Extraterrestrial life is defined as life which does not originate from planet Earth. The word "extraterrestrial" is derived from the Latin extra ("outside", "outwards") and terrestris ("earthly", of or relating to the Earth). The existence of such life is theoretical and all assertions about it remain disputed.
Hypotheses regarding the origin(s) of extraterrestrial life, if it exists, are as follows: one proposes that it may have emerged, independently, from different places in the universe; an alternative hypothesis is panspermia or exogenesis, which holds that life emerges from one location, then spreads among habitable planets.
These two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive. The study and theorization of extraterrestrial life is known as astrobiology, exobiology or xenobiology. Speculated forms of extraterrestrial life range from life with the simplicity of bacteria to sentient or sapient beings which are more advanced than humans.
Suggested locations which might have once developed, or presently continue to host life similar to our own, include the planets Venus and Mars, moons of Jupiter and Saturn (e.g. Europa, Enceladus and Titan) and Gliese 581 c and d, recently discovered to be near Earth-mass extrasolar planets apparently located in their star's habitable zone, and with the potential to have liquid water. To date, no credible evidence of extraterrestrial life has been discovered which has been generally accepted by the mainstream scientific community.
All other proposals, including beliefs that some unidentified flying objects are of extraterrestrial origin and claims of alien abduction, are considered spurious by most scientists. Most UFO sightings are explained either as sightings of Earth-based aircraft or known astronomical objects, or as hoaxes. Some sightings have remained unexplained, in some cases having been reported by trained professionals.
In 2006, New Scientist published a list of ten controversial pieces of evidence that extraterrestrial life exists, but scientists do not consider them credible since no direct observational evidence has been encountered. The late scientist Carl Sagan believed that it is nearly impossible for other intelligent life not to exist in the universe.
Possible basis of extraterrestrial life
Several theories have been proposed about the possible basis of alien life from a biochemical, evolutionary or morphological viewpoint. Alien life, such as bacteria, has been theorized by scientists such as Carl Sagan to exist in our solar system and quite possibly throughout the universe although no samples have been found.
Evolution and morphology
In addition to the biochemical basis of extraterrestrial life, many have also considered evolution and morphology. Science fiction has often depicted extraterrestrial life with humanoid and/or reptilian forms. Aliens have often been depicted as having light green or grey skin, with a large head, as well as four limbs—i.e. fundamentally humanoid. Other subjects, such as felines and insects, etc., have also occurred in fictional representations of aliens.
A division has been suggested between universal and parochial (narrowly restricted) characteristics. Universals are features which are thought to have evolved independently more than once on Earth (and thus, presumably, are not too difficult to develop) and are so intrinsically useful that species will inevitably tend towards them. These include flight, sight, photosynthesis and limbs, all of which are thought to have evolved several times here on Earth. There is a huge variety of eyes, for example, and many of these have radically different working schematics and different visual foci: the visual spectrum, infrared, polarity and echolocation. Parochials, however, are essentially arbitrary evolutionary forms. These often have little inherent utility (or at least have a function which can be equally served by dissimilar morphology) and probably will not be replicated. Intelligent aliens could communicate through gestures, as deaf humans do, or by sounds created from structures unrelated to breathing, which happens on Earth when, for instance, cicadas vibrate their wings, or crickets rub their legs.
Attempting to define parochial features challenges many taken-for-granted notions about morphological necessity. Skeletons, which are essential to large terrestrial organisms according to the experts of the field of gravitational biology, are almost assured to be replicated elsewhere in one form or another. Many also conjecture as to some type of egg-laying amongst extraterrestrial creatures, but mammalian mammary glands might be a singular case. The assumption of radical diversity amongst putative extraterrestrials is by no means settled. While many exobiologists do stress that the enormously heterogeneous nature of life on Earth foregrounds an even greater variety in space, others point out that convergent evolution may dictate substantial similarities between Earth and extraterrestrial life. These two schools of thought are called "divergionism" and "convergionism" respectively.
Beliefs in extraterrestrial life
Ancient and early modern ideas
The first important Western thinkers to argue systematically for a universe full of other planets and, therefore, possible extraterrestrial life were the ancient Greek writer Thales and his student Anaximander in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. The atomists of Greece took up the idea, arguing that an infinite universe ought to have an infinity of populated worlds. Ancient Greek cosmology worked against the idea of extraterrestrial life in one critical respect, however: the geocentric universe. Championed by Aristotle and codified by Ptolemy, it favored the Earth and Earth-life (Aristotle denied that there could be a plurality of worlds) and seemingly rendered extraterrestrial life philosophically untenable. Lucian of Samosata, in his novels, described inhabitants of the Moon and other celestial bodies as humanoids, but significantly different from humans.
Authors of Jewish sources also considered extraterrestrial life. The Talmud states that there are at least 18,000 other worlds, but provides little elaboration on the nature of those worlds, or on whether they are physical or spiritual. Based on this, however, the 18th century exposition "Sefer HaB'rit" posits that extraterrestrial creatures exist, and that some may well possess intelligence. It adds that humans should not expect creatures from another world to resemble earthly life any more than sea creatures resemble land animals.
Hindu beliefs of endlessly repeated cycles of life have led to descriptions of multiple worlds in existence and their mutual contacts (Sanskrit word sampark (सम्पर्क) means "contact" as in Mahasamparka (महासम्पर्क) = "the great contact"). According to Hindu scriptures, there are innumerable universes to facilitate the fulfillment of the separated desires of innumerable living entities. However, the purpose of such creations is to bring back the deluded souls to correct understanding about the purpose of life. Aside from the innumerable universes which are material, there is also the unlimited spiritual world, where the purified living entities live with perfect conception about life and ultimate reality. The spiritually aspiring saints and devotees, as well as thoughtful men of the material world, have been getting guidance and help from these purified living entities of the spiritual world from time immemorial. However, the relevance of such descriptions has to be evaluated in the context of a correct understanding of geography and science at those times.
Within Islam, the statement of the Qur'an "All praise belongs to God, Lord of all the worlds" indicates multiple universal bodies, and maybe even multiple universes, which may indicate extraterrestrial and even extradimensional life. Surat Al-Jinn also mentioned a statement from a Jinn regarding the current status and ability of his group in the heavens.
According to Ahmadiyya Islam a more direct reference from the Quran is presented by Mirza Tahir Ahmad as a proof that life on other planets may exist according to the Quran. In his book, Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth, he quotes verse 42:29 "And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens.
heavens and the earth, and of whatever living creatures (da'bbah) He has spread forth in both..."; according to this verse there is life in According to the same verse "And He has the power to gather them together (jam-'i-him) when He will so please"; indicates the bringing together the life on Earth and the life elsewhere in the universe. The verse does not specify the time or the place of this meeting but rather states that this event will most certainly come to pass whenever God so desires. It should be pointed out that the Arabic term Jam-i-him used to express the gathering event can imply either a physical encounter or a contact through communication.
In Shia Islam the 6th Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq has been quoted as saying that there are living beings on other planets. He has also stated that they may be more intelligent or advanced than humans.When Christianity spread throughout the West, the Ptolemaic system became very widely accepted, and although the Church never issued any formal pronouncement on the question of alien life , at least tacitly, the idea was aberrant. In 1277, the Bishop of Paris, Étienne Tempier, did overturn Aristotle on one point: God could have created more than one world given His omnipotence. Taking a further step, and arguing that aliens actually existed, remained rare. Notably, Cardinal Nicholas of Kues speculated about aliens on the moon and sun.
Giordano Bruno, De l'Infinito, Universo e Mondi, 1584 There was a dramatic shift in thinking initiated by the invention of the telescope and the Copernican assault on geocentric cosmology. Once it became clear that the Earth was merely one planet amongst countless bodies in the universe, the extraterrestrial idea moved towards the scientific mainstream. God's omnipotence, it could be argued, not only allowed for other worlds and other life; on some level, it necessitated them. The best known early-modern proponent of such ideas was the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno, who argued in the 16th century for an infinite universe in which every star is surrounded by its own solar system. Bruno's thoughts about God and the universe led to his eventual condemnation as a heretic by the Catholic church, as a result of which he was burned at the stake.
In the early 17th century the Czech astronomer Anton Maria Schyrleus of Rheita mused that "if Jupiter has (...) inhabitants (...) they must be larger and more beautiful than the inhabitants of the Earth, in proportion to the [characteristics] of the two spheres". Dominican monk Tommaso Campanella wrote about a Solarian alien race in his Civitas Solis. The Catholic Church has not made a formal ruling on the existence of extraterrestrials. However, writing in the Vatican newspaper, the astronomer, Father José Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory near Rome, said in 2008 that intelligent beings created by God could exist in outer space.
Such comparisons also appeared in poetry of the era. In "The Creation: a Philosophical Poem in Seven Books" (1712), Sir Richard Blackmore observed: "We may pronounce each orb sustains a race / Of living things adapted to the place". The didactic poet Henry More took up the classical theme of the Greek Democritus in "Democritus Platonissans, or an Essay Upon the Infinity of Worlds" (1647). With the new relative viewpoint that the Copernican revolution had wrought, he suggested "our world's sunne / Becomes a starre elsewhere". Fontanelle's "Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds" (translated into English in 1686) offered similar excursions on the possibility of extraterrestrial life, expanding, rather than denying, the creative sphere of a Maker.
The possibility of extraterrestrials remained a widespread speculation as scientific discovery accelerated. William Herschel, the discoverer of Uranus, was one of many 18th-19th century astronomers convinced that our Solar System, and perhaps others, would be well-populated by alien life. Other luminaries of the period who championed "cosmic pluralism" included Immanuel Kant and Benjamin Franklin. At the height of the Enlightenment, even the Sun and Moon were considered candidates for extraterrestrial inhabitants.
Extraterrestrials and the modern era
This enthusiasm toward the possibility of alien life continued well into the 21st century. Indeed, the (roughly) three centuries from the Scientific Revolution through to the beginning of the modern era of solar system probes were essentially the zenith for belief in extraterrestrials in the West. Many astronomers and other secular thinkers, at least some religious thinkers, and much of the general public were largely satisfied that aliens were a reality. This trend was finally tempered as actual probes visited potential alien abodes in the solar system. The moon was decisively ruled out as a possibility, while Venus and Mars, long the two main candidates for extraterrestrials, showed no obvious evidence of current life. The other large moons of our system which have been visited appear similarly lifeless, though the interesting geothermic forces observed (Io's volcanism, Europa's ocean, Titan's thick atmosphere) have underscored how broad the range of potentially habitable environments may be.
Although the hypothesis of a deliberate cosmic silence of advanced extraterrestrials is also a possibility, the failure of the SETI program to announce an intelligent radio signal after four decades of effort has at least partially dimmed the prevailing optimism of the beginning of the space age. Notwithstanding, the unproven belief in extraterrestrial beings is voiced (not as a hypothesis) in pseudoscience, conspiracy theories in popular folklore like about 'Area 51' and legends. Emboldened critics, despite the fact that the SETI program is not the result of a continuous, dedicated search, but instead utilizes what resources and manpower it can, when it can. Furthermore, the SETI program only searches a limited range of frequencies at any one time
Thus, the three decades preceding the turn of the second millennium saw a crossroads reached in beliefs in alien life. The prospect of ubiquitous, intelligent, space-faring civilizations in our galaxy appears increasingly dubious to many scientists. Still, in the words of SETI's Frank Drake, "All we know for sure is that the sky is not littered with powerful microwave transmitters". Drake has also noted that it is entirely possible that advanced technology results in communication being carried out in some way other than conventional radio transmission. At the same time, the data returned by space probes, and giant strides in detection methods, have allowed science to begin delineating habitability criteria on other worlds, and to confirm that at least other planets are plentiful, though aliens remain a question mark. The Wow! signal, from SETI, remains a speculative debate.
Scientific search for extraterrestrial life
The scientific search for extraterrestrial life is being carried out both directly and indirectly.
Scientists are directly searching for evidence of unicellular life within the solar system, carrying out studies on the surface of Mars and examining meteors which have fallen to Earth. A mission is also proposed to Europa, one of Jupiter's moons with a possible liquid water layer under its surface, which might contain life.
There is some limited evidence that microbial life might possibly exist (or have existed) on Mars. An experiment on the Viking Mars lander reported gas emissions from heated Martian soil that some argue are consistent with the presence of microbes. However, the lack of corroborating evidencefrom other experiments on the Viking indicates that a non-biological reaction is a more likely hypothesis. Independently, in 1996, structures resembling nanobacteria were reportedly discovered in a meteorite, ALH84001, thought to be formed of rock ejected from Mars. This report is also controversial, and scientific debate continues.
In February 2005, NASA scientists reported that they had found strong evidence of present life on Mars. The two scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA's Ames Research Center, based their claims on methane signatures found in Mars' atmosphere resembling the methane production of some forms of primitive life on Earth, as well as on their own study of primitive life near the Rio Tinto river in Spain. NASA officials soon denied the scientists' claims, and Stoker herself backed off from her initial assertions.
Though such findings are still very much in debate, support among scientists for the belief in the existence of life on Mars seems to be growing. In an informal survey conducted at the conference at which the European Space Agency presented its findings, 75 percent of the scientists in attendance were reported to believe that life once existed on Mars, and 25 percent reported a belief that life currently exists there.
The Gaia hypothesis stipulates that any planet with a robust population of life will have an atmosphere not in chemical equilibrium, which is relatively easy to determine from a distance by spectroscopy. However, significant advances in the ability to find and resolve light from smaller rocky worlds near to their star are necessary before this can be used to analyze extrasolar planets.
It is theorized that any technological society in space will be transmitting information, although this is arguable, as there are generally no human systems intentionally, randomly, transmitting information into deep space, so there is no guarantee that any other species would do so, either. Also, the length of time required for a signal to travel across the vastness of space means that any signal detected or not detected would come from the distant past.
Nevertheless, projects such as SETI are conducting an astronNevertheless, projects such as SETI are conducting an astronomical search for radio activity which would confirm the presence of intelligent life. A related suggestion is that aliens might broadcast pulsed and continuous laser signals in the optical, as well as infrared, spectrum; laser signals have the advantage of not "smearing" in the interstellar medium, and may prove more conducive to communication between the stars. While other communication techniques, including laser omical search for radio activity which would confirm the presence of intelligent life. A related suggestion is that aliens might broadcast pulsed and continuous laser signals in the optical, as well as infrared, spectrum; laser signals have the advantage of not "smearing" in the interstellar medium, and may prove more conducive to communication between the stars. While other communication techniques, including laser
transmission and interstellar spaceflight, have been discussed seriously and may well be feasible, the measure of effectiveness is the amount of information communicated per unit cost, resulting with radio as the method of choice.
Know matter what you Believe, if there is Aliens or not .There is sings and people have seen, so there must be something out there.
So What do you believe.
So What do you believe.