I believe that the universe is teeming with life. What say you?

To paraphrase Douglas Adams, the universe is really big.

So big, in fact, that I suspect that interstellar travel by any person or thing containing any semblance of mass is functionally impossible, and there is no indication that any sentient beings have traversed the stars.

But, I also think that every star in our universe has the gravitational pull to form a series of planets around its orbit.

And, life will exist wherever it can exist. Now, life in this sense runs the gamut from single celled organisms all the way to complex sentient beings. But, that’s just quibbling on details - life forms are everywhere they can be (our planet providing a good example of that).

What does this mean? For every star you see, there is a solar system. And for every couple of solar systems, there is a planet with a thriving ecosystem. Some are at the point in their development that they have civilizations, whether archaic or centuries beyond our development.

We aren’t going to ever visit these distant places. They won’t be coming here. We are simply too far away. But our universe is teeming with life.

What’s your opinion?

I would say yes due to the number of stars. I doubt that any different populations will meet due to the distance involved.

I agree that this is the most likely situation. I can’t think of any reason why there wouldn’t be life elsewhere and, considering the distances, the fact that we as yet haven’t seen any signs is meaningless.

I strongly suspect you’re right on both counts: that yeah there’s life all over the place but that interstellar travel is not practical.

I agree it is probable and likely, but not proven. Of what use is there in stating it?

Yeah, lots of life out there. But keep in mind that there is nothing universal about our lifespans. There could be life that routinely lives for 2,000 earth years. Or, technologically advanced lifeforms that have figured out how to extend lifespan indefinitely. That could easily mitigate the issue of travel time between various civilizations.

No use. It’s just been a thing I’ve been thinking of.

I find the thought fascinating, especially anytime I see a really starry night. Thousands, millions (more) of developed civilizations out there…it makes human religious stories downright absurd.

I sometimes think of earthlings like a bunch of ants on a hill in an abandoned park, with no ability to truly appreciate just how many other hills full of ants are out there all over the globe and no functional way to travel to those distant locations.

I disagree. Mass doesn’t start to grow rapidly until you approach 85%+ the speed of light. A spaceship that goes 50% the speed of light wouldn’t increase in mass by much.

We already can build ships that supposedly will go 20% the speed of light out of solar sails or nuclear pulse engines.

That means we could populate the entire galaxy in a million years.

Not being able to engage in ftl travel doesn’t mean a species can’t be interstellar.

What is probably more likely imo is that technological, intelligent life is rare. Trillions to one.

Or civilizations that flourished and died out before life began on Earth. Or beings that are intelligent and sentient but exist as puffs of smoke. The possibilities are endless.

I believe nature abhors a vacuum. It makes me a little sad to think I will not be around to see established interstellar space travel and contact with other lifeforms.

There is water everywhere in the galaxy, and that seems to be the requirement for life so far as we know. And there is also water everywhere in the solar system but as yet we know only of life on Earth, so having water may not be a given for life. I am confidant that simple forms of life will be found elsewhere in our own solar system. But whether it will have occurred several different times or has spread from a single occurrence is the question. Our planet seems infested with life in every nook and cranny. Perhaps it has spread.

There are probably system, after system, after system, with water where no life simple or complex can be found. And also many where life can be found. But what kind of life? Technology is the key. An aquatic world covered entirely with water certainly can develop intelligent life, we have such in our own oceans. So could a water world covered in ice. The numbers of planetary systems we are finding suggest that somewhere out there must be life, even intelligent life. But the tool creating, carrying, technological kind of life as we are might be very rare.

My personal opinion, which is the subject of this thread, is that all the science fiction writers, dreamers, and Drake equationists have it all wrong. They invariably postulate humans as a young race, waiting to meet the more advanced intelligences out there. We are waiting to join you, were are you? Why are you hiding?

No. We are early to the party. No one is here yet and they ain’t coming for quite some time. If we survive millions or billions of years as a race we may find some young beings like ourselves. We may be the Old Ones. I think it is a basic flaw in our thinking to believe we are the young ones. Space is really, really big, time is really, really long, we could be the emergent species with a technological talent.

Maybe in some far future we may “Go, Where No Man Has Gone Before!” Because there isn’t anyone else out there to Go.

But he also argued that it has population:none.

Problem: Interstellar travel is, in fact, practical. Even without any major breakthroughs, we could colonize every stellar system in the Galaxy in a very short time (a hundred million years, tops). So if there’s so much life out there, why hasn’t anyone else done it already?

We can’t already build craft capable of taking people long distances at those speeds. Even so, the nearest Earth-like planet is 12 light years away, so it would take 60 years to get there using the best understood-but-not-available-yet technology. So you would have to plan on how to transport two or three generations and 60 years’ worth of food. It might be just a matter of time before we can actually do this, although we could colonize the moon but have just shrugged at the prospect.

I don’t know if that’s the right ratio, but if it is, but there are about 1 x 10[sup]18[/sup] stars in the observable universe so we can be optimistic, even if we never encounter such life.

Assuming we don’t exterminate ourselves first, or fall victim to some calamity of asteroidal proportions.

Well, there is life, then there is intelligent life…then there is intelligent, technological life. The universe could be teaming with life (I think it is, we shall see), but there could be all sorts of filters that have precluded higher level, technologically advanced life. We might not make it in the end. We could still hit our own version of the great filter before we spread to the stars.

There is a vague equivalency between this statement and belief in a deity.

Even if a million lifeforms were alive right now, that could be spread so thinly as to be negligible. It is the equivalent of one single life-form in every 100,000 galaxies.

We really don’t even know how many and what type of planets are around the nearest star system to us. The Centaurus system.

Every time a ship left for a new location, it would become eventually a separate species from homo sapiens, developing differently over those millions of years based on different conditions. So it wouldn’t be us colonizing the galaxy, it would be us seeding the galaxy with various new humanoid species which would never be able to contact each other. This might have happened already with another species, but if they never touched down here we wouldn’t know about it.

Out of the thousands of planets we have discovered so far, not a single one of them is a good fit for being “Earthlike” and potentially comfortable for humans. We don’t know how many different paths biogenisis can go down besides the protein-nucleic acid one, but even “exotic” biologies would still have a limited range in which they could work. So I suspect nothing close to “every couple of solar systems” having life. I would maybe buy every couple of hundred or (at a stretch) every couple of dozen. Complex multicellular life? Now we are talking maybe a couple every few hundred thousand. Intelligent technological civilizations? Now we are likely in the “couple every galaxy” range.

To quote Carl Sagan,
“The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space."