Absolutely! There are many types of life forms out there.(likely millions and millions). With 100-200 billion ( recent studies even suggest two trillion) galaxies in the ‘observable’ universe one can only imagine how many stars are within those galaxies. Ponder that and the trillions of planets traveling in their own solar systems around them (our earth travels around the Sun with 7 siblings),
The odds say that they more than likely will look quite different from earthly humans, perhaps even just that of a simple single or multicellular celled organisms . For certain the life (upright human) form as we know it on the planet earth will not be the same on a different planet. All it would take is a small difference in the amount of gravity plus or minus or that of minerals and oxygen content to alter the physical appearance of that planet’s inhabitants, not to mention the atmosphere that we breath and specific moisture content provided on the planet earth. As an example, the adult human earthly body consist of 60% water. The amount of water content can create a difference in physical appearance due to muscular and bone structure, and then there is the light, which would effect vision, skin color and tissue texture. There is even a remote chance that they could even resemble some of the characters in Star wars, who knows?. More than likely intelligent life forms would resemble us in some ways, or visa versa, maybe?
The fact is, Planetary (astro physics) Science has limited knowledge of the Universe at large but astro-science is gaining on it. We do not know much about the real potential killer out there, this being that of Radiation. There are many limitations with regard to dealing with it, but one of the present best solutions is that of a magnetic shield. This requires a lot of power, but in order to reach the planetary destination and then return, this is an absolute must. Lead/aluminum is used at present for the International Space Station “ISS”, but this is in permanent orbit, and not a traveling space vehicle designed specifically for deep space travel.
We are aware of distance to our neighbors and galaxies due to red shift, which is very helpful, but at present a lot of speculation. We do not really have the tools to obtain detailed information with regard to moisture/water content in the planets in our galaxy, specific to oxygen, minerals, etc., except that of those in our sun’s own group, although science is certainly learning more and more.
Then there is the distance to our closest star ‘in the milky way galaxy‘ (of which we are a minuscule member, note: to travel across the milky way it would take 100,000 light years. It would require traveling at the speed of light for about 4.24 light years to distant Proxima Centauri. Do consider that you would be traveling at a sustained speed of 60,000 km/hr for 76,000 continuous years. A note of interest here, today’s science lacks the propulsion & support necessary to get there, to ‘physically explore‘ beyond even that of Mars, let alone beyond and in a reasonable time period and then return them safely to earth. The necessary propulsion, maybe? would be utilizing present day conventional planetary travel fuel to a certain point, and then futuristic methods, such as Ion, or perhaps pulse that would kick in at a certain point, when beyond earth’s present gravity limitations. Although we still would utilize slingshot kicks, utilizing planets gravity while traveling near them. no matter which, we are a very long way from the necessary propulsion system(s) necessary to go much further than Mars-with man on-board. Some day, we will perhaps find a method to defy gravity, thus releasing man from earth’s gravitational grip, and then develop the ability to travel at extreme speed and distance and achieve perhaps “Bent drive, which is not a potential reality for a very long time”. This is defying today’s known science, and the space voyagers never come back. Another scenario would be no one will be there, as perhaps their civilization has been gone for millions or billions of years (do consider that we are potentially dealing with Civilization that went extinct a very long time ago, and we just received a signal). The next question would be the targeted planet as to its stability and sustainability. The proposed target would have to mirror the highly stable conditions our earth provides; just the right type of sunlight and water for life to evolve on the planet. Of course, gravity, as we know it is critical. Keeping our space travelers alive for perhaps thousands of years is a huge (truly an understatement) undertaking. Then there is the radiation. Our travelers would be vulnerable to it from the time they reach the earth’s ionosphere which is about 30 miles above earth, providing a protecting/shielding for our space travelers would in itself be a massive undertaking since we presently lack the ability to provide protection, not to mention the necessary weight restraints, although this hurdle could certainly be overcome.
As to the topic of suspended animation during the spacefaring journey ? This is likely 50 years out since this task is a truly herculean endeavor.
The planet earth is but a pebble in the Milky Way galaxy, and in the big picture of the Universe, much less than a grain of sand in size. It is most likely that there is indeed life in the Universe, but we are at the present rate, hundreds of years, if not thousands of years before we can even travel to the nearest galaxy.
Most likely, the starting point of this intergalactic voyage would begin at the present International Space Station, and likely the spacecraft would be almost as large as the ISS, as gravity restraints would be much less, than taking off from our planet Earth.
As to present mankind initiating a spacefaring galactic journey this is most likely a resounding NO! At this time juncture, and as to “Beam me up Scotty” not possible, this is re-arranging matter, no can do!
How big is the Universe One ask? Well it is really big, and we are are a very long way from even having the tools to see how far it actually goes; most likely – to infinity, so there is no finding the edge. But then again?
In closing, a thought to consider with regard to the little white E.T. ghostly visitors with large eyes that periodically come up pertaining to alien visitors. If, in fact, they are for real, answers to appearance are due to their coming from a constant temperature environment that is likely warm and very steady, as they have no body hair, their skin pale due to less sun exposure, their eyes are large because to they live in a darker environment. Also, their appearance suggest that they do not have adequate vitamin D, thus causing a more frail look, not that this is meant to mean they are weak, just that they look frail or that perhaps they live underground or in enclosed terrestrial campus’s.
And then there is the problem of space debris, at the speed our voyagers are traveling, how do you avoid it. This is not like having the immediate ability to quickly maneuver, etc. as the spacefarers are traveling at tens of thousands of miles per hour.’
For now and for the foreseeable next century, the best bet would be to voyage to Mars and begin colonization, if it could sustain colonization? And one more very critical subject is the very possible threat to the subject planet’s inhabitants due to our introducing virus’s and bacterium’s, we brought with us, or their infecting the spacefaring visitors.
by Gary T. Petler
The Long JourneyAndCan They Survive It ?