NASA has published finding over 1,200 extrasolar planets since it began, including 54 which may – in theory – be able to have life comparable to life on Earth if their findings are accurate. This latest find suggests that life in the universe may be far more prolific than we once thought. And the fact that another find by scientists suggests that the Universe may be up to 250 times larger than we thought before, only makes the possibility of extraterrestrial life even more astonishing than ever. The new figures, which seems to change the universe as we see it, are nothing short of astronomical.
The Kepler program essentially uses a massive telescope to try and discover extrasolar planets orbiting distant stars. After scanning 156,000 stars, the 1,200 planets came out as very unique and often quite different from our own Solar System. The discovery is nothing short of spectacular, and several of the planets seem capable of sustaining life according to the current qualifications of what warrants the possibility for life.
And that’s just the beginning when it comes to cosmic news. Mihran Vardanyan at Oxford University, alongside colleagues, was able to take the astounding amount of data comprising several different mathematical estimations on the size of the universe and average out the raw data using an advanced technique known as the Bayesian model to get the end result. And they were astonished by what they saw. Not only is it the most accurate model of the size of the universe, it is also over 250 times what the previous official estimate was. Previously scientists were working with the Hubble Volume, which dealt with the sphere as we understand it of the observable universe.
So what does a bigger and more populous universe mean for the likelihood of humans running into an alien race? There are two different schools of thought on it. First, the fact that there seem to be more planets than we ever thought before that might contain alien life makes it that much more likely that such life exists. But there’s also the idea that the universe could be so immensely huge and alien life could be so incredibly rare, that during the time the entire species existed it might appear and disappear long before we get a chance to meet them. But if faster than light technology is possible, regardless of whether humans actually develop it any time soon, then the likelihood of aliens having visited Earth or visiting in the future immediately goes up significantly. Of course such an alien race would have to find the Earth first and furthermore be interested in contacting it.
As we move to the next decade of searching, will we be able to find that we are truly not alone in the universe? Though it may seem like a slim chance to some, that chance seemingly grows with each new discovery made.