Ever since mankind became aware of the fact that there is an endless universe unfolding far beyond the small boundaries of our planet, one that is filled with numerous galaxies, solar systems and planets, there has always been the question; could there be someone else out there? It is definitely an interesting question, since if it is answered it could radically change our perception of the world as we know it. But really how possible is it that we are not the only ones living in this world? What is the possibility that we are not alone?
Our constantly advancing technology allows our scientists to carefully examine numerous aspects of the universe, including the search for other planets similar to ours that can support life. Actually, there have been certain indications that some planets could support or could have supported a life form, indications such as frozen water and oxygen on the planet's surface or certain types of terrain on the ground that proves that on that area there has been a sea or a lake in the past (areas like these have been discovered on the planet Mars). Based on these findings, biologists have even managed to create in a computer environment possible designs of creatures that could survive on a planet with an ecosystem similar to ours, and they have even come to make assumptions on the existence of an advanced, intelligent being, such as humans. Therefore, it is obvious that the scientific data that has been collected so far, strongly indicates that the existence of one or several alien life forms could very well be a reality.
In addition, there is also the philosophical aspect of this issue. The universe in an enormous area of empty space, within which exist billions and billions of stars and planets. Compared to this unbelievably gigantic world, our planet is nothing more than an extremely tiny object on the map. Comparing the planet Earth to our sun is like comparing a golf ball to this planet, and not only that, our sun is extremely small and insignificant compared to the other suns that exist in other solar systems. So, the philosophical question that emerges from these facts is that how could we possibly be the only living planet on the universe when there are so many other planets out there. As a matter of fact, there could not only be one, but hundreds or even thousands of alien civilizations existing within the universe. And also, what if there is a live planet in every solar system? Otherwise what is the point of one sun providing light and heat to a bunch of cold, dark and lifeless planets?
On the other hand, there is a very serious problem concerning the establishment of communication with an alien civilization. The distances among planets and stars in the universe are quite great even for light to travel through. Even if we were to discover an alien civilization on some distant solar system, with the means and technology we have today it would be impossible to reach them. We just can't go that far at the time. Even if someday we manage to build spaceships that can reach speeds close to the speed of light, it would still require many more years of technological advancement and research to achieve such a result. Based on this fact, we can easily realize that if an alien ship manages to reach our planet, it would have to be by a civilization that is far superior to ours when it comes to technological breakthroughs, as they will have managed to solve the problem of overcoming great distances.
The problem of great distances also raises another philosophical question; what is the reason that stars and planets are so far away from each other? Is it because different civilizations that live on those planets are not supposed to ever meet each other? And if so, why is that the case? Why should we never meet?
These are indeed really interesting questions and who knows; maybe someday mankind will manage to give an answer to them. If it is meant to be, it is going to happen sometime. Maybe it is simply a matter of time, maybe we just need to improve our technology first before we can attempt a journey into outer space. Nevertheless, it would be quite fascinating if one day we made the stunning discovery that we are indeed not alone...