“If you hold up a dime to the sky, you cover up the view of billions of stars.
And if you think extraterrestrial life doesn’t exist,
Or at least the story goes, as my dad tells it to me for maybe the fortieth time in the past year-and-a-half. He sits back reminiscing to a seminar he went to on space, where the speaker said just that and a handful of other things with less potency. But let’s consider that. Our tiny star has somewhere between eight and ten known planets, depending on whether you consider Pluto a planet (which it is), and the possibility for the new planet NASA just found to exist. And if NASA can find another planet this far in the game, what’s stopping them from finding more? So for fun, let’s say ten planets is the average for every sun. Out of all the stars in the sky, lets call 80 per cent of them suns, which is low-balling it. 80 billion suns, at ten planets each, making 800 billion planets, all which occupy the space of a dime. Just in that figure alone it’s hard for me to imagine that somewhere in that 800 billion, life doesn’t exist, even in the form of bacteria or a single celled organism. Whether any life out there holds our status of “intelligent” remains to be seen, and to be honest most likely will never be seen considering how big the universe is, but the possibility for mutual existence is one of the most wonderful feelings I can think of. There’s an air of defeatism around saying that all life in the universe is limited to that on earth. Not only that, but to accept the limitation of life is in large part a very lonely concept. I’d like to think that the magnificence of the universe is something that is shared with other beings outside of our little blue rock. Maybe it’s not that they realize where they are or know that there are other things outside of their environment, but it’s the thought that counts. You also have to wonder what the rest of the universe looks like from a perspective different than ours. What constellations and planets exist, what they look like, and how they could be treated within an extraterrestrial culture. While I know I’m transitioning to a very hypothetical point of view on the topic, it seems to me that doing so is inevitable any time I begin talk on the subject. Each time I find myself lying down and looking up at the stars to wonder what, or who, I’m looking at. Stargazing is endless entertainment for me, and I certainly understand that for some it might be a fruitless pursuit, but I the next time you find yourself under clear skies, try thinking of the possibilities that exist past our own pocket of the stars, and you might find that time will move a little faster as well.
If you’re interested in learning about the newfound “ninth” (tenth…) planet in our solar system, you can read more about it here on NASA’s website: