Unique, you say? (Revision 1)
“Unique.” Humans have been force fed this idea about Earth for the entirety of our lives. If we aren’t unique, then where is the proof of life elsewhere in the universe? It’s obvious, isn’t it? We have never seen “aliens,” so we can safely draw the conclusion that we are alone in this universe. Right?
The size and complexity of the universe makes the thought of us being alone seemingly impossible. Neil deGrasse Tyson, a well-known astrophysicist, explains the reality of the “uniqueness” in the attached video.
“That’s like going to the ocean, taking a cup of water, scooping it up [looking at the cup] and saying ‘There are no whales in the ocean.’ Here’s my data. You need a slightly bigger sample.” I can’t agree with Tyson more. Just because we can’t see life in the small area we have explored (barely beyond the reach of the solar system), doesn’t mean we can jump to the conclusion that we are alone. That idea of Earth being the only place to support life is a very crazy and conceited thought to me.
After taking astrophysics and astronomy classes, one is humbled to see how huge and vast the universe really is. There are a few hundred billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and a few hundred billion galaxies in the OBSERVABLE universe. “Observable” means that these numbers only reflect what we are able to see from Earth. When I learned this, I realized that “unique” is the furthest from the truth when it comes to Earth’s position in the universe. This idea strengthens my passion to continue our space exploration in the days to come.