How likely is it that aliens exist somewhere in the universe?

A new NASA mission is searching for earthlike planets, and some scientists think the mission will reveal important clues about the potential for advanced civilizations. How likely is it that aliens exist somewhere in the universe?

The greatest evidence that there IS intelligent life outside our solar system is that none of it has bothered to contact us. -anonymous text message

  • Robyn Bertelsen

    Given the odds…it seems inevitable!

  • Scott

    I think it’s highly likely and it’s likely there is intelligent life on planets elsewhere.

  • Andrew

    It is very likely. I know far too many people that seem to have come from a different planet for it not to be true!

  • stu klipper

    Chance of aliens in the Universe? 100% To quote Walt Kelly, They are us — to any and all life ‘out there’ we are the aliens.

    This along the lines of there being no ‘remote peoples’ on this planet — any such people that we deem remote know that where they live is the center of their world as they know it,and everyone else whether they know about them or not are remote …and alien.

  • Given the number of stars in our galaxy (to say nothing of the universe at large), I think its a near-certainty that life of at least a primitive sort is relatively common.

    Intelligent life is a trickier problem. I think statistically its likely there is a lot of intelligent life in the universe, but I think that its extremely unlikely that any of it is close enough to visit us, or to have visited us in the past.

  • Steve

    It would be extremely surprising if the universe has produced only one planet with life. It would be a little less surprizing, but still unexpected, if we’re the only intelligent life to have evolved so far. However, Roswell conspiracy theories notwithstanding, other intelligent life might be so rare that we’ll never find each other.

  • Anton

    “The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.”

    I don’t remember where I heard this line but it seems to sum it up pretty well for me.

    Apologies to any liberty’s I may have taken with that quotation.

  • Kelley Leaf

    Wait- does that mean there is intelligent life on THIS planet?

  • Robert

    It’s is virtually a 100% certainty that life exists elsewhere in the universe. Space is big. There are up to 200,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy alone, with arond 100,000,000,000 galaxies in the observable universe. That’s a nearly incomprehensible number of stars, the odds of our sun to have the only life-supporting planet are incredibly small.

    When we ask “Are we alone”, people seldom ask “What do you mean by alone”? If you’re sitting by yourself in the middle of a forest, with no one around for miles, we would call that being alone. Yet you might be only a day’s walk from other people. Even if there is life on our nearest stellar neighbor, it would take out fastest rockets many centuries to get there.

    We may in the coming years detect planets that have life. Most of them will probably contain simple life. Intelligent, technologically advanced life may be rare, but given the vast number of opportunities for such life to exist, surely it has to exist elsewhere. However, it may be far to distant for us to detect, let alone communicate with in the imaginable future. Even if intelligent technologically advanced life existed relatively nearby, an actual visit would be an endeavor which would require many lifetimes: people might leave on such a trip, but many generations would have to live and die aboard the ship before it got to its destination.

  • Jeff

    If all we are doing is listening and other forms of life are doing the same thing then how can we get anywhere. I understand the time it takes to get/receive transmissions but shouldn’t we be more proactive?

  • Noel

    Of course there is intelligent life on other planets. I’m sure the government knows this. I’m just waiting for the goverment to confirm this and I do believe they will have to someday.

  • Chris

    Very likely. My question is how many religions are there on these different planets? It would be interesting/comical to see what aliens worship. It might be us!!

  • It’s almost inconceivable that our world could be the only one with intelligent life. But we have to keep in mind that other intelligent species might be totally different from us – so different, in fact, that we might not even recognize them as such.

    Consider the example of dolphins and whales right here on earth. Several species of cetaceans have brains that are larger than human brains and just as complex, and there is plenty of evidence that they are extremely intelligent. Yet it’s a nonhuman intelligence, different enough from ours that we don’t really recognize it. If we insist on defining “intelligence” as “pretty much like humans” then it will take us a lot longer to find intelligent life than if we are willing to recognize a broader definition of intelligence.

  • Paul

    There’s an infinte chance that there’s aliens. If you define “universe” more broadly than that which was created in the big bang. There could even be an infinite number of aliens that are exactly like each one of us.

  • Bruce Sikkema

    There are an estimated 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000(10E21) stars out there.

    History as we know it is about 14,000 years, or about one one-millionth the age of the universe.

    Only the limitations of the speed of light prevent us from being inundated by countless numbers of LGM’s (Little Green Men), or BEM’s (Bug Eyed Monsters).

    Carl Sagen and Isaac Azimov have said much the same thing

  • Kevin

    Let’s hope if they do exist that they don’t look too closely at how we treat each other much less the animals of our planet. Otherwise they may annhiliate us out of self defense.

  • John

    I think that life exists “Out There.” However, the odds that it is sentient, space-faring and close enough to communicate (let alone visit) are rather remote.

  • JeffM

    That “anonymous text” above should be credited to cartoonist Bill Watterson as it is from his comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes”.