Are We Alone?

“Do you think there is life on other worlds?”

Please join me on a journey:

Step 1
I want you to imagine yourself standing on a beach with very fine sand. In the warm sunshine you bend down and pick up as big a handful as you possibly can. Guess how many grains of sand you have.


Step 2
Next I want you to imagine that beach being huge. Like so many beaches across the world it stretches for miles. Take a good look around you and try and guess, from one end of the beach to the other, how many grains of sand there are on the whole beach.


Step 3
Now, try to imagine how many beaches there are in total throughout the whole world and how much sand there is. Then include all the sand under the seas and oceans, which cover 71% of the planet. Then, if you could count them all up, try to estimate how many grains of sand there are on all those beaches and under the oceans when they are added together?
Of course, we are starting to get into numbers that our brains find it difficult to understand.


BUT wait………


If we are talking about grains of sand, then we haven’t yet considered the world’s deserts. For instance, The Sahara Desert is so big that that whole of Britain could be picked up, dropped in the middle and it would be a considerable amount time before anybody found it. It’s certainly true that most people consider The Sahara Desert to be the one we all talk about. However, please don’t forget there are lots of deserts. I will mention two only, The Kalahari Desert and the Gobi Desert. They are both HUGE, almost beyond our comprehension. So if there are LOTS of deserts in the world we can very safely assume the grains of sand in in the deserts might even be more than the number of grains on all the beaches and under the oceans of the world.


Now we must try to put these two numbers together: We need to have a guess at:


The number of grains of sand on all the beaches and under all the oceans in the world
The number of grains of sand in all the desert of the world.


If you are like me then you will be feeling it’s almost too big a number to imagine.



Now, stop and take a very close look at one single grain of sand.


Now, it’s important to imagine that a single grain of sand is our Sun at the centre of our Solar System and that it has planets going around it, one of which is dear old Earth.


Now we that have an inkling about the scale of big numbers involved, we can try to get to grips with:

There are more suns (stars) in the universe than there are grains of sand in the whole world. AND, of course, each sun will have a system of planets circling it. In fact it turns out that our Solar System is one very small and insignificant example tucked away in a corner of a rather small galaxy of stars.

Of course we know that an awful lot of those planets will not be able to support life (or certainly not as we understand it) because they will be too far away (too cold) or too close (too hot) to the sun. Yet, in 2014, whilst looking at our own Solar System, scientists have become excited about a possible form of life (probably microbes) living on the moons of Saturn, which is much further from the sun (and colder) than us.
In short, we can be sure that throughout the universe there will be a colossal number of planets that will be just about the right distance from their own sun to support life like us. Scientists even have a name for being “just the right distance” from a sun: “The Goldilocks Zone”


To Sum Up
Personally, I find the size of the universe both overwhelming and humbling. I also believe it represents limited thinking for anybody to say that in all that infinity of space no other life form has ever come into existence. I just cannot come to terms with such a limited view.


BUT wait ….there’s more.


An Extra Step
Suns (or Stars) throughout the universe, collect in large groups. We call them Galaxies. If you look up at the stars at night you will see just the tiniest fraction of the 300 billion stars in our own Galaxy, which is called The Milky Way.
Now I’ve got to be careful here because, every time we send up a better telescope into space we discover masses more stars. So, in a strange sort of way, you could say our own insignificant little Galaxy called “The Milky Way” is growing, as we get better at discovering new stars and of course loads of new planets to go with them. Indeed, some scientists already say we have 500 billion plus stars in The Milky Way. Just imagine how many planets they will have orbiting them and how many of those planets will be in the “Goldilocks Zone” ready to support life like ours?


One More……
Just as we are gradually discovering more stars in our own galaxy, we are also (with better telescopes) starting to discover ever more galaxies. For instance we now know the nearest galaxy to us is Andromeda and (so far) we estimate it has 1 trillion stars in it but better telescopes will no doubt find loads more.
I suppose you will want to know how many galaxies there are. So does everybody else! Well, the answer is a guess again, as every new telescope discovers a whole lot more that were too far away for us to see before.
In 2014 the best guess is there are at least 200 billion galaxies, each populated with an almost countless billions of stars and therefore an even bigger number of planets. Of one thing we can be sure. That number is going to grow.
So – yes – I believe that some form of life has developed out there in the infinity of the universe. Whether we will ever get to meet each other is another question, as the distances are overwhelming vast; so much so that the numbers involved make our earlier grains of sand analogy look infinitesimally small.



Let me leave you with a question.

Over the years there have been countless sightings of UFOs and I’m quite sure people wanting to get attention has been a big motivation. However, quite a few have been successful career minded people such as pilots (among others) who have absolutely no need of being ridiculed as usually happens when a sighting is reported.
So here is the question:

Out of the millions of reported UFO sightings, how many have to be 100% true to prove that Earth has been visited by extra-terrestrial life………..?



……..The answer is of course: ONE



Attached below are two links to slide shows – just in case you are interested. 

1. The first indicates the relative size of the planets in our Solar System to each other and finally compares our Sun to a couple of others that are close enough within our galaxy study. This slide show could be called “Local Space”.

Solar System 1

2. The second shows The Hubble Telescope” in space. It is our most advanced. Here are some of its photos. I find them amazing. You will need to understand that a nebula is a massive glass cloud that will gradually come together to form billions or perhaps trillions of stars and (of course) far more planets. So our universe is still growing!