500 million is a very big number

A picture of an exoplanet

This image was recently posted on Facebook’s “I Fucking Love Science” page. The guys there are happy to share, so here it is for those who missed it.

Yes, I know life doesn’t HAVE to be confined to the Goldilocks zone (the space around a star where liquid water could exist). After all, life doesn’t have to look like Earth life. And nobody is suggesting that ‘life’ means technology. And nobody is suggesting that there might be lots of excellent reasons why life didn’t form on these planets, or why beings like us couldn’t exist on those planets. I talked about this a bit here.

However. 500 million is a very big number. Let’s do something else totally unscientific and suggest that just 1% of those planets have life. That’s 50,000. Too optimistic? What about .01%. That’s 5,000.

Anybody want to lay bets that there is no life out there? No, me either.



About Greta van der Rol

I'm an author of fast-paced, action-adventure novels, mainly space opera - although I've been known to write in other genres. I live not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoy photography and cooking when I'm not bent over the computer. I have a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping me in my writing endeavours.

Posted on 5 December 2012, in Black Tiger, Science fact and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. This number is exciting, and kind of scary, too. Don’t you think? Go, SCIENCE!!!

  2. There has got to be life and I suspect it’s similar in many ways to the carbon-based life forms on Earth. Fascinating.

    • For a given form of ‘carbon based’. I guess we have a vast array of types to choose from here. But it might have headed off into all kinds of unknown directions. It’ll be fascinating to see.

  3. You make some excellent points. 🙂

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