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Is there intelligent life on other planets?

Is there intelligent life on other planets?
Ken Willoughby from West Yorkshire (age 55+)

Is there life in outer space?
Victoria Hall from County Durham (Age: 25-34)

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Ken,

    Well that is the 50 million dollar question. I say that because the SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) institute in the US (www.seti.org) has just commissioned the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) which will look for radio signals coming from the nearest million stars. The hypothesis is that intelligent beings will broadcast a “beacon” for us to see, and thus signal their existence. An alternative, is to look for accidental leakage of radio emission (radar) from other civilizations and over the next 50 years, our radio telescopes will become so sensitive we may just see something. We must look regardless of how small the possibility is; it would truly revolutionize humanity if we found it.

  2. Following on from the last point by Bob Nichol, I personally can really think of no more profound a question for mankind to answer than this one. Just think about what it would mean to you if you knew there were other beings in the Universe. It would change the way we think about ourselves and our place in the Universe – it would revolutionize most fields of human thought —- science, religion, the humanities etc. – and if they were intelligent – imagine what it would do to technology.
    You could argue that there are many more fundamental questions (e.g. a theory of everything?, or how did life start?) or, in the short term, more useful questions to answer (e.g. the Prime Minister’s question about ending poverty)…. but for me this is THE REALLY BIG question.
    The other great thing about it is that it is possible we may get a definite answer by doing nothing…. it is possible that a spaceship will land and the proverbial little green men will emerge. Maybe not very likely – but its like winning the lottery – it is possible.

  3. This Big Question was answered by Jodrell Bank – University of Manchester in their National Science and Engineering Week Event – see

    http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/viscen/events/lifeonotherplanets/

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