How Lucky Are We?

Luck is defined by Merriam-Webster as being a force that brings good fortune or adversity. Many wish luck upon others whether they are about to perform a song or take an exam. This article isn’t going to be about individual luck. Instead it is going to be about the luck of the entire human race.

Human kind as we know it has been on this Earth for a mere 200,000 years. Our ancestors which we share with the chimpanzee and other primates have been around for 6 million years and the great ball on which we live has been around for 4.5 billion years.

For centuries humans have pondered the possibility of life being out there in the universe. What an incredible moment that would be. The discovery of extraterrestrial life which would mean we aren’t alone and we aren’t the only ones in the universe.

According to chemists carbon, of which we owe credit to life on Earth, is the most fruitful element. It is happy to bond with other elements in such a way that has allowed the diversity of life we know here on Earth. The probability of other lifeforms taking upon a different elemental base is unlikely due to that reason nevertheless this is what we as carbon based life forms presume. Other lifeforms could evolve with different ways of coping with having other elemental bases.

It is not an arrogant statement to say that the probability of other life forms having other elemental bases than ours is low. It would however be arrogant to say that humans are the only life in the universe. Statistically speaking (just going off of the vast numbers of the universe) life is something that might not be so uncommon as we think.

As far as we know alien civilizations could have already existed. Some planets which have been identified by N.A.S.A. as exoplanets have similarities to Earth that could support life as we know it. There are a total of 2,341 confirmed exoplanets that are in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’.

This zone is the orbit around a star where the planet wouldn’t be to hot or to cold. At this point liquid water would be able to exist on the planets surface. It is possible that on these planets alien civilizations have developed to the point that we have. Or a huge calamity could have struck the planet whether it be alien disease that wiped out the entire population of intelligent life. Perhaps an asteroid struck the planet some million years ago and made life start over or made is stop indefinitely.

Or maybe we just so happen to be at the point in time where the evolution of the alien life is not far along in its process. Deep in those alien oceans, sea creatures are swimming and competing for survival. In the next couple million years the first land creature could climb forth from the ocean. Of course assuming they would follow a similar path that we have on earth.

It could take the alien life a very long time to evolve. More time than the earth has left before the sun engulfs the planet in the final part of it’s life. The more we look out into the cosmos the more we see planets like ours. The more we find, the less special and unique our beloved planet seems. Maybe we aren’t as lucky as we would like to think.

On the NASA website it says that there are more exoplanets than there are stars in our galaxy. Drastically making our planets not so ‘lucky’. As the incredible Neil Degrasse Tyson said “ The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust. ”

Perhaps the quote doesn’t have any striking pertinence to our topic but it is still a good one. With this I leave you to ponder what makes us ‘lucky’ here on Earth. Why haven’t we found other life? (or heard from them) What would be the publics reaction if alien life was discovered?

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