Are we alone? Why we look for UFOs and signs of alien life
June 14, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 21.5%. 1 min read.
Scientists have been hard at work for decades trying to find signs of other life in the galaxy. When answers aren't available on UFOs and other phenomena, popular culture fills in the gaps with our collective imagination.
Astrophysicist Frank Drake, who formulated the equation way back in 1961, said it's really a way of showing "all the things you needed to know to predict how hard it's going to be to detect extraterrestrial life. "
"It's a curious thing that for as long as we've imagined extraterrestrials, they look pretty much just like us," observed Chris Impey, a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona.
"When you know that people aren't telling you everything they know, you start filling in the blanks yourself," said Impey.
Popular culture filled in the blanks, giving expression to UFOs and their otherworldly passengers in vehicles such as ComicCon, movies such as "Independence Day" and "E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and the classic television series "Star Trek" with its bold search for new life and new civilizations.
Granted, most space scientists don't share the view that extraterrestrial life is going to arrive on Earth via spacecraft in humanoid form.
That doesn't mean that space scientists aren't serious in their search for extraterrestrial life.
"It's very unlikely that life has evolved in only one place in the entirety of the cosmos — the sorts of physical processes that had to occur on the early Earth are probably things that have happened countless other times on distant worlds. "