Why aliens may already be living with us

Far from home: There are over 4,000 known planets outside our solar system. © Getty

Helen Sharman, a top scientist and the first British person in space, said last weekend that there are definitely aliens somewhere in the Universe – and they may even already be here now.

What’s happening

In May 1991, Helen Sharman, a 27-year-old from Sheffield, hurtled into space on a Soyuz-TM Russian rocket.

So, when she said last weekend, “Aliens exist – there’s no two ways about it”, people paid attention.

In fact, she added, “It’s possible they’re here right now and we simply can’t see them.”

Find out more

Plenty of leading scientists have shared her view, including Stephen Hawking and TV presenter Professor Brian Cox.

Hawking was so convinced that aliens exist – not just as microbes, but as intelligent beings – that he helped set up the Breakthrough Listen project to look for signs of alien communication.

It uses radio telescopes, with a range of up to 25 trillion miles, to search stars and galaxies for radio signals and laser transmissions.

Last year for the first time, its telescopes found repeated pulses of radio waves coming from a single source three billion light years away.

So, do aliens exist?

Some say…

No, of course not. It is 60 years since the idea of using a radio telescope to find aliens was started. Yet for all that money and the clever instruments, the scientists have found nothing at all that can be proved to be alien communication.

Others think…

Yes, of course they do! There may be forms of life that our instruments cannot see and we could not understand because they are so different from us. And given the enormous size of the Universe, the chances that we are its only living inhabitants are tiny.

You Decide

  1. Would you like to meet an alien?

Activities

  1. Draw a poster to put in the window, saying: “Aliens welcome here!”

Some People Say...

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

Arthur C Clarke (1917-2008), British science-fiction writer.

What do you think?

Word Watch

Soyuz-TM
The name Russia gave to its most famous space rockets.
Stephen Hawking
One of the world’s most famous scientists. He died in 2018 after spending much of life in a wheelchair. His story is told in the film The Theory of Everything.
Brian Cox
British scientist who often presents TV programmes.
Microbes
Any living organism that spends its life at a size too tiny to be seen with the naked eye.
Breakthrough Listen
A project to search for intelligent alien communications in the Universe. With millions in funding and thousands of hours of dedicated telescope time on state-of-the-art facilities, it is the most comprehensive search for alien communications to date.
Trillion
One million million.
Universe
Everything that exists, everywhere.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.