The truth is (somewhere) out there: Aliens may exist… but only in a galaxy far, far away, says Brian Cox
- Professor Brian Cox says aliens could exist and may even be common
- But intelligent life and civilisations like our own could be ‘extremely rare’
- The TV scientist said he was ‘sure’ that there are civilisations out there
Aliens really could exist, but not in our galaxy, according to Professor Brian Cox.
The TV scientist was asked about US Congressman Andre Carson’s comments last week that UFOs are ‘a potential national security threat’ which are ‘real’ and ‘need to be investigated’.
Professor Cox suggested intelligent beings could be out there – but that civilisations like ours would be ‘extremely rare’, perhaps ‘on average one per galaxy’.
Professor Brian Cox said he is ‘sure’ alien life exists in the universe but that civilisations could be quite rare
US Congressman Andre Carson oversaw the first public UFO hearing in decades last week (pictured)
He told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: ‘There are two trillion galaxies in the observable universe, I’m sure there are others out there.’
But he added of life on Earth: ‘It looks like we have good evidence life was present 3.8 billion years ago, and the first civilisation to appear on Earth was about now.
So it took the best part of four billion years to go from the origin of life on Earth to a civilisation.
‘That’s a third of the age of the universe, and that is a long time, so that may indicate that microbes may be common, but things like us may be extremely rare.’
Professor Cox said while microbes on other planets may well be common, civilisations are much more rare.
He said: ‘If you forced me to guess, I would say there may be microbes all over the place – that’s why we’re looking for life on Mars, for example.
‘But in terms of intelligence one thing to think about is the origin of life on Earth.’
If humans inhabit the only world in a galaxy of 400 billion suns, that gives us responsibility in terms of climate change, Professor Cox added.
Commenting, Monica Grady, professor of planetary and space sciences, said: ‘Our galaxy is so vast, with so many different types of stars with planets orbiting them, it is statistically possible for life to have arisen on another planet.
‘We know that there is no civilisation, apart from ours, in the Solar System – so any life that has evolved to develop interstellar travel would have to journey across billions of miles.
‘This would take many thousands of years, almost certainly longer than the 200,000 or so years since modern humans developed.
‘I would hope that any life form that had evolved to such an advanced stage would realise that peace, truth, justice and integrity would be a far better template for civilisation than war, terror, injustice and falsehood.’