Is there life out there, beyond the microbes we’ve sent to the Moon and Mars? This question has important implications for us here on Earth. Will we find alien life in the stars, or is it more likely to find us? Are we being watched, or are we looking out into a vast, empty universe, alone?
Since the answer to that question depends upon a number of still-unknowns, its hard to give this question a real answer. But there are some things we can say for sure. Enrico Fermi and Michael Hart came up with some ideas, and they are summarized as Fermi’s Paradox.
You may have heard of the Drake Equation, which attempts to estimate the probability of extraterrestrial life. NASA’s Kepler mission has recently discovered that there are more planets around neighboring stars than we ever thought possible — until we know more about them, and about how life can form in general, I don’t think we can get anything useful out of the Drake Equation. We don’t understand the variables well enough yet.
This is a stable version of an article posted by Tim Urban, in May 2014. It is from a website called “Wait But Why?” ← direct link to original blog post.