• Question: is there other living organisms on other planets

    Asked by coco5888 to Richard, Prateek, Liz, Jim, Amelia on 23 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Amelia Markey

      Amelia Markey answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      As far as I’m aware there isn’t. They found some evidence on Mars a bit ago that suggested life could have existed once:


      However the universe is huge and we can only explore one bit of it so the chances are there is life on other planets. the question is what is this life like? It may not be “life” as we think of it…

    • Photo: Jim Caryl

      Jim Caryl answered on 23 Jun 2011:

      I’d like to think so, yes, because if there isn’t, it seems like an awful waste of space!

      I do believe in aliens, but it is only that ‘a belief’; there is absolutely no scientific evidence to indicate that there is life on other planets, but we can conjecture upon the likelihood of there being the right conditions on other worlds, and argue that the universe is so infinitely big, it is more improbable that there ISN’T life elsewhere. These are more thought experiments, but I was inspired as a child by Carl Sagan, a great man and a great scientist, who was instrumental in the establishment of the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life) program, which I thought was amazing.

      Read more of Carl’s thoughts here: http://planetary.org/explore/topics/search_for_life/seti/sagan.html

      So I ‘believe’ there are hundreds of worlds out there in the universe that may have life on them. The life may be very basic, not so different from our own bacteria, but I would imagine their inner workings are quite different. I also think there may well be intelligent life out there – after all the universe is just so impossibly enormous, just about anything is possible. However, I don’t believe we will ever contact another intelligent race, nor do I think they will visit us. Again, because of the size of the universe, the light from any alien world may have taken a million years to get to us, which means we will be looking at an image of that planet a million years ago – any civilisation there may have long-gone on the actual planet itself.

      But I’m happy to think of other life, on other worlds, getting on with their own lives – perhaps they are wondering about life on other planets, perhaps they don’t, or perhaps they are incapable of doing so.