Is there anybody out there?

The Arecibo Radio Telescope. One of our tools in the search for extra terrestrial life.
The Arecibo Radio Telescope. One of our tools in the search for extra terrestrial life.

At the start of the 20th century an Italian by the name of Marconi began experimenting with wireless telegraphy. Soon after, wireless telephony and radio broadcasting were developed. Since those early days, humans have been pumping out radio, television and communications signals from our planet in an ever increasing quantity and strength.

Like a wave that travels outward when a stone is thrown into water, radio and TV signals travel by electromagnetic wave at the speed of light in an ever expanding sphere away from the earth. Theoretically, anyone with a powerful enough receiver on another planet would be able to eavesdrop on us. So how likely is this, and if they are listening, are they coming to visit?

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Evolution and the mistake

DNA’s famous double helix structure

Evolution forged the entirety of sentient life on this planet using only one tool: the mistake”.

The above quote is from Dr Robert Ford, one of the main protagonists in a popular, TV show, Westworld. A simple sentence, but one which sums up evolution and one of the forces behind it quite succinctly. In truth, the quotation applies, not only to sentient live, but to all life on our planet, and if life has evolved elsewhere, and enjoys a healthy competition for resources, then it will probably apply there too.

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Water on Europa

Europa, one of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. Does it hold life?
Europa, one of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. Does it hold life?

 

 At the end of September, scientists from NASA, using data from the Hubble Space Telescope announced that they had discovered water vapour plumes on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The plumes extend more than 100 miles into space. The discovery was announced in a hastily arranged press conference amidst excitable rumours that NASA had discovered aliens. No aliens were forthcoming, but the discovery is certainly is good news for planetary scientists looking for extraterrestrial life.

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