Are We Really Alone?

With all the ways scientists look at space, what are the odds of finding life?

Jaime Green
7 min readMar 20, 2018
Photo by Yong Chuan on Unsplash

The sky seems so vast, and space beyond it. You leave the city, head out to the country, and discover the blanket of stars. You see the Hubble Deep Field, an image of a seemingly empty spot of sky, revealed to be full of galaxies, clustered like jewels. There’s a Hubble eXtreme Deep Field, too, which reveals even more.

So how could we be alone, with all this space? It seems impossible. It seems impossibly lonely, too.

As humanity has come to understand the universe, we’ve come to see, again and again, that we are not special. In 1543, Copernicus proved that Earth is not the center of the universe, and so it began. Again and again, our understanding of the world was disturbed (sometimes completely demolished), and humanity was shuffled toward the edge. The Earth is not the center of the solar system; the solar system is not the center of the galaxy; the Milky Way is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies — not at the center of the universe, and maybe not even the only universe. To think, then, that we are the only thinking life in the universe is obvious hubris.

There is the wisdom of hindsight and centuries of discovery, and then there is the evidence — or the resounding lack thereof. Not just…

--

--

Jaime Green

Writer & editor | BuzzFeed, Brooklyn Magazine, Slate, Longreads, &c.