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Do Aliens Exist?

A high school assembly presentation on the search for & implications of alien life.

Graham Colman

on 9 January 2012

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Transcript of Do Aliens Exist?


What do we mean by
'life' on other planets?
Does it really
matter anyway?
What if we are
Yes, if we don't care for...
78 years
63,241 AU
5,800,000,000,000 miles
In the beginning God created the heavens and...
Do they exist?
Probably not
Contact in our lifetime?
2,500,000 years
65,000,000 years
4,500,000,000 years
14,500,000,000 years
light years
Do Aliens Exist? Yes or No

If you’re thinking of little green men, then no, sorry.
What do we mean by life on other planets?
Well it all comes down to this, the elementary table, or rather H2O, or in other words water.
We know that there is water on Mars and that the frozen world of one of Jupiter’s Moons ‘Europa’ is covered in ice, which could be enough to sustain life such as bacteria.
In fact everywhere that scientists have looked for life on Earth they have found it, including methane worms, which live in frozen/solid methane, (or frozen farts) at the bottom of oceans.
But if were looking for intelligent life, what is intelligent?
Is a dog intelligent?
Are humans intelligent?
Well, in terms of alien intelligence it comes down to radio communication.
The first time that humans broadcast radio signals strong enough to leave the planet was at the 1936 Berlin Olympics which was only 75 years ago.
Consider that in the perspective of 2,500,000 years that humans have existed, 65,000,000 that the dinosaurs were around, 4.5 billion years ago that the Earth formed or 14.5 billion years ago that the universe began.
When contacting other words the important factor is the speed of light, or the distance travelled by light in a year, or in other words 63,241 times the distance to our Sun.
Our closest star is here, but that is 4.365 light years away meaning that if we sent a message today… then we would have to wait 9 years for a reply, at best.
Mathematicians have developed an equation, The Drake Equation, for determining the possible number of civilizations in the galaxy with which communication may be possible and the Hubble Space Telescope has supported this with images such as this one in which every single dot that you see is a galaxy consisting of millions of stars.
These images have helped astronomers to estimate that there are around 80 billion galaxies in the universe each containing millions upon millions of stars.
Of course, if aliens did exist there would be difficult questions for religion to answer: The very first paragraph of the bible states “In the beginning… the Earth” but makes no reference to all of the other possible life supporting planets.
Another person answering difficult questions is Stephen Hawking, one of the worlds leading cosmologists who works in Cambridge developing, amongst other things, theories of how the universe began.
But does it really matter anyway?
Well, apparently yes, as governments are willing to spend money on projects such as the SETI project and the Keplar Telescope which is discovering more and more exoplanets daily; that is, planets orbiting other stars and crucially planets in the goldilocks zone – at the distance away from stars which is neither too hot nor too cold.
The Voyager probes, launched in the 1970’s carry a golden disc of messages just in case they ever reach an alien civilization and then there was the Aricebo message, a radio broadcast in binary, that may, one day, reach another world.
But what if we are contacted?
How should we respond?
Well, if Hollywood has anything to do with it they would suggest either mass hysteria and chaos, such as in Carl Sagan’s film ‘Contact’, or that we should just shoot at them such as in ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’.
So does it matter, well yes, if we don’t care for our planet.
To conclude, do they exist? – likely.
Will there be contact in our lifetime? – probably not.
In my opinion.

Topics / subjects involved:

• Pop culture & media,
• Science,
• Ethics & religion,
• Environment,
• Mathematics,
• History,
• Literacy,
• Technology
Commentary for assembly
Full transcript