Our galaxy is destined to live for an additional 2 million years, the scientists predict, before it is scheduled to collide with Andromeda. During this process, billions of stars – and intelligent life forms – may have perished.
Giordano Bruno could have said that, if he had been let to stay alive by the Vatican.
Michio Kaku, the physicist who penned the mind-boggling Physics of the Impossible, fallaciously described the cause of why Bruno, a Naples-born Dominican Friar, was hung upside down, stripped naked, and burnt alive by the Vatican authorities. He thought Giordano’s notion of ‘countless inhabitable worlds in the universe other than Earth’ was the causa prima the officials had decided to humiliate him to death. Instead, his misinterpretation of Jesus Christ as ‘an unusually skillful magician’, rather as a ‘Messiah’, was the main motive. Nevertheless, the former must also have made him labelled by the masses, the mad man of 16th century. While some Europeans were so obdurate, and still struggling with the millennia-old theory that Earth was a ‘perfect cube’, why on earth did a priest like this heave in sight out of the blue? Actually, to be more precise, the exact question had better be in this form: why on earth was a priest like this born in an era where societies had not been fully ‘enlightened’? Hobson’s choice. The destiny had already designated him as the ‘martyr’ behind the modern science, whose revenge got paid only after it got near to the omega of 20th century, when the trend of ‘exoplanets’ gradually kickstarted.
“I’m not as ugly as they pictured me. Or is this my punishment, that they have to describe me as unhandsome as possible?”
Bruno’s far-stretching imagination, nevertheless, prevails the main point of the debate about whether ET is really existent. Countless theories have been formulated, but no one seems able to satisfy the most fundamental basis for our centuries-old curiosity: are we alone in the universe? Are we, within the identifiable radius of 13.5 billion light years, the sole, legitimate heirs of this null, void, stygian, enigmatic cosmos? Are we the only ‘smartest’ species the so-called ‘Great Creator’ has ever designated? Anyway, have we ever asked this question: are we actually the Creator’s ‘industrial by-product’? It sounds too miserable, I think.
Let me reminisce back to an article published in The Telegraph 3 years prior. Alan Boss, professor of astronomy based in Carnegie Institution, Washington D.C., forecast the number of galaxies, scattered within that given set of radius, must be approximately 100 billion. Suppose every galaxy, in average, contains 1 trillion stars. Multiply them, and we’ve got stars 10 times as many as the number of sands available on all the planet’s shores (let’s get stuck again at statistical numbing). Nevertheless, Boss had a sanguine estimation: every star must also have contained, in minimum, one Earth-like planet capable of sustaining life, particularly that for mankind. Does he indicate the universe has been overwhelmed by 100 billion trillion (just summarize, 100 sextillion) intelligent life forms? Were it scientifically proven, get ourselves ready for the roller-coaster wild ride of imagination. Is it possible if there were beings who could construct Death Star like in Star Wars? Who knows? Is it possible that creatures like The Prawns in District 9 exist? Only if they were to come here and applied for political asylum (except in South Africa). Or aliens which have intercourse by their mouths? Or strange monsters eating from their (expletive!) anuses? The definite answer, and the definite aliens we have longed for any encounter, is probably attainable, ironically, only centuries after we kick our own buckets.
Carl Sagan himself has even more intricate numismatics to speak out. As though he did not want to be outdone, he formulated himself his own probability: 1 trillion galaxies 13.5 billion light years after the ‘Big Bang’. Or probably, he magnified the scale, 3 trillion. And multiply that with 1 trillion stars for each galaxy. And we’ve got a massively sesquipedalian statistical range, from 1 to 3 trillion trillion suns, and possibly, equivalent number of Earths within. The numbers seriously make my head do merry-go-round.
“Super Junior would like to honor Mr.Carl Sagan, for all the numismatical confusion he’s created in mentioning ‘million, billion, trillion’, therefore we’ll perform a song, which instead of being titled ‘Mr.Simple’, renamed as simply ‘Mr.Trillion’. We plan to play this commemorative song at Mr.Ben Bernanke as well.”
And again in 2010, bulk of the scientists (and the journalists) informally reached consensus that there might be 200 more sextillion stars than Boss had previously ‘calculated’. Is the ‘300 billion trillion’ numeral satisfying enough? Seems like there’s never an obvious end to the numerical units, and the continuous exponential growth in estimated numbers. This is our pity that we are here, back on Earth, so far only able to poke with and make conjectures about all the mind-boggling, too-far-stretching estimates, as though bringing us beyond the universe to observe the realm itself. Why won’t we simplify the figure, or modestly substitute all these wrecking statistics with ‘countless’, open-and-shut, instead, or whatever terms synonymous with the former?
Stop minding our Ps and Qs around statistics. Think about the slightest eventuality were it mankind’s time to make contact with the extraterrestrial creatures. What would they think about us? What would they opine about our intelligence, physical shapes, sexes, technological progress, and most importantly, our faith? Are they going to partner with us, as pleaded by the Scientologists, who claimed us descendants of whatever intergalactic species billions of years ago? Or are they going to recognize and classify us, instead, as their own ‘animal kingdom’? Let me describe the best – and the worst – contingent outcomes resulted from our future contact.
For sure we aspire for the sober, sagacious, solomonic advanced civilizations to help improving our civilizational progress, but having deliberated it, somehow, I have a jag of skepticism about that expectance. (or I’m reasoning using human logic, that I may be mistaken, perhaps?) Here’s what puts me concerned: can fish communicate with human? We, in this paradox, are ‘the fish’, and the ET, instead, are symbolized as ‘human beings’. Even before we attempt to communicate with them, they may have already treated us as their special delicacies, not because they don’t care what we’re talking about. Perhaps they don’t even have the foggiest ideas that we are talking to them. Is that possible in the very far future? Who knows?
“eiehusseueuoaoaoaoaooeospepai euuuauaheiiaoeja euuhaheu?” (“May I know how to make use of your most sophisticated weapons, Your Majesty?”)
“suehaiepopei sueujaueu papeioaoieoa!” (“You’ve disturbed my f***ing million-year hibernation, d***h***!”)
It’s reasonable enough that the Engineer wants to rip your head off.
Or the ET, thanks to their too-advanced, unexplainable-in-sci-fi technologies, may offer friendly partnerships with us? To provide us tutelage about their culture? About their historical timelines? About how they learn calculation by their own system? About how they expand into galactic scale? Or teach us about their religions? Do they have their own Messiah (like the Christians who pay obeisance to Jesus Christ), or the God they worship, just like we do?
Our knowledge, as can be said, is too infinitesimal, and overtly primitive, to comprehend all such questions above. Our modern civilization has functionated for not even more than 10,000 years. What has happened in the universe before the dawn of our history? For sure, countless numbers of life forms have emerged, perished, or evolved. They may have already developed cultures even the most sophisticated human minds perhaps will never comprehend. Perhaps they have moved into another dimension. Or crumbled. Reality, no matter what theories we have implemented and enforced for ourselves to believe, in accordance of our own logic, may prove us wrong. And the Pandora’s box is waiting to be unleashed. We may be right, co-incidentally, regarding all the predictions, or unfortunately, totally mistaken.
Someday, Bruno’s ultimate revenge will get done by itself.
Seth Shostak, researcher at the alien-searching organization, SETI, wants to share his most ‘realistic’ perspectives with you. I recommend you 2 of his articles that you can read about the probabilities of alien life, some of which may actually harm our existence on this universe:
1. He talks about the 6 signs of alien life here.
2. His worst scenario about aliens winning the war against us.