Life in the Universe

Our new understanding of the habitable zone brought us to the realization that habitable planets are everywhere in our Milky Way galaxy.  A study of 158,000 red dwarf star data from the Kepler scope showed that red dwarf stars, the most common kind in our galaxy, were cooler and smaller than thought.  This means they can have a habitable zone, although smaller than our sun’s.

Our galaxy is estimated to have 100 billion stars; of those, 75 billion are red dwarves.  An estimated 6 percent of red dwarves could have habitable planets, which could be 4.5 billion in our galaxy alone.

What does this mean for life in the universe?  For starters, red dwarves live twice as long as our sun.  We could find planetary systems more than twice as old as ours.  Since they don’t produce light in our visible range, we might find completely different ecosystems.  It seems like redefining the habitable zone might lead us to a new definition of biological life as we explore the possibilities.

If 4.5 billion possible candidates for life exist in our galaxy alone, how many could we expect in the entire universe ?  If the star distribution is similar in up to 300 million galaxies, we could anticipate 1.35×1018 (1.35 billion billion) habitable planets!

But the probability for intelligent life to form by chance was estimated to be <0.01%, given a 4 billion year time frame.  So, with the age of the universe (13.75 billion years) and the new estimate of habitable planets, we could anticipate finding about 4×1014 (400,000,000,000,000) planets with intelligent life. That’s 400 trillion planets out there, two-thirds of which could have developed intelligent life before Earth.

So, are we the only intelligent life in the universe?  This assumption of life, that we are alone, may in fact be an ideal or belief that people are addicted to.  For example, there are still those who believe the Earth is flat, even though it has been proven not to be, and there are those who disbelieve huge amounts of data supporting evolution.  It is time to drop the assumption that we are the only intelligent life form in the universe, and open our eyes to the possibilities the infinite universe gives us.

If you are ready to take the next step of consciousness, consider this.  The universe may also be part of a multiverse system.  Multiple universes arise naturally from physical law.  It is thought only few would be hospitable to life, creating a hospitable zone of universes!  Next, picture the Grand Slam Theory of the Omniverse proposing a source that produces multiple universes.  The Omniverse’s habitable zone is similar to that of the Sun!  There is a point reached in the Omniverse where where universes have the ability to host life.

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Picture Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

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