With a total absence of intelligent life in the Capital Hill region of Canberra, we thought we’d ask a Canberra-based academic, the ANU’s Dr Paul Francis, if there’s any hope of something with a pulse up there…

The search for extraterrestrial life has been going on in earnest for decades now. Are we any closer to finding intelligent life?
It’s pretty clear that there is no intelligent life elsewhere in our own solar system. But what about on planets orbiting other stars? If you go out on a starry night, it could be that every star you see has planets with intelligent life, and that aliens are staring back at you from every star. Or it could be that there is no other life in the universe and all those planets are dead and dusty.

He can't phone home because his iPhone doesn't work

Will we ever be able to learn more about those distant worlds?
Going to visit these other stars is far beyond current technology, so the only thing we can do it listen for radio signals from them. Until now nothing has been detected. But our current surveys could only pick something up if one of the nearest few stars had a highly advanced technological race on a planet orbiting it, and this race was broadcasting enormously powerful radio signals in our direction. So it’s not really conclusive.

Do you think we (the world in general, or Australia in particular) should invest more or less in the hunt?
This sort of investment is like the lottery - small chance of success, but potentially an enormous payoff if you get lucky. Most pure scientific research is like this. Most research will never have any practical application, but occasionally someone discovers electricity or silicon chips and revolutionises the world.

If we were to pick up signals from intelligent aliens, the impact would be stupendous. The aliens would have to be far more advanced than us (if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be able to detect their signals). We might be able to learn from them and advance our technology by a million years.

Odds are we won’t detect anything. But I think that the payoff is potentially so great that it’s worth making a small investment in searching. Odds are that this investment will pay for itself in technical spin-offs anyway. Right now, the world’s governments are not investing anything in the search for aliens (the investment is all funded by private donations).

People often fall back on the ‘There’s so much out there in the Universe, we can’t be alone’. What’s your take on this argument?
There are two opposing arguments: both quite compelling.

The argument for intelligent life in space is the ‘Space is really big” argument. The number of stars within range of our telescopes is about the same as the number of grains of sand on Earth. And that’s just the stars within range of our telescopes - there are almost certainly far more (maybe infinitely more) further out. And we now know that most of these stars have planets orbiting around them. Advocates of intelligent life in space would say “How can we be so arrogant as to think that we are alone - that nowhere else in this incomprehesibly vast universe there is intelligence?”

The argument against intelligent life in space is the “life is really complicated” argument. The simplest organism capable of making copies of itself (and hence evolving) is a bacterium. Once you get a bacterium, it will multiply, mutate, evolve, and before long (only a few billion years) you will have incredibly complex life forms such as Julia Gillard. But where did this first bacterium come from? The standard theory is that some random chemical reactions produced this first life form. But as any biologist can tell you bacteria are staggering complicated. How could a random chemical reaction produce something life that?

Sir Fred Hoyle famously said that the odds of a random chemical reaction producing a bacterium are like the odds of “a whirlwind blowing through a junkyard and producing a fully functional Boeing 747”. Only it’s worse than that, as a bacterium has many more moving parts than a 747. Opponents of life in space could say “Sure - there is a lot of real-estate out there in space. But life is so staggeringly unlikely, the odds are we are alone.”

What do I think of these arguments? We know that on Earth, life got started very quickly after the planet formed. To me this suggests that there is some easier way to form life. Perhaps there are some simpler chemicals capable of reproducing themselves and hence evolving (free-floating RNA is one possibility). These simpler chemicals can form by chance, and start the incredibly powerful engine of evolution going. If that’s the case, life would be common in the universe.

If you do think there’s a chance of contact, how do you think we should prepare for that?
If there is life in space, odds are overwhelmingly that it will be either much more advanced than us, or much less advanced than us. It’s taken over four billion years for humans to evolve. If an alien species evolved even 10 per cent faster, or their planet formed 10 per cent earlier, then they would be 400 million years more advanced than us. That’s as much time as separates us from slime molds. Try to imagine aliens that more advanced than we are!

Would they be interested in talking with us? I doubt it. When did you last have a conversation with some fungus? And star wars are unlikely - and would be very short if they took place. If they were more advanced, we’d lose in seconds, and if we were more advanced, beating them would be about as demanding as cleaning the shower.

So I think we should just listen and not talk to them. Odds are any species that advanced would be benevolent (otherwise they would have destroyed themselves eons ago) but you don’t want to take even a tiny risk here, where the consequences could be so dire.

I don’t know how the human race would respond to learning that we are not alone. History is full of examples of peoples demoralised and destroyed by contact with other more technologically advanced peoples. But there are counter-examples - like the way the Japanese responded to their opening up to the world in the Meiji Restoration, learned the tricks of the West and beat the westerners at their own game, while still remaining distinctively Japanese. I hope that humanity is resilient enough to rise to the challenge, learn from any contact, while remaining true to ourselves.

Paul Francis is an astronomer at the Australian National University. His web page is here.

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109 comments

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    • Erick says:

      04:51am | 17/10/11

      I think life elsewhere in the universe is a near-certainty. Every few months there’s a new discovery of extrasolar planets, water and other basic compounds in space, and so on. On a deeper level, the universe seems to be inclined to create life (look up the various versions of Anthropic Theory).

      Whether there is other intelligent life nearby is another question entirely. We could expect any form of life that develops interstellar travel - even at very slow rates - to colonise the galaxy in a very short time, astronomically speaking. The apparent absence of such activity suggests we might be ahead of others in the local region.

      Alternately, our current inability to detect extraterrestrial life might be due to our own technological limitations. We’re looking for radio signals, but advanced civilisations might not use radio. We would be like a primitive tribe searching the horizon for smoke signals, and missing out on the Internet all around us.

    • True 'dat says:

      07:46am | 17/10/11

      Holy galactic crap I agree with Erick.

      3 flat-out uncontestable realities…. and an example for why life is the default setting for the universe:
      Those tube worms that live in undersea volcanic vents - right here on earth. In order for them to exist, they need an environment that would poison, burn and crush almost every other form of life we have. And yet there they are.

    • Maree says:

      10:07am | 17/10/11

      Eric: Particularly agree with your last paragraph. Alien life could be all around us, its just we are to primitive to detect it. In terms of scientific research, the human race at this point in time, would only be in its pre-infancy.

    • neo says:

      10:46am | 17/10/11

      Good point, and one I’ve been raising for years. We should put our sci fi dreams to rest and consider accepting the likely reality that we are the most advanced species in the universe, and that it will be us landing our space ships near a castle on some distant planet.

    • andre says:

      11:11am | 17/10/11

      hmmm…  Erick near certainity is that you have imbibed too many evolutionary stories..Why would life evolved o other planets ?, Because you believe that on this planet water and rocks can produce , given a lot of time of course, people?

    • Erick says:

      01:23pm | 17/10/11

      @andre - I will try to make this very, very simple for you.

      If life exists on Earth, it was either caused by something, or not caused by something.

      If life on Earth was caused by something, there is no reason that the same thing couldn’t cause life on other planets. If life on Earth was not caused by something, there is no reason that life could exist without causation on other planets.

      I hope that’s simple enough.

    • andre says:

      11:24am | 18/10/11

      @Erick
      simple diagnosis for you amigo : you delusion is ,that life can be caused by nothing and could come from nothing all you need is just some rocks and water..Mind yiou , we have not yet started where those rocks and water came from…

    • Matthew says:

      11:46am | 24/10/11

      Andre, Erick makes it clear that he doesn’t know how life started.  He’s pointing out the fact that it’s happened on Earth and therefore could (under the right circumstances) occur somewhere else.

      It’s not unreasonable (actually, it’s pretty common sense) that if something happens once then it can happen again.  Not only can it happen again but is likely to.

      The point is there is highly likely to be other life out there somewhere.

      The only way to determine what *might* be out there is to consider what we already know.  We already know life is possible (we’re here).  We also know that intelligence is different from animal to animal (we’re far more intelligent than dogs, most people anyway, and even amongst breeds of dogs there’s considered different levels of intelligence).

      Based on those 2 assumptions, it’s possible that there’s life out there and that it’s more intelligent than us.  Of course, how possible is dependant on the size of the universe (and what’s past the universe).  Unfortunately contact with other living species is unlikely in my time and I’m not sure if it’s good or bad if we did make contact though.

    • Mahhrat says:

      05:38am | 17/10/11

      Here’s a third option - life evolves all over the place, but like us, they mostly have a tendency to kill themselves.  Survival of the fittest, or whatever.

      Given the vast amount of time involved in evolution to sentience versus the really tiny amount in rapid technological advancement, perhaps there are space-faring civilisations out there who, being part of the 10 per cent group, have simply gone extinct long before we learned about modern farming techniques.

      That would be nifty - we finally get to the stars, only to discover remnants of millions of civs, all going one after the other, no two planets evolving their life in close enough proximity in time or distance that they ever actually meet.

    • Tedd says:

      09:43am | 17/10/11

      “Survival of the Fittest” was not coined to refer to predator-prey or other life-‘n’-death scenarios.

      Herbert Spencer coined the term as a euphemism for Darwin’s term ‘natural selection,’ and it really refers to a sub-population of a spieces to ‘fit’ into a niche.  Like the various finches Darwin described.

    • Tedd says:

      09:58am | 17/10/11

      ” ... it really refers to a sub-population of a species *ability* to ‘fit’ into a niche” - a new niche, or adjust as the niche changes.

    • Anne71 says:

      01:04pm | 24/10/11

      We may not even have to go that far to find remnants of life - haven’t they recently found traces of water on Mars? If so, then it ‘s possible that some form of life - even if it didn’t evolve beyond the amoeba stage - might have existed there.
      It might not even be a case of “survival of the fittest’ - perhaps it’s like the seeds of a plant. They can be spread far and wide, but only a very few will land somewhere with the right conditions for them to take root and grow.

    • acotrel says:

      05:42am | 17/10/11

      Any scientific R&D is a good thing, but perhaps the search for life on other planets could be better directed at finding alternative energy sources, and other ways we can make our own planet better ?  I consider that it might be part of the neoliberal mindset, that after we exploit this planet earth to the max, pollute it -  cover it with concrete and houses, that we can somehow escape, and start the process all over again elsewhere.  I’ve previously mentioned delusional thinking on this forum - the mindset I’ve just suggested, is simply that ! We see the same sort of thinking, when people seize on the possibility of widespread use of nuclear power to solve our energy problems.  They never think of the legacy that would leave for the poor bastards that have to clean up afterwards.  And if the human race doesn’t succeed in the technology areas, it could be that future generations don’t have the ability to cope with what we create in our current era ?  We could be left with a burnt-out dangerous planet, inhabited by a lot of very sick and miserable people ?

    • MarkS says:

      08:17am | 17/10/11

      Listen to me young man, stop with this new fangled rubbish of storing grain & living in one place. Hunter gatherers we are & hunter gatherers we will remain forever. It is delusional to think that a better world is possible, to hope or dream of something else.

      Acotrel if you can look at the stars in a night sky & instead of dreaming you whine about pollution, you are missing something. When I was 12 a school teacher made a similar comment, I remember it still with horror. I was then & remain some 36 years later unable to reply in a satisfactory manner, this is a mindset I simply cannot understand nor do I wish to. That is one abyss that I will not look into for fear that it will infect my soul.

    • Chris_D says:

      08:34am | 17/10/11

      @acotrel, according to you, believing in something without proof is insane.  Your words, not mine.

      So, doesn’t that make anyone who believes in any other forms of unproven life in any other galaxy insane?  Until we have proof, of course.

    • acotrel says:

      08:52am | 17/10/11

      @Mark
      Heard a guy on Macca (ABC) last Sunday.  He said you can drive all a round Europe without getting bugs on your windscreen.  The pollution kills them, and consequently there are also few birds ?  So enjoy looking at the night sky and dreaming.  Living in Australia is different from life elsewhere, at least for now !

    • acotrel says:

      08:55am | 17/10/11

      @MarkS
      ‘this is a mindset I simply cannot understand nor do I wish to. That is one abyss that I will not look into for fear that it will infect my soul. ‘

      It’s a matter of deciding whether the cup is half full, or half empty.  What we need is to recognise the risks, and have an agreed sense of direction.

    • Chris_D says:

      02:56pm | 17/10/11

      @acotrel, still no comment on your assertion about insanity?

    • MrV says:

      11:54am | 24/10/11

      Regrading the insect claim by the guy on ABC
      The windscreen of the Frecciarossa I travelled on in Italy seriously disagrees with your anecdotal story.

    • Matthew says:

      03:03pm | 24/10/11

      acotrel, your thoughts are rubbish.  Cleaning up the world is important but no amount of technology (other than birth control and a shotgun) will seriously have an impact.

      Those that look up to the sky don’t do it with the dream of leaving this planet behind, they do it because they want to see the beautiful universe that we are such an insignificant part of.  In the end, no matter what we do here on Earth, our future is set.  Humans will be eradicated in no more than a few millions years if we do not get off this planet.  It’s well beyond my lifetime but the idea of traveling to Mars or beyond is not something that I believe we should give up on.

      Also, science has many branches with all sorts of research going on, but often overlap.  Technology from spaceships ends up in formula one cars.  That technology is then used to create lighter, more aerodymanic faster CLEANER cars that you and I drive to work every day.  Take money from the man heading to the moon and you take away opportunities for Greenpeace and the like too.

    • iansand says:

      05:56am | 17/10/11

      Drake Equation meets the Fermi Paradox.  Answer?  Everything is speculation.

    • Super D says:

      06:23am | 17/10/11

      I would argue that any highly evolved aliens we would happen to meet would be unlikely to be benevolent.  This is an avataresque fantasy.  If this highly advanced race were benevolent surely they’d be content living in a symbiotic relationship with nature within the confines of their own ecosystem.

      To make the leap to galactic supremacy requires greed as a motivator - there is simply no other reason for the utilisation of the resources required.  The idea that some other world will devote its energy and resources to achieve interstellar flight and will then arrive here, chill out and join the bong circle is as fanciful as the idea that a socialist utopia can be achieved on earth.

      If there are advanced aliens out there, they won’t be benevolent and I don’t want to meet them.

    • TChong says:

      06:39am | 17/10/11

      SuperD
      An alternative of your POV , is that any civilisation advanced enough to go interstellar, must have long ago worked out how to be harmonious, ,otherwise they wouldnt get too far as a civilisation.
      ( the idea is either Carl Sagans or Arthur C Clarks)

    • TimB says:

      07:16am | 17/10/11

      Perhaps Chongy. Of course if (to take a future Earth for a hypothetical example) the Americans got tired of being ‘harmonious’ with the rest of us, invaded & took over every country and united the planet under their control….Then they could head to the stars free of that annoying ‘harmony’ stage. No reason other civilisations couldn’t develop that way.

      Especially if they’re some sort of hive mind….

      Tyranids are going to eat everyone.

    • acotrel says:

      07:44am | 17/10/11

      @SuperD
      Any aliens we’d be likely to meet would be able to read your greedy little mind, and you’d be dead !
      BZZZT -fried SuperD ! ! !

    • TChong says:

      08:02am | 17/10/11

      TimB
      You read ACCs “Rendezvous with Rama”  ?
      The punch line -mere earthlings fears and loathings aint of much interest to the universe , specially to any one that can actually go ‘tween the stars,  is a bewty of an idea.

    • MarkS says:

      08:05am | 17/10/11

      @TChong
      I am a fairly benevolent, or at least I do not go around hurting people. But I do not worry about the life of the mold when I clean the shower. Alien is simply that, words like benevolent are meaningless when dealing with the alien.

      It was Carl Sagan, man was a nutter. Even humans do not need to be harmonious to go far.

    • Gander says:

      08:08am | 17/10/11

      “To make the leap to galactic supremacy requires greed as a motivator”

      So you are saying alien life would have to be conservative by nature and right wing by its actions.
      Perhaps the arrogant Abbott is an alien?
      It makes sense.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:13am | 17/10/11

      @TimB: Najal Stormcaller, Jaws of the World Wolf.  All the Tyranids are dead.

      Long live the Emperor!

    • TChong says:

      08:33am | 17/10/11

      MarkS
      Alien is alien -
      see Rendezvous with Rama
      Carl Sagan, nutter?!? what the ...?
      Alright, the fiction wasnt overly good, but Cosmos ,the book, and the TV series has to belong to the Classics .
      Plus , he didnt mind the ol’ smoko as a way of relaxing and sparking lateral thinking.
      Makes him a Super Cool Cosmic Genius. !  wink

    • Engo says:

      08:36am | 17/10/11

      Well there is one motivator - energy. We need energy to sustain life. “Renewables” won’t cut it, as most of our energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. One day the sun will die.

      Granted, in our case that’s a long. long way into the future. But what if we evolved to our current state only a few thousand years before the sun died? Would we not search for a way out?

      There’s also the small problem of the sun expanding to a red giant before it dies, frying the earth and everything on it. I’d rather be out of here before that happens.

    • Super D says:

      08:55am | 17/10/11

      @TChong - harmonious yes, within their own species perhaps or within their own tribes.  There is no reason at all to think they will arrive with a kumbaya view of the universe.  Far more likely they will be looking for more resources or other strategic benefit - this is what led exploration of the earth after all.

    • TimB says:

      09:01am | 17/10/11

      Correction Mahhrat: All Nids in a *straight line* die.

      The rest of them? By the Golden Throne, may the Emperor protect us all.

      Because if he doesn’t, we are royally screwed.

    • nihonin says:

      09:11am | 17/10/11

      Super D ‘If there are advanced aliens out there, they won’t be benevolent and I don’t want to meet them’.  I doubt we’re alone, but we will be left alone, what Alien race would want to associate with a life form that still hasn’t advanced very much beyond the late 1960’s, technology wise.

    • Super D says:

      11:53am | 17/10/11

      @nihonin - I absolutely agree.  The only reason they would interact with us would be if they needed unskilled Labor to exploit some resource somewhere, or perhaps they’d find us tasty.  My point is that any interaction would not be the act of some benevolent higher power seeking to advance the technological progress of our species.

    • JC says:

      01:04pm | 17/10/11

      Mahhrat is a spess marreen too? man do we have quite the group of DoW fans on the punch :D

    • Tubesteak says:

      02:15pm | 17/10/11

      SuperD
      The only problem with your theory is that once you are advanced enough to master insterstellar travel then there is little competition for resources anymore and thus little need for fighting because all the resources you need are already contained easily within your reach in your own solar system.

      Fighting over Unobtainium just seems silly when you’ve travelled light years to get to the planet and then can’t build a tunnel to the best deposit. Not to mention the fact that it would exist on a nearby asteroid anyway.

      Any supremely more intelligent life-form would have little interest in us beyond a curious “Mostly Harmless” oddity and any less intelligent life-form would be no threat to us. It would only be a similarly intelligent life-form that would be interested in trade and understanding.

    • TimB says:

      02:27pm | 17/10/11

      JC , 40K didn’t just start with DoW y’know wink

      But full credit to Relic for massively expanding the audience for 40K.

    • WayneT says:

      02:55pm | 17/10/11

      One only has to look at our own history to guess how benevolent an Alien race would be to us.  Think of the colonizations of early Europe, Asia, South America, America or even Australia.  The individuals involved then held little if any regard for the indigenous populations that existed there.  Why would an Alien race be any different when arriving here and plundering our resources?  They wouldn’t even fight us for it as that would be expensive and time consuming.  They would simply use germ or chemical warfare seeded from orbit, much how American Indians were given blankets infected with small pox.

    • JC says:

      03:41pm | 17/10/11

      @ TimB

      Oh yeh that’s the name of the game ain’t it (im an idiot you see)..
      Yah I know it’s being going on for something like 20-25 years.
      Not sure if i’ll ever get into creating armies and such, I just like the lore.

    • Fiddler says:

      07:00am | 17/10/11

      But will they be hot? I want to be like Captain Kirk and get it on with green women

    • acotrel says:

      07:48am | 17/10/11

      Beam me down, Fiddler !

    • nihonin says:

      01:20pm | 17/10/11

      Alien physiology wouldn’t be the same as ours, I hope you have plenty of different sized strap/slip/ease into- ons, available to suit.

    • adam says:

      07:40am | 17/10/11

      We seem to assume we would even recognise alien life as life if we stumble across it. We search for radio frequencies, light spectrum shifts, water or evidence thereof. We seem hubristic enough to think because life on this world is carbon based and the higher forms mamalian it must therefor be so everywhere else. I doubt we’d recognise it if it bit us on the bum.

      We’ll make great pets one day

    • Chris_D says:

      08:38am | 17/10/11

      @adam, agreed.  Even as a non-scientist it seems ludicrous that we assume that other life forms in other galaxies would be listening in to their FM radios waiting for morse code messages from a distant planet.

    • Lily says:

      03:31pm | 17/10/11

      will there be another race
      to come along and take over for us?
      maybe martians could do
      better than we’ve done
      we’ll make great pets!

      my friend says we’re like the dinosaurs
      only we are doing ourselves in
      much faster than they
      ever did
      we’ll make great pets!


      I love that song

    • Mark G says:

      07:43am | 17/10/11

      I don’t know why people have a fascination for intelligent life. Personally I don’t want to find a more intelligent life form out there and there is a simple rationalisation for this.

      There is a massive assumption out there that if we found an intelligent space faring race that they would be willing to pass on their science to us. Why?? What possible reason would they want to do that? I think that if we found an intelligent race that very little would change other than the knowledge that we are not alone. Why would such an advanced race (assuming that they are at least peaceful) even bother opening diplomatic ties with us. Let me explain. We share 96% of the same DNA with our nearest cousin the chimp. 4% of DNA is what makes the difference. 4% is the difference between a chimp and an intelligent human. The difference in intelligence between an advanced alien race (capable of travelling potentially hundreds and thousands of light years to reach earth) and humans (Who have only just been able to get into space and visit our nearest celestial object the moon) would be immense and certainly more that 4% in evolutionary terms (assuming that they have even evolved in the same way as humans). An advanced alien race travelling to earth and opening up diplomatic relations and giving us all their technology would be like Captain Cook or Christopher Columbus sailing to Africa to open up diplomatic negotiations with chimps or gorillas. It’s the equivalent of handing an Iphone to chimp and saying there you go, now you can set up a facebook account to contact us. Even if you are handed the technology doesn’t mean you are capable of using it effectively.

      All this assumes, of course, that they are not hostile or at least willing to leave us to our own devices. The most likely reason for a visit would be some form of colonisation, again assuming that they didn’t just want to kill us all. We all know what colonisation means from the human experience. That always goes well for the present occupiers doesn’t it?

      Overall, my point is that we do not want to get visited by a more intelligent life form than us. If we ever find intelligent life, I really hope that we find it as we are travelling the universe. Not the other way around. I would suggest that, given our present level of technology, we stop looking for life and start looking at ways to stop intelligent life finding us first. Sending out radio signals to help others find us might not be the great idea we think it is.

    • acotrel says:

      08:04am | 17/10/11

      ‘Sending out radio signals to help others find us might not be the great idea we think it is’

      OH NO ! !  -  Not another phobia ?

    • Mark G says:

      10:02am | 17/10/11

      Acotrel,

      Reading your previous comments about humans colonising space after we have screwed up earth with pollution and radioactive waste raises another point in my argument.

      An advanced alien race that has the intent on colonising earth may well have the same mentality. We assume that an advanced alien race are the perfect galactic Eco-citizens. How do we know that they wound just want to colonise earth because their planet is so screwed up or even worst want to use earth as a dumping ground for their pollution and radio active waste. Maybe they require radiation as a life sustaining energy source the same way we need oxygen and will thus attempt to make earth radioactive to satisfy their need to live on our planet. We seem to assume the best of another alien race and yet technological advancement on earth has only made us worse from an environmental and conservationist stand point. Why would we assume that the progression of technology and industrialisation that an advanced alien race would have would be any more Eco-friendly? Given the myriad of different environments that exist in the universe would they not want to change earth to suit their environmental norms. This, by all probability, would not be a good change.

      All up this is another reason why advertising our presence in the galaxy may not be a good idea. I know it sounds paranoid but the logic is there.

    • Graham says:

      12:33pm | 17/10/11

      Mark G. Wouldn’t they hurl there junk into a sun? Or pick a moon? Why does it have to physically sit anywhere. Why would you specifically find a inhabited place,  to dump your high tech backwards engineerable rubbish after lugging is across the galaxy. It doesn’t make sense.

    • Mark G says:

      01:24pm | 17/10/11

      Graham,

      There is logic in your retort. I would think that them using earth as a dumping ground would be unlikely in that context but my point still stands. We assume that an advanced alien race are going to be more eco friendly than us. They may attempt to set up manufacturing or processing factories on earth that they would not consider setting up on their own homeworld. Earth may be a suitable place for them, the same way that an earth like planet would be useful to us for this kind of exercise.

    • P. Darvio says:

      07:57am | 17/10/11

      In NSW alone we gamble $44 Billion a year just on Pokies.

      http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/how-your-clubs-hit-the-jackpot-20111015-1lqes.html

      NASA is having its already small budget cut and programs shutdown, and the only space program Australia has is between the ears of its politicians. Not much chance of Australia participating in any of these types of investigations.

      Will just have to wait until they arrive……..

    • Barry says:

      08:51am | 17/10/11

      Don’t worry I think they arrive in November, atleast that’s what all the nutjobs in love with Phil Schneider and Steven Greer tell me.

    • iansand says:

      08:52am | 17/10/11

      I feel the germ of an idea coming on.  Relocate NASA to Nevada and fund the place from casino profits….

    • subotic says:

      08:21am | 17/10/11

      Nope. Nada. None.

      I refuse to even slightly speculate that there’s life out there, and even, EVEN if there’s the remotest chance there is, this “life form” wouldn’t be capable of survival to travel from “wherever” to here, not that said life form would bother.

      Unless of course said life form was like the mother alien life form from the movie Aliens, in which case Mulder I would believe and embrace that the Truth is out there, because we would then finally have the means to properly punish Cold Chisel for Khe San…

    • SimpleSimon says:

      08:23am | 17/10/11

      I find the concept of intelligent life extremely exciting. I personally subscribe to the “Space is really big” school of thought, and think it would be a crying shame if we were the only intelligent life in the universe.

      Appreciating the risks associated with physical contact with more advanced life from another galaxy, it seems logical that radio (or similar) contact would be made before any sort of physical encounter - if for no other reason than the vast distances of space. It seems incredibly unlikely, but I really wish some sort of contact with other life forms occurs within my lifetime.

      Plus, imagine the learning opportunities in being a pet for an alien overlord!!

    • Echo says:

      08:38am | 17/10/11

      it is incredibly arrogant to imagine that we are the only planet in space that can support human life. I do believe that there are other civilisations out there but they give us a miss as we are very young and react to things we don’t understand with violence.

      imagine if someone from another planet came here, looked like us, spoke like us and when they tried to tell us where they were from we lock them in a looney bin.

      there may be planets out there that didn’t have the dark ages, 100 years where any kind of invention or forward thinking was considered heresy, so it would make sense they would be light years ahead of us in technology

    • Freeman says:

      09:34am | 17/10/11

      Yeah! At least Mindy had the good sense to protect Mork from our outdated mental health system.

    • Mark G says:

      10:19am | 17/10/11

      Echo,

      You need to expand your perception of time. 100 years in the development of an advanced space faring civilisation is the proverbial ‘piss in the ocean’. People seem to think that we will be space faring in a few hundred years. I assure you that this is delusional. We may be able to fly around our solar system in that time but that’s like saying a bunch of natives in a canoe paddling around a lake is a sea faring civilisation. For a civilisation to develop the capability to travel between solar systems or even galaxies, it would take thousands (possible even millions) of years of technological development. This is simply because you can’t sensibly do it under conventional power. Conventional being travel slower than the speed of light. Bending and folding the fabric of time/space is the level of tech that we are talking about here. Even 1000 years of anti-science mentality would still be a piss in the ocean of a million years of development of an advanced society.

    • iansand says:

      10:55am | 17/10/11

      Mark G - 300 years ago the acme of power sources were wind, water and muscle.  I suspect it is you who is deluded about the potential pace of technological advancement.

    • Mark G says:

      11:31am | 17/10/11

      Iansand,

      Technology development is not a linear progression. The more advanced you get, the harder it becomes to continue that advancement. Advancement is also speratic in nature. You often make breakthroughs in areas you are not trying to advance yourself in. For example who would have predicted the information revolution of today during the industrial revolution?

      You sited the development of power sources. But have we really advanced that far in 300 years. Our energy sources now mostly of consist of burning coal and oil or collecting the suns heat via solar. Nuclear is the only real advanced technology in energy creation but this is really just breaking down complex atoms (yes I know this is overly simple description of nuclear science). Its still a far cry from controlling the fabric of space/time. Our assention into space consists of strapping humans to a rocket that has a hell of a lot of fuel and simly dumping that fuel out the back and igniting it. I pose the questions to you iansand, in real terms (ie next to the tech required for intergalactic travel) have we really progressed that far in 300 years?

    • iansand says:

      12:08pm | 17/10/11

      Or someone could make a breakthrough tomorrow.  One of the theories about those zippy neutrinos was that they went via extra dimensions.  There goes yer space time, right there.

    • Michael says:

      01:08pm | 17/10/11

      In theory Iansand, only in theory.

    • iansand says:

      01:47pm | 17/10/11

      No Michael.  If it happened (big if, in my opinion) it happened in theory and practice.  It was observed.  Everything else is just engineering.  The unbreachable barrier to limitless speeds has been breached.

    • Chris_D says:

      08:40am | 17/10/11

      I wonder how many people who totally discount any possibility of a “sky fairy” (God) willfully believe that there is every chance of other “intelligent” life being “out there”.

    • Leon says:

      09:09am | 17/10/11

      We’re flesh and blood walking around a planet. So we’re living proof that life on a planet in space is possible. God was probably some higher being misinterpreted by the primitive minds of the day.

    • P. Darvio says:

      11:05am | 17/10/11

      Yes - I will only believe in Aliens if

      1. Some of them are born by Virgin Births
      2. They can perform magic tricks.
      3. Alien Goat Herders wrote some books that give some Commandments that Aliens must follow including guidance on not wearing cloths of more than one kind, not putting sheep and cattle into the same paddock.
      4. Whipping Aliens Bankers is OK
      5. That an Alien got some stone tablets from the top of a mountain and then instructed his alien soldiers to kill and rape Alien women and Alien Children.
      6. That Alien Priests rape Alien children and other much higher Alien Priests cover up the fact.
      7. Aliens crash spacecraft into tall Alien buildings to prove how much they love their Alien GOD.
      8. One Alien got fused to a couple of pieces of Alien Timber in some weird science experiment.
      9. And that same Alien they got transported to space by rising up through teleporting a few days later.

      M’mmm…this all seems to have a familiar ring to it – were have I heard or read this before…? I sure there are a few books on Earth that have something like this – just can’t quite remember what their called…..?

    • Chris_D says:

      03:08pm | 17/10/11

      And P.Darvio doesn’t disappoint me.  The topic is intelligent life, not intelligent comment, so your comment remains valid.

    • Chris L says:

      04:06pm | 17/10/11

      While the existence of beings that could fit the description of deities is yet to be proven, even from a theoretical mathematic viewpoint, the fact that life occured here lends demonstrable plausability of it happening elsewhere. Even if it’s only one in a billion star systems we’d still have plenty of neighbours.

      The alternative is that the entire universe in all its complexity and beauty was created to light the sky for a small group of organisms existing on a miniscule speck in a corner of existence. Not discounting the possibility, but it seems (to me) less likely.

    • gobsmack says:

      09:02am | 17/10/11

      ” If an alien species evolved even 10 per cent faster, or their planet formed 10 per cent earlier, then they would be 400 million years more advanced than us.”
      This is the problem of getting an astronomer’s opinion.
      Evolution operates by natural selection (ie only the fittest survive to the point where they can reproduce).  Natural selection stopped being an operative force on humans at the point when humans “tamed” nature.  Therefore humans stopped evolving at least a few hundred years ago.
      This would be the same for any intelligent alien race and so it would be unlikely there would be any “super intelligent” aliens out there.

    • Mark G says:

      10:31am | 17/10/11

      gobsmack,

      You assume that an advanced alien race would not be willing to genetically alter themselves to become super intelligent. This in itself is an advanced technology. You are applying human (and somewhat religious) morals to an alien species. I don’t think that they would necessarily give a crap about playing god.

    • Erick says:

      10:38am | 17/10/11

      @gobsmack - That theory is full of erroneous assumptions.

      First of all, evolution can lead to greater intelligence, but it doesn’t necessarily do so always.

      Secondly, physical evolution hasn’t stopped. As long as there are different genes, different rates of reproduction, and different rates of survival, evolution will continue. Recent research suggests humans are evolving faster than before.

      Thirdly, evolution is not strictly physical. Ideas and ways of doing things evolve. The human race today is very different to what it was even a thousand years ago.

      Finally, with the development of genetic technology and computers, we’ve already started consciously modifying ourselves and other species. It’s likely we’ll be even more different in another thousand years - and higher intelligence might be a desirable modification to strive for.

    • Julesg says:

      12:11pm | 17/10/11

      gobsmack: Your assertion that man’s evolution has stopped, merely because we have some measure of control over our environment is soooo wrong and incorrect, it’s just plain scarey. The idea that we have, ‘tamed nature’ is just idiotic. We don’t even understand the fundamental true nature of matter and our social and political systems leave a considerable amount to be desired!

      Unfortunately, it is a fact that because of evolution (not in spite of it) - unless we lift our game, as a species we will be extinct sooner rather than later.

      Just to push my point across further, evolution is a biological function of life and has nothing to do with technology. The day evolution stops is the day that life on this planet will end.

    • Tedd says:

      12:37pm | 17/10/11

      ‘evolution’ means different things in different scenarios.

      There is some equivocating here.

      Natural selection does mean “*only* the fittest survive”.

    • Tedd says:

      12:39pm | 17/10/11

      meant ...
      Natural selection does Not simply mean “*only* the fittest survive”

    • gobsmack says:

      12:48pm | 17/10/11

      To all of the above posters, evolution doesn’t just occur by itself.  It requires some form of selective process.  Until the emergence of intelligent creatures (ie us) that process was natural selection.  Individuals less suited to their particular environment had less chance of surviving to reproductive age (or had less chance of reproducing) and therefore were gradually replaced in that environment by individuals that were more suited to that environment.  (Or, to be more accurate, you can substitute “genotypes” for “individuals”).
      Since at least modern times, most humans be they weak or stupid are equally able to survive and reproduce.  There is no weeding out (at least not by any natural process) of less desirable traits.  Arguably, far from improving, the gene pool is actually deteriorating.
      It has often been observed that people of lower intelligence are likely to have more children.  That would lead one to conclude that humans are becoming less intelligent.  (And, by the way I don’t make any distinction between brain function and other “physical” traits).
      I recognise that there can be cultural evolution and evolution of ideas.
      I also acknowledge that aliens with less moral scruples than us could engage in eugenics.  That’s not natural selection anymore than the process that has lead to the different breeds of dogs.  That possibility raises another questions - namely whether a race of aliens completely lacking in basic morality could ever co-operate to extent required to produce civilised society.
      To return to my main point, I don’t think collectively, we are any more intelligent than people living two thousand years ago and I don’t see any hard evidence to back up the contrary view.

    • Anna C says:

      09:15am | 17/10/11

      “Are we alone?”

      Who cares?

      I don’t think we should invest any time or money searching for these aliens because if we do happen to find them they will probably turn out to be evil monsters that are technologically superior to us and who will try to colonise or enslave us, if sc-fi movies are anything to go by. Better leave well enough alone I think.

    • Freeman says:

      09:15am | 17/10/11

      I think that astronomers have discovered something like 100 other habitable
      planets in the universe, but so far away that travel in between us and them is not feasible. One must imagine that on these planets life has at least evolved from bacteria into animals of some sort. I wonder what tasty animals there are out there to be discovered.

    • Adam says:

      01:23pm | 17/10/11

      @Freeman - actually, not as likely as you would think…first, astronomers have found a number (58 at last count, not 100) planets “within habitable regions”, now, a planet within the habitable region (or “goldilocks zone”) is a very different thing than a “habitable planet”.  Being “in the right place” is about the simplest of many complex factors required to sustain life…it needs to have an iron core (magnetic field), it needs to have water, it needs to have a moon to hold it on a steady axis, it needs to have a “just right” atmosphere…....being in the habitable zone does not a habitable planet make…..in fact, given the probability of having all those things previously listed, you could find a million “goldilocks” planets and we would still be the only one capable of supporting life.

    • SimpleSimon says:

      03:05pm | 17/10/11

      @Adam - true, but there are likely billions. There are over 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe alone, and our solar system has 1 and only misses out on a second and a third by a tiny margin. If only 10% of those include just 1 planet in the habitable zone, that’s 20 billion candidate planets in the observable universe alone. With those sorts of numbers, it’s hard to imagine that not 1 of those is capable of supporting life.

    • mick says:

      09:29am | 17/10/11

      Don’t expect to find a lot of intelligent life in Australian politics.  It ain’t there.

    • Justmeint says:

      10:58am | 17/10/11

      scuse me but I just LOVED the bacterium evolving ..... in Canberra. Is Julia fungus or bacterium? Shame really coz I do like mushrooms….... On the positive front, tiz fortunate Julia is not in the gene pool, at least that is what Tim says!

    • Julesg says:

      11:32am | 17/10/11

      My personal take on this, is that the Universe is teaming with life, even that life is the default state of matter and the ultimate manifestation of its (matter) existence! Every corner and nook and cranny on Earth is populated by life; some of it thriving in incredibly hostile environments and to even contemplate that there is no life elsewhere in the cosmos is not only stupid but illogical.

      I also believe that we will be a long, long time before we find any extraterrestrial life, let alone intelligent life and when we do, we and they will never meet because of the barrier of the unfathomable distances between us.

      SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has been running for around 55years, which means we have only searched a round trip distance of just over 25 light years. So, if we are the sugar bowl on the table we have only looked as far as the salt pot next to it, when in actual fact there is a whole room to search, or a whole house, or a whole city, or a whole country! We haven’t even scratched the surface yet and won’t do for several hundreds or even thousands of years! It would take 200000 years for a round trip (we need to get an answer) exploration of just across our own galaxy and 60000 years to explore through its thickness. Our own galaxy is only 1 of an estimated 400 billion, just as big and just as formidable. It would take 2.5 million years to reach our nearest neighbouring galaxy in Andromeda alone.

      I have just given you a very generalised idea of just how big our little bit of the universe (known as the local group) is and it will be our species greatest ever achievement to discover extraterrestrial life of any kind.

      Having said all that , what about the technology we use to make contact? Even if it is a form of radio, what frequency do we use? Where is it on the electromagnetic spectrum? How will it be modulated? We can make educated guesses and that’s all we can do, but here’s the rub, the bottom line. We as a technological species have to look, no matter what the odds against of finding any life out there.

    • Adam Diver says:

      11:36am | 17/10/11

      Hmmmm, my first thought is if there is intelligent life out there, perhaps they will find us.

      My second thought is “Odds are we won’t detect anything. But I think that the payoff is potentially so great that it’s worth making a small investment in searching” someone who talks about millions of dollars as small investment, doesn’t know the value of money, probably benefits from said money, and doesn’t make a morally equivelant use of that money, i.e hospitals.

      As mentioned before the payoff may be huge, but we can not be sure that the payoff will be positive so fun to speculate, but a black hole for government funds IMO.

    • SimpleSimon says:

      01:04pm | 17/10/11

      Governments aren’t investing anything in it at the moment - according to the article, all investment in to the search for ET life is private.

    • Adam Diver says:

      01:26pm | 17/10/11

      My Bad, not sure how I missed that. Although now I am pondering why private enterprise would fund such a search

    • DriveByHeckler says:

      12:23pm | 17/10/11

      We have 3 billion years to evolve sufficiently enough to be able to migrate from earth as humans.  Our carbon will go traveling through space when our sun dies anyway.  The big picture is space exploration and making contact with others, what else is there to strive for?

    • stephen says:

      02:21pm | 17/10/11

      Well I’d like to get one of those green girlfriends that Capt. Kirk patched up with, cause these earth-girls, all they think about is money and flash cars.
      I mean, how parochial, when some of life’s greatest riddles lie dormant :
      Moody Blues ‘Ride my See-saw’... now, what the hell does that mean ?
      And how come raw cabbage tastes bitter ?
      Will St Kilda ever win another Grand Final ?
      These are the gifts for our imagination, and I cannot see how an Astronomer, once he/she/it determines our universe as being either finite or in-finite, can then subsequently make an assumption as to the existence of a God, because their only recourse, (because of their training, mind you) is to go back to the quantum, i.e. the activities and laws of very very small things.
      It’s only the Poets who know the big things, and their answers.

    • DriveByHeckler says:

      11:13pm | 18/10/11

      @ stephen - You talk of distractions and self indulgences to occupy time with no regard to our galactic survival.  As the sun dies, all you will be able to offer will be scrunched up wads of tissues.  I do think though, that the sun will explode well before St Kilda wins another grand flag, but I am sure Melbournians will find some way to keep watching AFL after the event.

    • michael j says:

      01:04pm | 17/10/11

      Yes Yes there is ,,,,,,,,,,,

    • stephen says:

      05:11pm | 17/10/11

      Yes Yes there is ... and you’ve just proven it.

    • palone says:

      04:11pm | 17/10/11

      Stephen .. Do you mean a green girlfriend like Bob Brown? If so you’re in the wrong thread. That was yesterday, baby.

    • stephen says:

      06:00pm | 17/10/11

      ‘These are the gifts ...’
      That was important.
      Read it again.

    • Karlos says:

      04:53pm | 17/10/11

      So first, should we invest in finding evidence of life other than ours? Of course we should. It’s a really big question with huge ramifications and there’s pretty solid reasoning that the possibility of such life existing is at least reasonably possible.  We should at least put a few feelers out and have a crack at it.

      Second – what’s the likelihood of life actually existing?  Well, given the number of Stars with planets and the number of those in the Goldilocks Zone (not to hot, not too cold, just right), mathematically speaking there are a really BIG number of planets that are potentially Earth like. They may be a small percentage of planets, but a small percentage of an astronomically large number is till a really big number. We have a few theories about how life started on Earth and apparently it did so quite quickly, relatively speaking once certain conditions existed. Those conditions would be relatively common on a Goldilocks Planet. To me, if an event is a ridiculously long shot, an amazingly unlikely fluke, it won’t happen quite quickly. Statistically speaking, that type of event should take a very long time to occur. And the “Bacteria are like 747’s” analogy is flawed on a number of levels. It also assumes that a bacteria is the most primitive, simple form of life, and it isn’t. There is plenty of stuff on the origins of life – look it up on Wikipedia. I think that life arising if certain conditions are present is an almost inevitable occurrence. Look at the hostile environments in which life exists right here on Earth. And as Steven Spielberg has taught us, Life will find a way. How far and into what that life evolves is the question, but I think that there is an apparent inevitability to that process as well – given time, life becomes more complex. Now, if these planets we see are further out in the Universe than us, that means they are further from the middle where it all started. So they are older. Which means life has had more time to evolve. Which surely must mean there is a very good chance that the life on such older Earthlike planets is more advanced than life on Earth. It’s not really that hard to accept, unless you believe the only life or consciousness other than us in the Universe is Jesus’ Daddy. And that he only ever made one Goldilocks Planet and went out of his way to make sure no other such planets could ever exist (the Inter-Galactic Planet Exclusion Zone – by order of God)  and/or deliberately stymied, somehow, the laws of physics on those other planets to make sure no pesky life would pop up anywhere else. Or maybe you just think it’s easier to accept that he did the whole thing in 6 days a few thousand years ago and the fact that men are not missing a rib is an acceptable anomaly. Along with carbon dating, fossils and mathmatics.

      Lastly, as to what to do about communications – the idea of just listening seems prudent, although perhaps pointless. We need to narrow the search, be systematic. Bang for buck. We know we need to be looking for the Goldilocks Zone Planets, but that’s like saying find your special grain of sand on beaches restricted to the Queensland Coastline as opposed to the whole world. All of these Planets are so far away I don’t think that even a significantly advanced civilisation is going to be a big threat anyway. Faster Than Light Travel for anything with mass (which would be required for any meaningful exploration or contact) is, frankly, a serious problem from a basic physics point of view. Just having had more time to add 1 and 1 doesn’t mean the answer eventually becomes 3. OK, OK -  The impossibility of faster-than-light relative speed only applies locally. Wormholes allow superluminal (faster-than-light) travel by ensuring that the speed of light is not exceeded locally at any time. While traveling through a wormhole, subluminal (slower-than-light) speeds are used. If two points are connected by a wormhole, the time taken to traverse it would be less than the time it would take a light beam to make the journey if it took a path through the space outside the wormhole, but the whole wormhole theory has more holes in it than, well, than a wormhole. We’re not even sure that they exist, just that they theoretically could exist. Making them traversable, if they exist, is a whole different ballgame.

      I think the vastness of the Universe is the best protection all life has from being wiped out by some other type of life. Even if we find evidence that it exists from radio waves or something else, the chance of ever interacting with it to me, just because of the brain-snappingly incomprehensible distances involved, is remote.

    • Mark G says:

      08:14pm | 17/10/11

      not a bad comment. just a bit long winded.

    • Karlos says:

      04:34pm | 18/10/11

      You’re right Mark, it was long winded grin

      Let me paraphrase.

      - Yes we should look.

      - There is a high liklihood other intelligent life is out there.

      - We should try to contact them, but a real time exchange is unlikely.

      -  Christianity is a bit silly when you think about it, but not a bad thing for all that.

    • stephen says:

      05:43pm | 17/10/11

      There are laws to the universe, and they are not physical ones.
      The Scientists, (and I use this capital loosely) only see clearly, ( and isn’t that funny : out of all the senses, they only see, then think, i.e. microscopes, telescopes, and visual evidence.)
      They don’t sniff - well, some of them don’t - don’t hear, don’t taste, (Jamie Oliver excluded) and the extent of their wonderings is ... when is my pay-rise coming from that dead-awful pharmaceutical firm ?

      Scientists are deducers. They win Nobel Prizes. (And that’s credible : ever heard of a Swedish scientist recently winning one of their own prizes ? Gotta be a perfect Irony ... and I’ll Capital that.)
      There’s another way of knowing things.
      Rather, there’s another question to ask : what will make us more real, more clever, so that we do not need to find something else out there right now, (although it is extremely a romantic thing to do… but not now) and think about what is going on in business capitals of the world ?

    • sunny says:

      07:14pm | 18/10/11

      Why don’t you just say it Stephen - “We’re bored!” That;s why we look for aliens; that’s why we blog on The Punch.

    • Utopia Boy says:

      07:04pm | 17/10/11

      Dontcha know the Earth, and heaven and the stars and everything was made 6000 years ago? Didn’t you know that??
      Well, let me tell you about a carpenter from Nazareth named Jesus…...

      And when I’m finished telling you that fairy tale, you will have no need to research the possibility of life on other planets….you can remain an ignorant idiot for the rest of your life!
      Carry on.

    • stephen says:

      08:30pm | 17/10/11

      You gotta wonder though, that we’ve made such a mess of things here, that even if life got a headstart someplace else, that life, in general, if we are any indication, is doomed to oblivion, even before organisms get a notion of a common wealth, even a decent bloody uniform monetary system, one that does not declude those who, for no other reason that they are not attuned to the vagaries of profit and loss, are not destitute.
      If there are aliens out there, then do not come here ; primitive is as primitive does.

    • dee says:

      10:40am | 24/10/11

      I, for one, welcome our new alien ant oppressors when they get here.

    • Scoby says:

      10:46am | 24/10/11

      Comparing the Aliens talking to us to us talking to mould is stupid. Mould can’t talk back. If you came accross a caveman, would you not try to commumicate with him? The communication would be difficult but it would still be interesting.

      Also if they do exist, the chances of them having two arms and two legs like they do in the movies is remote.

    • Aura Girl says:

      12:14pm | 24/10/11

      Our Alien cousins are definitely out there, and frequently visit our planet. Sadly however they only expose themselves to those of us that are enlightened enough to appreciate their message. I cannot see us as a species being intelligent enough to join the cosmic community at any time soon, and hope our quest for space travel remains ridiculously stupid, in order for us to not conquer any alien planets.

    • Steve says:

      02:22pm | 24/10/11

      Well if you’re not religious then I think if intelligent life could develop here then there’s pretty good odds it developed elsewhere. If you are religious - if God created life here then why not elsewhere. The Bible certainly doesn’t say that didn’t happen.
      I don’t, however, think that intelligent life on other worlds would be like what we see in most sci-fi movies.

    • David Paul Saunders says:

      02:23pm | 24/10/11

      Either way the Catholics would be the first to dispute it as science generally debunks Christianity & other religions on almost every subject. Even if a UFO crash landed and sunk in Sydney Harbour on NYE in full view of every one complete with full battered up with media Rupert Murdoch style like Coverage with Alien SOS broadcasts singing out for help to wifi, the internet, free to air televisions they would still dispute it. My point is there is a scientific explanation to everything & as we haven’t really gone past the moon as yet in terms of space travel we really can’t say yes or no on this subject but the evidence is compelling as SPACE IS THAT BIG & WE ARE HERE FOR A START. Millions and billions of cosmic events have been scratched (with the except of NASA). It’s still a wait & see. I hope it just isn’t us, its a shame what society is doing to itself if so! There has to be better life out there that can teach us a trick or to.

    • meninrosebud says:

      03:01pm | 24/10/11

      You ARE bored aren’t you? We are alone… get over it!

    • Mark says:

      03:48pm | 24/10/11

      If you want to see aliens just get on youtube and search under solar ufo’s. There are instructions on how to film them and todays digital cameras can see the Infra red spectrum in which they are visible.

      Here are some DIY aliens for your viewing pleasure shot from my balcony
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9osNXlVCbk

    • davidl says:

      04:01pm | 24/10/11

      We are just conglomerates of genetic matter, and now we are starting to come to grips with that, we may one day decide to produce our own ‘alien’ race, one that for example could live on Mars quite happily breathing methane or whatever. If we could do that, then the question is are we just the product of some other advanced race, seeded here for a purpose we are currently unaware of ?
      My other point is that we are all talking about the known dimensions…in our case 4 of them, length, width, height and time. Time is our prison, we are the slaves of time. Time mastery or 5th dimensional consciousness is the next leap for mankind. Once we have mastered time, distance, speed etc becomes much less of an issue. Then we can explore. My concern is though that we are in this time prison for a very good reason. Lets face it we are are a bunch of murderous primates, and anyway the 5th dimension is probably inner space, not outer space.

    • Jay says:

      04:36pm | 24/10/11

      Let us for argument assume that there is alien life on our planet, and this life has been with us for say 63 years. What if the US & Russian Presidents fessed up and told us the truth? How would the world react?How do you tell two thirds of the worlds population that all their religious beliefs are lies? How will the world’s population treat our leaders when they discover the truth and that perhaps a clean free energy source is available and that incurable illnesses are a thing of the past and that hunger can be eliminated? You see such a revelation is a threat to the rich and powerrful that they will not let it happen. We are the virus that infects this world and until there is an enlightened approach by humans then we will slowly but surely trash this planet and every resource. As benevolent as some alien races are, they also judge us on how we treat each other and our planet earth.We have failed the test spectacularly. Australian Astronaut was asked by Steve Price what it was like to see the Earth from Space. His response was: ‘it is breathtaking, but you really appreciate what damage humans have done to the earth and you become an environmentalist’. Maybe we should see more of this evidence and hopefully it will force us to change our ways.

 

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choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

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