Are there other intelligent life forms in the Universe? What are the theories?

By Benedetto Nicolai | A.Science | 21 Apr 2024

The search for extraterrestrial life forms.

The search for other intelligent life forms in the universe has always been one of the most fascinating things, an idea that has also inspired many science fiction films and novels. For years, man has been wondering about the probable existence of aliens and has wondered, first of all, whether there are planets capable of hosting life. These planets, which are called "Exoplanets", have been identified in huge quantities in the universe, becoming the object of study to understand their structure and potential to host life. Despite numerous theories and some ideas and sightings not officially verified, to date there is no trace of extraterrestrial life forms around us. One of the questions that are often asked concerns the immensity of what surrounds us: Is it possible that we are the only life forms developed in the Universe since the latter is considered infinite or, in any case, immensely large, so much so that the our mind can't imagine? Various answers have been given to the following question which try to give an explanation as close to reality as possible.

Hypothesis N°1: Aliens exist, but they have not developed technologies advanced enough to communicate with us.

One of the most widespread theories is that, since the universe is infinite, there must necessarily be other civilizations developed beyond ours. Usually, in the collective imagination, we imagine Aliens as beings superior to Man, with hyper-advanced technologies that we could not even imagine. According to this theory, things could be different. There may be many different life forms, but they are not yet technologically advanced enough to communicate with us. Furthermore, assuming the Universe is infinite, we must also understand that it is not easy to be able to identify a planet like Earth, light years away from this hypothetical civilization. However advanced an alien civilization may be, it would not be at all easy to search for other life forms around the universe. Even if they had identified Earth as a potential planet hosting life, they probably still couldn't pick up any signs of life from it. Finally, a final consideration: If the alien civilization was millions of light years away from us and was able to see everything that happens on our planet, today it would see what happened millions of years ago due to the speed of light which, as fast as we imagine it to be, takes a long time to cover enormous distances.

Hypothesis N°2: Aliens exist and are technologically advanced, but they are not interested in interacting.

Another answer to the main question could be that aliens exist, but in any case they are not interested in communicating with us. The reasons could be different. Aliens may not be interested in communicating to avoid conflicts between civilizations, or they may consider Man to be so insignificant that they do not consider him an advanced form of life. If we think about it, it might make more sense than it might seem. Man is considered a developed being when compared with other life forms present on our planet: Animals are not endowed with the intelligence that Man has and therefore, inevitably, he is considered the dominant being on planet Earth. The same argument could easily be made by an Alien civilization so developed as to consider human beings incapable of being able to communicate with them. Simply put, they might view us the same way we view ants, to give you an idea.

Hypothesis N°3: Aliens existed, but they became extinct.

Like everything, nothing lasts forever: not even advanced civilizations. Aliens may have existed somewhere else in the universe long before life began on Earth, but they became extinct for some reason. Man appeared on Earth between 100 thousand and 200 thousand years ago, but the Solar System formed a long time before. What if some form of life had existed in the past even on some planet near us? Some studies have hypothesized that Venus and Mars, billions of years ago, were planets suitable for hosting life and that they were very different from how they appear today: Inhospitable, especially the first. It is hypothesized that both Venus and Mars had enormous surfaces of water and very good general conditions to host life forms, even simple ones.

Hypothesis N°4: We are alone in the immensity of the universe.

The last hypothesis takes into consideration the fact that, as difficult as it may seem to accept, the Earth is the only planet in the history of the universe that has hosted life, therefore the only celestial body capable of guaranteeing the necessary conditions to allow any civilization to progress and exist over time.

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