 7
    tjguy says:

    @3ET ““The Privileged Planet” lists 20+ factors required.”

    EXACTLY! How many of those 300 million so called potentially habitable planets meet all the conditions? Most secularists try to make it sound as easy and possible as they can so they normally don’t highlight these kinds of things. For all we know, NONE of these 300 million planets meet all the necessary conditions for life to exist. The chances of any one planet meeting all these conditions due to dumb luck/random forces is extremely extremely low! And then there are all the conditions that we don’t even yet know about.

    Seversky says maybe they have come and gone! LOL! Maybe so, but maybe not. We have no evidence whatsoever to think that is true, but he is welcome to believe whatever baseless stories he needs to in order to shore up his worldview. He sounds like a true believer!

    As William Murray points out, it is impossible to prove a negative, so there will always be room Materialist believers. There are certain things that in the end, we just need to believe. It’s why many of us choose to believe in a Creator. For Seversky et al, they choose to believe something totally different. In the end, we all have beliefs and a chosen yet unprovable worldview.

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