Example research essay topic: The Possibility Of Other Beings In Our Universe – 929 words

… ny logical reasons for why they have not yet
reached Earth. Some, including SETI (Search for
ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) pioneer Frank Drake
believes interstellar travel to be so costly and
impractical that the aliens never leave home.
Others believe that those capable of interstellar
travel follow a code of noninterference with
backward or emerging civilizations (Chang par.
12). It could be that intelligent civilizations
are common throughout the universe, but they never
survive past a certain point as a direct result of
nuclear war, greed, pollution, or some other
threat to civilization (Sagan, Cosmos 247).
Perhaps intergalactic travelers feel that we on
Earth are not ready for the realization of
extraterrestrial beings, and that we must first
learn to live in harmony amongst ourselves. Maybe
the aliens just havent reached this part of the
galaxy yet (Chang par. 12).

Maybe they have, but
we are unable to detect their technology, or they
are part of the wide range of incompletely
understood phenomena in astronomy (Sagan, Cosmic
par. 13). And who is to say that they even care to
visit us in the first place? Retired physicist
Michael Hart provides another case for disbelief
in extraterrestrial life. He believes that the
origin of life is an astonishingly rare
coincidence (Chang par. 10). In an ABC News online
chat, he stated, The main problem is not life
existing or evolving, but life originating in the
first place (Hart).

Stephen Hawking, Lucasian
Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University,
and commonly thought of as one of the greatest
minds of our time, provides an excellent
counterpoint to Harts assumption. Hawking
theorizes that if the origin of life were
unlikely, it would take a considerably long time
for it to begin. Subsequently life would evolve to
intelligent forms with little time left before
being destroyed by the swelling of the Sun at the
end of its ten billion year life span. Fossil
evidence proves that life on Earth began some 3.5
billion years ago, a mere five hundred million
years after the Earths environment is believed to
have become suitable for life to develop. Hawking
goes on to say that instead of taking the possible
seven billion years to originate, life developed
in only about one-fourteenth of the time
available. This suggests a good chance for
spontaneous generation of life, in suitable
conditions (Hawking pars.

10-12). Much of the
doubt of extraterrestrial existence is directed
towards SETI, an ongoing project devoted to
detecting radio transmissions from outer space.
Skeptics point out that since its beginning over
forty years ago, SETI has not produced any
affirmation of extraterrestrial life (Hart). Since
1992, SETI has analyzed over five hundred trillion
signals, but has not discovered even one alien
signal (Search par. 33). Many, including Tulane
physicist Frank Tipler, believe the SETI project
to be a waste of both time and money (Gardner).
What most SETI doubters fail to mention is that
Project Phoenix, SETIs current project, will only
examine several stars out of every billion in the
Galaxy. Theyve only examined about one-billionth
of the galaxy to date (Chyba 18-19).

Nobody said
that the chances for extraterrestrial intelligence
were that great! In conclusion, the physical
constructs of the universe, combined with the
determination of life to adapt and survive, make
it very hard to deny the great likelihood of life
on other planets. Even the most logical of
skeptics provide theories that are easily
questioned. Though there is not currently any
concrete proof of the existence of
extraterrestrial beings, it would be impossible to
prove that they do not exist elsewhere in the vast
expanses of the universe. It is therefore
imperative that we continue our search. As author
and internationally renowned astronautical
engineer Robert Zubrin wrote, To be really alive
as individuals, to be really alive as a
civilization and as a species, we must be willing
to continually seek out and experience the newwhen
we cease exploring, we die (283) . Works Cited
Astronomy: First New Solar System Found.

World
News Digest. 6 May 1999. 17 Nov. 2001.
http://www.2facts.com/stories/index/1999135190.asp
Brownsberger, Ken. Habitable Planets Around Other
Stars. 1997.

3 Nov. 2001.
http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/j/e/jew184 By
the Numbers: Search for Extraterrestrial Life.
Issues and Controversies. 26 Mar. 1999 17 Nov.
2001.
http://www.2facts.com/ICOF/Search/in040602.asp
Chang, Kenneth. Are We Alone? Odds of Success. 4
Nov.

2001.
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/seti/seti
success.html Chyba, Christopher F.
Extraterrestrial Intelligence. FDCH Congressional
Testimony. EBSCOhost. 12 Jul. 2001: 44 pars.
Cowen, R. Evidence Grows for Nearby Planetary
System.

Science News. EBSCOhost. Vol. 158, Issue
6. 5 Aug. 2000: 84.

Gardner, Martin. Maybe. Los
Angeles Times. 29 Nov. 1998: 8. Hart, Michael.
Maybe No Ones Out There.

Online Chat Transcript. 1
Jul. 1999. ABC News Science. 4 Nov. 2001.
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/c
hat hart990701.html Hawking, Stephen.

Life in the
Universe. 6 Dec. 2001.
http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/life.html
Morrison, Philip. All Alone? (Or Not?) Online
Posting. NOVA Online. 4 Nov.

2001
http://www.pbs.org/wgbn/nova/worlds/morrison.html
Naeye, Robert. An Ocean for Ganymede, Too.
Astronomy. EBSCOhost. Vol. 29, Issue 5. May 2001:
26.

Origins: Astrobiology. 2001. 3 Nov. 2001.
http://origins.jpl.nasa.gov/astrobiology/astrobiol
ogy.html Sagan, Carl. Cosmic Search Vol. 1 No.

2.
Smithsonian. May 1978: 32 pars. 11 Nov. 2001.
http://www.brgear.org/vol1no2/sagan.html —.
Cosmos. New York: Ballantine Books, 1980. —.
Planets.

LIFE, 1966: 24 pars. 3 Nov. 2001.
<http://www1.tpg.com.ati/users/tps-
seti/planets.html> Search for Extraterrestrial
Life. Issues and Controversies. 26 Mar. 1999.

17
Nov. 2001.
http://www.2facts.com/ICOF/search/i0400680.asp
Shostak, Seth. Our Galaxy Should Be Teeming With
Civilizations, But Where Are They? Online Posting.
25 Oct. 2001. 4 Nov. 2001.
http://www.space.com/searchforlife/shostak paradox
011024.html Zubrin, Robert.

Entering Space. New
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Research essay sample on The Possibility Of Other Beings In Our Universe