For the entire time of the existence of mankind - and byAccording to various estimates, it numbers from 2.4 to 2.8 million years - we have never met intelligent life outside the Earth. Not surprisingly, in the end, we believed in our own exclusiveness. But is life on our planet an accident? The results of the latest scientific studies show that the appearance of life on Earth was actually an event quite probable and predictable, although the chances of the emergence of intelligent life are small. But if life is a common occurrence in the universe, where is everything?
Is there life in the universe?
The answer to the question formulated by Italianphysicist Enrico Fermi "Where is everything?" scientists are not looking for the first decade. But despite all the technological advances and scientific mastery, we still have not found any signs of life outside the home planet, not to mention the signs of developed extraterrestrial civilizations, even remotely resembling our own. The reasons why we feel lonely drifting in an infinite universe are vast. So, aliens could visit the Earth a couple of million years ago, or maybe we just can not see them or they themselves want it.
One way or another, given the number of openIn recent years, exoplanets (planets outside the solar system) seem simply unbelievable that countless worlds are uninhabited. The excess of exoplanets in the observable Universe alone, as well as our own existence, suggests that other forms of life inhabit rocky and gas planets throughout the Universe. But maybe not. The only evidence of the existence of life in the universe is Earth. But life on our planet may not be destined for prosperity, and the appearance of Homo Sapiens is a completely unforeseen accident.
You will be interested: What is life?
Probability Theory and Life on Earth
In a new study by astronomer David Kipping ofColumbia University, using the statistical method, better known as the Bayesian method, studied the chances of life (including intelligent) appearing on Earth. Let me remind you that Thomas Bayes (1702-1761) was a little-known preacher who was fond of mathematics. World science remembered his name thanks to a mathematical formula that shows how to use new data to correct probabilities - Bayes's theorem.
Simply put, this is a type of statistic thatuses probability to account for subsequent information, which gives it an advantage over comparing strict sets of numbers. In more detail, in what other studies use the Bayesian theorem I spoke in this article. I recommend reading it!
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According to Science Alert, this is not the first timewhen scientists use Bayes' theorem as a means of theoretically quantifying the probability of occurrence of life on other Earth-like planets, but Kipping made some changes to the formula. In the course of his work, Kipping made calculations based on evidence that life in the planetary history of the Earth arose quickly, and intelligent life appeared recently - after about 4 billion years.
In a work published in PNAS, KippingHe weighed the evolutionary possibilities of the origin of life on Earth: life in the Universe is widespread, and intelligent life is common; life is common, but intelligent life is rare; life is rare. but intelligent life is common; life is rare, as is intelligent life. Looking at these potential results, Kipping came to the conclusion that the arguments for the rapid development of life on Earth are very strong.
If future research confirmsevidence of an earlier origin of life on our planet, from a statistical point of view, the conditions on Earth were quite suitable for the emergence of life, but this does not mean that intelligent life must have appeared. Thus, the likelihood that intelligence is extremely rare and our planet is a kind of “exception” is well-founded.
See also: How did life on Earth originate?
Overall, the results of a new studyindicate that intelligent life in the universe is rare, given our late appearance. But is it possible to apply the same chances of the origin of life on other planets? According to Kipping, yes and no. The fact is that the analysis carried out exclusively concerns the Earth, considering the appearance of life as a random process against the background of events and conditions that can be plausibly unique to our planet. Nevertheless, if another planet appears to be almost identical to the Earth in terms of its planetary conditions and evolution, then perhaps we can finally understand how likely life is in strange, cosmic expanses. And do you think we are alone in the universe? Share your answer in the comments to this article, as well as with the participants of our Telegram chat.