Almost anything is possible. There is evidence of life once on mars from space rocks originating from mars with fossilized bacteria. It is more probable we have not encountered alien life yet because we are not developed a society as they would be. There are still prejudices and hatred on this planet, aliens probably see that and don’t want to deal with such a hypocritical life form.
It’s possible, but there are many reasons why we may not have encountered aliens up to this point. We assume that life isn’t going to develop on gas giant (Jupiter-like) planets, so that leaves terrestrial planets like Earth. They also must be close enough to their star to get heat but not so hot that they burn up. Water is probably necessary. Given those conditions, life must also have had enough time to develop into a society sophisticated enough to travel to other solar systems – we do not have this capability (yet?), so we don’t even know if such a thing is possible. Also, given the vast space of our universe, such societies might exist somewhere, but be so far away from us that we will never encounter them. And since the universe has existed for so long, they may have developed and died out – the reasons for which we will never know.
Also, along the lines of what jaksongitr said, there may be alien societies that are aware of our existence but have decided not to contact us – it has been hypothesized that they are waiting for our technology to be sophisticated enough/ for the human race to be smart enough for us to join in some sort of intergalactic society.
(I personally don’t think this is the case, but hey, who knows)
Good answer, katyr. My two cents on extraterrestrial life.
There are portions of the universe that are unobservable because they’re expanding away from Earth faster than the speed of light. These parts of the universe and beyond we will never be able to see because the light from those planets will never reach us. Thus, we will never know what lies beyond those portions of the universe. Thus, there are theories that the universe is infinite and that there are infinite number of planets, which raises a whole array of philosophical implications. One of which is the virtual guarantee of extraterrestial life, just based on odds.
However, even ignoring the portions of the universe that are so far beyond Earth so as they might as well not exist to us, odds are stacked in favor of a situation where a habitable planet with some form of life exists. There’s just so many planets and so many galaxies — incalculably many. The odds that not one of them has life is something like the odds of every person on the planet flipping a coin and not one person getting heads. It’s theoretically possible, but is mathematically negligible.
There are serious philosophical and spiritual issues associated with extraterrestrial complex life, and it’s up to each person to determine how they feel about the possibility of complex life off of this planet. However, from a strictly mathematical perspective, there’s likely some planet that hasn’t been eliminated, that is habitable, and that has developed some form of complex life.
When it comes to infinite space and unknown life forms, anything we can imagine is inherently possible. If one were to believe aliens exist or have existed, it is not unreasonable to think they another race created an environment that eventually became inhospitalable and lead to their demise. Most of the species that ever existed on Earth have gone extinct; it is surely possible that aliens have existed and too gone extinct.
It’s interesting you should phrase your question this way, as there has been a lot of (theoretical-based) mainstream work done on what an alien civilization would need in order to successfully travel through space. The Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev developed a scale (known as the ‘Kardashev Scale’) which measured the degree of technological advancement in space-faring civilizations. The degrees of development identified divided space-faring civilizations into three types – I, II, and III, with the last being the most technologically advanced. And here’s where your question comes into play – one requisite of becoming a Type I civilization is the ability to surmount any and all possible global threats, including nuclear war, an asteroid heading our way, and…climate change!
So, Dr. Kardashev might say yes, if alien life exists (and with 200 billion galaxies out there with each containing 100 billion stars, stastically it seems likely), it’s entirely possible it was wiped out by a global threat like climate change.
Considering that the nearest star outside of our own solar system is over 4 light years away, the technology required to contact or visit something there would have to be very advanced. Now, with all the stars out there, the 50th nearest star is over 16 light years away. With a species advanced and durable enough to travel the speed of light, that will still be a very long trip. This also doesn’t take into account that, while not truly known, some scientists estimate that crossing the entire universe would take 150 billion light years, which, I’m guessing, no species’ life span would allow. Talk about taking forever! The odds are pretty slim at this point that we’d connect with anything, in my opinion.
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