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I’ve been looking forward to this week’s discussion ever since Long and Short Reviews first released their 20222 list of topics!
My answer to this question all depends on what you mean by the term alien.
Do I believe there are little green people running around on Mars? Not at all.
Do I believe that aliens in shiny spaceships have visited Earth? No. Among many other factors, sending organic beings on longterm space missions is horribly dangerous due to all of the radiation they’d be exposed to during that trip. It takes years to travel between planets in our solar system and prohibitive amounts of time to travel between solar systems with our current technology. I can’t see other sentient beings attempting, much less actually making, that trip here. At best they might send a probe…but who knows if even a probe would survive such an arduous journey!
Do I believe that aliens abduct people, create crop circles, or kill livestock in bizarre ways? No. There are perfectly rational scientific and medical explanations for experiences like these. My first impulse is to believe simple, ordinary explanations of extraordinary events wherever possible.
Do I believe that aliens currently exist (or have existed in the past)? Yes. In fact, I think we could find the first evidence of life on other planets or moons very soon given how many probes we’ve already sent or will soon be sending to places like Mars, Venus, Titan, and Mercury.
You see, I think the kind of alien life we are most likely to find out there is microbial. Some of it may have already gone extinct and will only reveal itself as tiny little fossils, but I’m hoping we’ll find at least a few unicellular aliens that are still thriving deep underground or swimming happily in salty, half-frozen puddles somewhere.
Titan seems like the best place in our solar system to find larger and possibly even (slightly?) intelligent forms of life due to it’s vast methane oceans that may be protected from radiation and other dangers by its dense atmosphere and the thick layer of methane ice that sits on its surface. Only time will tell if that hunch is correct and if we’d have any practical way to communicate with those creatures if they do exist.
It’s difficult for me to believe that life exists on Earth and nowhere else, especially when small creatures like tardigrades have been known to survive long-term on the moon and in outer space. I think there must be something out there that exists now or used to exist in the past. Here’s hoping we’ll someday confirm my suspicions no matter how big or small the aliens might be.