Are we alone in the universe? This is a question that has always remained a source of unending intrigue, which is understandable when you consider the enormous distances across the far reaches of space and time, of which we are but a fraction. |
The evidence speaks for itself: Our galaxy, the Milky Way, supports a mere 200 billion stars. There are 100 billion galaxies in the known universe, and some, such as the super giant elliptical galaxy IC 1101, with its 100 trillion stars, is considered the largest in the universe. If that wasn't enough, there may even be a multi-verse with multiple universes in existence.
Conspiracy theories abound, from governments being in regular contact with alien races, to NASA being accused of cutting a live feed when UFO's were spotted ascending from the earth's atmosphere, bringing fresh speculation about the existence of alien life.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been monitoring space for years and now famed physicist Stephen Hawking and his counterparts have unveiled their plans to pursue the search for extra terrestrial life by unveiling their ambitious Breakthrough Listen project.
The $100 million project will see the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia and the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, the most powerful telescopes in the world, utilised to conduct a search that will be 50 times more sensitive, with 10 times more sky covered than ever before.
But depending on your school of thought a few clues may be available right now. Michael Newton Ph.D, author of 'Journey of Souls' and 'Destiny of Souls', has conducted thousands of past life regression and between life studies by putting clients under hypnosis and found that the memories of his subject's past lives were not always confined to planet Earth.
Two of his clients, who consider themselves to be soul mates in their current lives, were found to have known each other in their former lives, and described being fish-like intelligent beings in a beautiful water world. Both recalled being there, playing under the water and rising to the surface to 'peek'. To avoid being confused with the possibility of this being our own planet, another client described in great detail of seeing three suns overhead and an 'unearthly' quality. An 'aquatic environment' that was 'warm and clear', so 'we could build our dwellings easier'. These cases arguably provide compelling insights that should perhaps not be dismissed out of hand.
As for the debate on whether we should be spending billions on outer space when the money could be better spent on much-needed hospitals, schools and fighting poverty down here on terra firma, it's widely understood within the scientific community that we inhabit a dangerous are of the cosmos and if this will prevent us from succumbing to the same fate that would befall the dinosaurs millions of years ago, then it will be money well spent.
Hawking does, however, wish to exercise caution, and rather than omit signals, they have opted to just 'listen', because as he puts it, "A civilization reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so they will be vastly more powerful and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria".
The chances of us being wiped out by an alien super race is unlikely to hamper the continued search for alien life. As more 'habitable' worlds are discovered, on a seemingly regular basis, this will no doubt fuel the un-quenching desire to determine the outcome of one of science's greatest questions once and for all.
Christopher lives in the U.K. and is the author and founder of Critical Eye, a website dedicated to debating societal issues, international affairs and other features.
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