Are We Alone in the Universe?


Photos taken by the Cassini spacecraft. Courtesy of Wikipedia and NASA/JPL

Pictures of Earth by planetary missions, human spaceflight, Earth, NASA lunar missions before 2005.

Why are we here? Why on this particular planet and not another? Pondering these questions infinitely may or may not uncover the answers. Perhaps there is no explanation that would approach our capacity to understand. But what we can comprehend is the question of what are we doing with our existence to justify taking space on that planet.

There could be a million answers as to why we’re here at all. Call it chance, faith, or random pairing of our nucleic chromosomes. As Aon Magazine stated, “Life is thought to have arisen in the Archaean aeon, some 650 million years ago.”

Jump forward 650 million years. You’re now the offspring of parents who were randomly selected to produce you. You might say that if your father hadn’t joined a particular club he wouldn’t have met your mother. And vice versa, if your mother hadn’t agreed to attend an evening dance at that particular club, she wouldn’t have met your father. You can replicate this model up your ancestry’s ladder and it would remain that you are you because of chance or accidental event.


Earth is seen as a distant shining light on the bottom right of Saturn’s rings (Click first on the image then click on the green X) in this image taken by  Cassini’s spacecraft. Earth appears vulnerable and alone in the cosmos. Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL

From Saturn’s point of view in the above photograph of Earth we are 746 million miles, or 1.2 billion kilometers, away from the spectacular ringed planet. Water has been found so far on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moon, beneath its crust to support life.


The Earth is seen in the center of the image as as a small white dot through the rings of Saturn from a distance of one billion miles. Photo captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

It is true that the enormous distances to our neighboring planets have so far prevented us from exploring whether life exist or if their soil can support some life (except for finding frozen waters on Mars). Outside of our solar system, there isn’t much we know so far that supports the existence of life on other planets. We seem to be alone in this universe. So while we’re here on this small planet Earth, we are the only life we know.

We are the only living, thriving, and continuing life system that we know. Perhaps upon seeing the staggering odds that we may be the only intelligent life form existing in this galaxy, we can stand back in awe and see the planet with new eyes.

Commander Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut for the International Space Station, said in conversation with Camille Seaman, explorer and polar photographer, “Earth is our spaceship.” We live on a planet that sustains life and must do everything in our power to cherish and protect it.


Earthrise – Planet Earth seen from the Moon, December 24, 1968, captured by astronaut William Anders during Apollo 8 mission. NASA.

Civilization, so far, has done much to destroy life on earth with repeated wars. It’s quite amazing that humanity has survived those wars. Intermittently, we have those intent on destroying precious human, animal, and plant life, while others are destroying our spaceship. Individuals and nations that understand the simple principle of preserving life have so far emerged, but they aren’t enough.

As we go about our daily lives, pursuing our livelihoods, we ought to ask ourselves, at least periodically, what are we doing to preserve life on Earth? How can we contribute; how can we leave our mark in this world by saving at least one life? We can examine our beliefs, our rationales, and opinions about the dangers that our planet is facing. We can adapt and change our thought that this is tomorrow’s problem: tomorrow is already here.

What can we do to save Earth? Without a livable planet we won’t exist. Let us all band together and formulate ideas on how we can save our planet. Then let’s put those thoughts into action. Let us start now a conversation on how to save our only planet, a ship called Earth.

Posted in Lilian Gafni
One comment on “Are We Alone in the Universe?
  1. Lilian Gafni says:

    Thank you Jamaal for visiting my website. I also enjoyed watching your video.

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