Billions of Earths in Milky Way?

A short post on an important topic — the likely chance life exists elsewhere other than Earth.  Scientists recently discovered that there might be billions of planets in our galaxy that are in the habitable zone for life relative to their life-giving suns.  Almost 80% of the stars in our galaxy are “Red Dwarfs” which are fainter and cooler than our sun, and based on a sample they have a large number of “rocky” planets orbiting habitable zones.  But you can read all the details via the link I post at the end of this short piece.  There hasn’t been a lot of media coverage on the discovery, but it has appeared here and there on the major networks to serve as a short break from all the other micro focused stories on our civilization.

If there are billions of potential planets in our galaxy that have the potential to hold water or are located at a habitable distance from their respective suns, then one can extrapolate what that means when considering there are billions of observable galaxies in our “known universe”.  It is only a matter of time before we discover that we aren’t the only show in town.  So many questions arise when contemplating this reality and what it means relative to our own progress or lack thereof here on planet Earth.  And this idea that we are not alone is one of my primary and naive child-like challenges that I pose to people here on Earth.  Combine this idea with the other idea that the universe and planet Earth is a very chaotic and violent environment that creates and destroys and creates and destroys regardless of the fact we exist — one must contemplate the value of our daily concerns and to what long-term end they serve.

Given the above realities, what are we doing here on planet Earth?  Do our daily or generational or religious or philosophical occupations take these broad realities into account?  Or, do we simply go about our business with our heads buried in the sand?  Unfortunately, I believe we adhere to the later rather than the former.  We are so far astray from an enlightened and directional race or species relative to our potential that one cannot help but classify the human experiment at this point in time as a complete and utter failure.  What new information or discoveries are required to awake the consciousness of the human species?  What events or catastrophes must occur for us to define more significant and intelligent directions?  The boundaries are truly undefined.  The only borders are those that we have imposed and continue to impose on ourselves.  We must deconstruct our current direction, beliefs, institutions, thoughts, religions, philosophies, economies, within the context of these two broad truths and undiscovered truths, in order to re-set our broad and fungible directions.  Otherwise, we will end up like the vast majority of other species on this lonely planet — merely a flash of existence and insignificant within the context of eternity and borderless space and possibilities.

Billions of potential planets

24 thoughts on “Billions of Earths in Milky Way?

  1. Stop! There’s only one Earth!

    You say “given the above realities” as if someone has actually been there and seen! That didn’t happen. No one has ever been anywhere but here. The “above realities” are Illusions.

    There’s only one place that sustains life. This is the only chance we get to live.

    • You could be right. But I take the position that there is an extremely high probability that there are other planets in this universe or other universes that can sustain life. And that thought alone is worth thinking about. Imagine what creatures may exist that don’t exist here? But there are other more important reasons that I bring this topic up often. This article provides a very good summary which presents views from Astronauts that have been up there and away from here.

    • Did you read the linked article that expresses the point of views from the Astronauts? If people raised their consciousness to the fragility and beauty of the Earth relative to what exists just outside our atmosphere, I think the human direction would benefit greatly. The article expresses many enlightened views from the astronauts.

    • Ah…well that fits in that it enables us to get over ourselves…that perhaps God didn’t form us in his own image and that life doesn’t only exist here on Earth as the bible asserts…that indeed there are potentially an infinite number of life possibilities and creations other than what we see here on Earth. Life on other planets is yet another stake through the heart of many religions. I don’t want to go into the debate about religion, but it is not something that helps us curtail the status quo. And the status quo must change. A perfect example is the idea that over-population isn’t a bad thing in the eye of religion and that any attempts to reduce or control our population is a sin. When you take the view of that expressed by astronauts….one can only view religious dogma as a danger to those co-existing (all animate creatures) on the pale blue dot.

      • Okay. I just don’t think it matters about other planets and stuff. We can’t go there anyway. I’m sure I’m over-simplifying again.

    • I think I get your point. Basically you are saying live and appreciate what you have and quit looking for escapes to outer space 🙂 And I like that suggestion.

      On the flip side, I think more knowledge of the universe is a worthwhile endeavor and contemplating the universe or potentially other universes can in a way lead one to your argument.

  2. I think the Blue Marble, Earth, is all alone in this universe. We are lucky to be alive and conscious.

    I think Stephen Hawking recently said we have sampled the sky for radio waves using the SETI telescopes and have found no repeatable patters in any of the wave lengths. I think he believes we have taken a big enough sample to use statistics to infer, that life similar to our own is not out there.

    Carl Jung in his autobiography, says that man looks at the problem incorrectly. Man asks why do I exist? What does this all mean? Instead, Carl Jung says “What question is it that the existence of mankind or life is the answer to.” He turns it inside out. Consciousness and life is not just for us, it give all the rest of God’s creation, the rocks, the planets, the cosmos, its existence. For if there were no consciousness, nothing or no one would know that anything even exists, and that would not be very impressive to God. God needs life to give the universe both existence and meaning. Jung saw the quest for spirituality in us as a reflection of a very deep essence, a soul, likely a product connected to God.

    As for other universes, string theory in physics posits that we may actually be living in a nine to eleven dimensional universe where our senses can pick up length, width, height, time, gravity, life, and others. They are testing those theories with the colliders in Europe.

    I do think we need to look outside of ourselves, or we will destroy the Blue Marble, and go down as just another blip in the billions of years long time line. I find believing there is a God a lot easier to grasp than the alternative that the whole universe is a gigantic random explosion out of absolutely zero or nothingness that finds me billions and billions of years later, here. Same for you. We are here for a purpose, even if we are ignorant.

    • You need to expand on this post and perhaps create your own post that goes deeper. I think, as far as planet Earth goes, there are a few species that have large enough brains to contemplate what is and affirm what exists here an now. We humans aren’t the sole perspective. I would include Orcas, Dolphins, Goriilas, Elephants, and perhaps some other species like the Wolf, the Eagle, the Hawk, the Bear, the Lion, and so many other apex predators that have higher senses than ourselves. Many great astronomers or scientists have come to the conclusion that our universe might be associated with “intelligent design”, and therefore believe in a higher power. I don’t claim to exclude that possibility. But, I do claim to exclude that man is capable of explaining that higher power as of yet. The bible, and all the other religions, have as of yet, failed to prove the mysteries of what is and what could be through the endless time of creation and destruction…and creation and destruction. I adhere to my brother’s view….there is no beginning, and there is no end. How could there be?

  3. Yes; in many instances we have many outstanding leaders in our history that have taught us that thinking outside the box is how we make the most memorable achievements. Instead of providing some kind of concrete detail for this statement, I’d rather just say that there are a myriad of intellectual fields that can stand in support. And honestly, nothing is outwardly explored or put into action until something notable happens to us. I feel that that is the only way we can begin to mold our way of thinking so that we can begin to open our eyes to endless possibilities. Need I say, “Eureka!”? On many occasions, we’ve already begun this path. But we are a baby species when we consider how long Earth has been around. We are naive to think that there is only one chance at life which happens to be this planet.

    However, I don’t agree that the human experiment is a complete and utter failure. I like to think that the greater intellects of our society are still on their way to learning new things in life, and that it is just that we are limited by the confines of our organized (or should I say disorganized?) structure that prevent us from skyrocketing with knowledge! However, it is this organized structure which also creates a beauty that composes mankind. And no matter how disruptive and illogical some parts of mankind may be, I have a true appreciation for all of it! Unfortunately, many of these attempts at discovery lead to our demise in the long run, but I have faith that there is some ounce of sophistication that will lead to greater insight in nature.

    Hi Tincup! Just stopping by to comment, but especially to inform you that you’ve been nominated for an award, and it’s sitting on my blog! Toodles~!

    • Your “faith” is the same faith that inspires me to waste time making posts. I don’t think I gave your comment enough attention. From the chaos that is our human direction, there are those that rise above and change our course. There is always the opportunity to learn and improve and go beyond what we thought was possible.

  4. Wonderful topic. I believe science and technology have burst through historic limitations and changed the way we live and think- who would have believed google search not many years ago? What disappoints me is we individual human beings have the opportunity to “burst into the future” through creative, provocative, brave, and free use of our most powerful component- our consciousness- but we cling to “the earth is flat” mentality and look to the lords of society to tell us what we can think and perceive. I feel strongly that in our “universe given” consciousness we hold the keys to not only incredible knowledge but powers to communicate with and join with the consciousness of the universe. I believe we will discover we can transcend currently held beliefs about the physical limitations of space travel, and come to realize the future of incredible travel is sourced in our human consciousness. Sounds crazy. I don’t know why I believe this, but I am sure we will discover, travel in, and communicate with the consciousness of the universe no matter how physically far away- and to do this we need more brave souls to say no to the current inhibitions on our freedom to think, and GO FOR IT.

    • Bill Beerman….I really connect with your comment. I will never be an enlightened one due to my upbringing, but I have an idea what you are communicating. If we teach our young people about what we know (all of it…human and natural history in an objective manner), and then contemplate what we don’t know, the only future direction in the realm of consciousness is upward. But that assumes our intentions for the young is directed towards something other than perpetuating the interests of what is and the power and wealth that benefits from the status quo.

      • Thanks for the comment tincup…………..not sure your upbringing is the limitation you think it to be- or rather we all must deal with the positives and limitations of what we were taught growing up? Maybe good to teach the young how amazing and valuable their own inner self is, to honor it, and be willing to trust our deepest intuitions. True that parents typically want to inspire societal values such as status and visible success…….but the future of exploration may well be in the realm of our individual consciousness, given less new “lands” to discover on our earth, and the current limitations on physical space travel. Let’s explore within, and share what we are coming up with? That is the coming frontier I believe.

  5. I think that you are cool. I think that my broken hand is a real drag. I think Brian Cox has the right attitude. As cynical as I can be I never stop in awe at the beauty we know and the universe(s) we don’t. I’m a pain in the ass, I make mistakes but I try to be a better human being. I try. It begins at home. Looking into the sky should make us wonder, create, imagine…

    I like gin. 😉

  6. No need to stand in awe before the scientists and their “discoveries”. Many philosophers have known all along that something cannot come from nothing. If one looks into the matter, what this means is that there is no end to what is. Contemplate the reality of Eternity and you will find that there are not just “billions of potential planets”, but infinite planets . . . and universes . . . and with them, of course, Life.

    It’s silly for us to sit around here in our little bubble imagining ourselves the one grand exception. “Is there other life out there” we ask, like chimpanzees scratching their heads just becoming aware of twinkling lights in the night sky.

    If there is life here, there is life out there. Doesn’t this stand to reason? Do we really imagine that what is possible here should somehow be impossible everywhere else in all of Eternity? Ridiculous. There are other dumb species out there asking the same idiotic question: “I wonder if there is anyone else out there?” ~Scratch scratch~. There are also more intelligent ones who already know the answer.

    • Philosophers are always ten steps ahead of scientists…they can form a hypothesis via logic and extrapolation without bothering themselves with the mundane tasks of proof.

  7. Wow. Several months have passed. But I do enjoy this discussion, and thanks Tincup for your input. I just heard on local NPR a female Cosmologist talking about the multiple universes that many posit the existence of, and I just think that is a mindblower. I wonder how people felt and reacted to the proof that our earth is round, not flat? That too was rather “unexpected”.
    I’m in the camp of many here who believe the subject of the Universe(s) and consciousness is an essential part of determining our human identity, or at least enhancing it.
    I am at a crossroads. Stay put where I am, or make a big move. There are practical considerations of course. I cannot book passage on a spaceship to Mars. I can fly to Africa
    and see the stars from there. Is human civilization on earth going somewhere valuable? Can the individual find home as a member of the Cosmos? Is there a cosmic purpose or plan to the march of earthly evolution? Do I need to travel physically into the unknown of another country, or as Lao Tzu intimated, that I can find all I need of the Cosmos inside myself, without needing to even peer out my window or visit the neighboring village?
    I do believe one thing to be true that my faithful I Ching has suggested in Hexagram #58- Joy.
    It is good to discuss “the truths of life” with friends. Isolated learning can become ponderous and heavy. Sharing thoughts with others in congenial conversation is like a stream connecting two lakes, and feeding both.

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