Follow Up to the ‘Daily Galaxy’ April 1st “Epic Discovery” Post

6a00d8341bf7f753ef014e604963a3970c What we learned from our April Fool's Day post – Epic Discovery: China's National Radio-Astronomy Observatory Announces Monitoring of 'Dark' Satellite in Orbit Around Saturn –"Transmitting the Universal Genetic Code" – was that many of our visitors were profoundly disappointed — some angered — that the post was not real.

Your response to the post was a poignant reminder that most of the inhabitants of our Pale Blue Dot do not want us to be found to be alone in the vast universe.

Here at the 'Galaxy' offices we believe that life will be found beyond Earth within the decade, and, indeed, beyond our Solar System. That ultimately, life will be found to be as common in the Universe as extreme life has been found to be here on Earth.


As Arthur C. Clarke, physicist and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey wrote, "The idea that we are the only intelligent creatures in a cosmos of a hundred billion galaxies is so preposterous that there are very few astronomers today who would take it seriously. It is safest to assume therefore, that they are out there and to consider the manner in which this may impinge upon human society."

The Kepler space telescope has mapped more than 1,235 exoplanets that revolve around a sun, in an area that represents around 1/400th of the Milky Way. By extrapolating these numbers, the Kepler team has estimated that there are at least 50 billion exoplanets in our galaxy — 500 million of which sit inside the habitable "Goldilocks" zones of their suns, the area that it is neither too hot nor too cold to support life.

Astronomers estimate that there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe. If you want to extrapolate those numbers, that means there are around 50,000,000,000,000,000,000 (50 quintillion) potentially habitable planets in the universe.

Sir Martin Rees, a leading Cambridge University cosmologist and astrophysicist who is the president of Britain’s Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen of England, said: “I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”

Or, as Loren Eiseley, America's great evolutionary biologist wrote: "While I was sitting one night with a poet friend watching a great opera performed in a tent under arc lights, the poet took my arm and pointed silently. Far up, blundering out of the night, a huge Cecropia moth swept past from light to light over the posturings of the actors. “He doesn’t know,” my friend whispered excitedly. “He’s passing through an alien universe brightly lit but invisible to him. He’s in another play; he doesn’t see us. He doesn’t know. Maybe it’s happening right now to us."

Till April 1, 2012.

With thanks,

The Daily Galaxy edit team

Epic Discovery: China's National Radio-Astronomy Observatory Announces Monitoring of 'Dark' Satellite in Orbit Around Saturn -"Transmitting the Universal Genetic Code"

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