144 billion bottles of beer on the wall, 144 billion bottles of beer.
Take one down and pass it around, one hundred forty-three billion nine hundred ninety-nine million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall.
I wonder how long it’s going to take to sing this song until we get to ‘one bottle of beer’. It’s an academic question, certainly, since nobody would be crazy enough to try and sing the whole blasted song. But that’s my point exactly. We have no idea how absolutely huge 144 billion is until we are forced to think of it as a single bottle of beer for each count.
Now, expand the mind and think of each bottle of beer as an Earth-size, Earth-like planet. This means that all Earth-sized planets that do not have an atmosphere, or with an atmosphere that cannot support carbon life forms, have been rejected. Likewise for planets that are too large or too small, or too close to the sun, or too far from the sun, or are single roving wanderers without a solar system to call their own.
This list is so exclusive that if I, a single frail human being, cannot walk around on that planet without suffering undue physical ailments, it is summarily struck from being included as part of that 144 billion exoplanets that can support life within the Milky Way galaxy.
The rejection list must have numbered in the hundreds and thousands of billions of planets, I’m sure, with the end result being that there are estimates upwards of around 144 billion (> 1011) habitable Earth-like exoplanets (FYI: an exoplanet is a planet outside of our own solar system) just in our galaxy alone.
We’re not even talking about the other (in far excess of) 100 billion galaxies in the Universe THAT WE CAN SEE, each with their own hundreds of billions of suns and planets. Obviously, there are many more that we just don’t have the capability to see yet with our poor limited telescopes.
This is the gist of what Dr. Kopparapu, expert with the Kepler Mission, estimates  :
- Stars in the Galaxy : 400 billion
- The number of habitable earth-like exoplanets in our Milky Way Galaxy : 144 billion (> 1011).
- The OORT Cloud around our Sun (it is also hypothesized by some astronomers that most suns have OORT clouds) is estimated :
- to contain : several trillion individual asteroids (objects) larger than 1 km (0.62 mi).
- to reach 1 light year towards the next closest star just 4 light years away – Proxima Centauri.
I’m not a mathematician, but this kind of number boggles my brain and makes me want to know:
What is the chance that at least ONE of these planets would be harboring intelligent life? Is it that far-fetched to think there is intelligent life out there? After all, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
But even then…I’m not too sure about that so-called ‘lack of evidence’. I’m sure evidence turns up everywhere we look. Many of the world’s leaders are just not admitting publicly at this time, but I have a very strong feeling that there is probably much more out there than they are willing to admit.
People around me laugh when they hear someone talk about aliens from outer space. They think that folks who believe there might be intelligent life outside of Earth can’t have all their marbles in the correct order, but does having the ability to line up marbles in matching rows indicate mental stability, or does it just indicate an obsessive compulsive nature?
Furthermore, once we intellectually grasp the sheer volume—the mind-boggling number of possible Earth-like planets out there, can we even consider ourselves mentally stable if we DON’T believe or CAN’T contemplate the possibility of intelligent life outside of Earth?
My point in belaboring this is, if even just ONE of these planets harbor intelligent life, that means we are not alone and that everything we think we know about life has just instantly vanished to be replaced by a new paradigm of thought. This new inclusive though process is one that will demolish and then replace every single philosophical ideology we currently hold dear. If we think it is difficult to love our fellow human beings, we will find the next step to be herculean. But it would be an ultimate labor of love, a hurdle that we must overcome and embrace, or we will find ourselves sliding backwards into barbarism and eventually, into oblivion.
But I have great hopes for humankind. We simply need enough critical mass to hit that tipping point. It would be a new chapter in the book of Humanity. We would have to learn how to view all the different races of sentient beings as being part of the Universe that we are also a part of. We would have to begin to grasp the concept of true Universal love and then apply it towards living entities that may or may not even look remotely human.
For the sake of humanity’s future, I sincerely hope we are able to find enough love within our hearts to cross that great divide and find a common ground with those who are very different from us—those whose only connection to us is the fact that they are created from the same star-stuff that we are also composed of.
Ultimately, we are all children of the stars.