Former NASA Engineer Says It's Highly Likely There Is Life in Our Solar System

Saturday, 27 August 2016 - 11:30AM
Space
Astrobiology
Alien Life
Saturday, 27 August 2016 - 11:30AM
Former NASA Engineer Says It's Highly Likely There Is Life in Our Solar System
Are we alone in the universe? That's the age-old question, and although astronomy has made plenty of progress in exploring the nearby Universe surrounding Earth, we haven't found anything resembling life on other planets. But in reality, we've barely scratched the surface, and most astronomers agree that considering the vastness of the Universe, it is almost mathematically impossible that humans are the only intelligent life forms, let alone the only life forms period. But according to former NASA engineer Darren Beyer, it's not only unlikely that we're alone in the Universe, it is "highly unlikely" that we're alone in our own Solar System.

Beyer, a sci-fi author whose space opera thriller Desolation Bridge (sequel to last year's Casimir Bridge) comes out in February 2017, claims that it's all but a guarantee that there is extraterrestrial life:

Opening quote
"I think it is highly likely. I would put it in the 99.9% likely category, that there is life," he told Outer Places in a phone interview. "Not only that there's life, but that there's life in our Solar System. There are way too many things pointing to that. All you need are three things: you need water, you need energy, and you need the right elements to make it happen."
Closing quote

Beyer explains that we have already found water in our Solar System in nearly twenty different locations, most notably on Mars, and that any planet that hosts liquid water must also have energy, since energy is necessary to keep the water in liquid form. Further, there is mounting evidence that the chemical building blocks for life can be found on celestial bodies; as he wrote on his blog, scientists recently found that the "halo" surrounding comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko contained glycine and phosphorous, two of the essential compounds necessary for life to form. 

Opening quote
"So when you put those three together, I think it's exceedingly unlikely that just in our own Solar System, that we won't find life. Now when you say that there are trillions of solar systems out there, then you just do the math and realize that there has to be life outside of our Solar System, and there has to be intelligent life."
Closing quote

Beyer went on to explain that statistically, it only makes sense that intelligent life would spring up somewhere in the Universe, since the basic life forms that would result from the aforementioned chemical processes would evolve into intelligent beings, just as they did on Earth. But if that's true, then why haven't we met them yet?

Opening quote
"Whether or not we'll find it remotely close to our lifetimes is another story," Beyer said. "But I firmly believe that there is intelligent life outside of our Solar System, it's just a question of whether we can ever interact with it."
Closing quote

But still, Beyer is optimistic that we will be able to communicate with intelligent aliens, at least at some point during the lifespan of the human race. Light speed communications could be used in the future, he says, although it would be frustratingly slow.

Opening quote
"It may be tens or hundreds of years between 'Hello, are you there?' and 'Yes, hi.'"
Closing quote
Science
NASA
Space
Astrobiology
Alien Life