It’s a perfectly reasonable question. If the universe is teeming with life, as many astrologers suspect, then why haven’t we encountered any? Why does it seem like we’re all alone, destined never to meet anyone or anything outside of this great floating rock?
According to astrobiologists from The Australian National University, the answer may be because all of our neighbors are dead.
“The universe is probably filled with habitable planets, so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens,” said Dr Aditya Chopra, according to PHYS.org.
“Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive. Most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable.”
“The mystery of why we haven’t yet found signs of aliens may have less to do with the likelihood of the origin of life or intelligence and have more to do with the rarity of the rapid emergence of biological regulation of feedback cycles on planetary surfaces.”
In other words, the rather specific conditions required for life to arise aren’t the only roadblock on the path to abiogenesis. There’s also the fact that developing planets are unstable, and may extinguish life far more often than not.
Hat tip: PHYS.org
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