DID YOU KNOW? Alien Life May Be Rare Across The Universe - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

DID YOU KNOW? Alien Life May Be Rare Across The Universe

Posted: Updated:

YAHOO.COM - When it comes to life across the cosmos, the universe might just be an "awful waste of space" after all.

A new theory presented at a conference this week would confirm the worry of Ellie Arroway, Jodie Foster's character in the film "Contact," that life might not exist on other worlds.

Some scientists think that just because exoplanets could have habitable environments, that does not mean that life evolved there.

"The pervasive nature of life on Earth is leading us to make this assumption," Charles Cockell, the director of the U.K. Center for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh, said in a statement."On our planet, carbon leaches into most habitat space and provides energy for microorganisms to live. There are only a few vacant habitats that may persist for any length of time on Earth, but we cannot assume that this is the case on other planets."

Cockell's hypothesis states that, although habitable alien planets might abound in solar systems around the universe, it does not mean these locales harbor extraterrestrial life.

"It is dangerous to assume life is common across the universe. It encourages people to think that not finding signs of life is a 'failure,' when in fact it would tell us a lot about the origins of life," added Cockell.

It is also possible that scientists will not be able to detect alien signs of life, even if it exists, Cockell said. Life might be markedly dissimilar from planet to planet, making it unlikely that astronomers on Earth will see recognizable signatures of life. But not all hope is lost.

"Professor Cockell explains that in coming decades, increasingly powerful telescopes and developments in spectroscopy may allow us to look for the signals of life on planets beyond our solar system," officials from the Royal Society, the United Kingdom's national academy of science, said in a statement."However, regardless of this, our view is still going to be heavily influenced by our knowledge of life on Earth."

Cockell presented his theory at a conference sponsored by the Royal Society.

  • National NewsMore>>

  • Doctor: No health risk from 2 US Ebola patients

    Doctor: No health risk from 2 US Ebola patients

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-08-21 17:55:21 GMT
    ATLANTA - A doctor at the hospital that treated two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa says their discharge poses no public health risk.More >>
    ATLANTA - A doctor at the hospital that treated two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa says their discharge poses no public health risk. Officials announced the release of Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol on Thursday. Brantly left Emory University Hospital on Thursday. Writebol left Tuesday. Family and officials say they're free of the virus. More >>
  • Wife: Robin Williams had early stages of Parkinson's Disease at time of death

    Wife: Robin Williams had early stages of Parkinson's Disease at time of death

    Thursday, August 14 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-08-14 19:26:01 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Actor and comedian Robin Williams was sober but struggling with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease at the time of his death, according to his wife. Williams' wife released the following statement Thursday:More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Actor and comedian Robin Williams was sober but struggling with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease at the time of his death, according to his wife. Williams' wife released the following statement Thursday:More >>
  • Passenger plane crashes in Iran

    Passenger plane crashes in Iran

    Sunday, August 10 2014 2:15 AM EDT2014-08-10 06:15:55 GMT
    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - State television in Iran is reporting that a small passenger plane has crashed into a residential complex in the capital, Tehran. There was no immediate word on casualties from the crash Sunday.State TV reported that a Taban Air plane crashed while taking off from an airport west of Tehran. More >>
    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - State television in Iran is reporting that a small passenger plane has crashed into a residential complex in the capital, Tehran. There was no immediate word on casualties from the crash Sunday.State TV reported that a Taban Air plane crashed while taking off from an airport west of Tehran. More >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • The Salvation Army to give away 5,000 backpacks

    The Salvation Army to give away 5,000 backpacks

    Thursday, August 21 2014 2:05 PM EDT2014-08-21 18:05:47 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The doors to The Salvation Army's annual Backpacks for Kids Distribution and Resource Fair opened at 9am on Thursday, and by 10am, they had already handed out 838 backpacks filled with school supplies to children in Spokane County. More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The doors to The Salvation Army's annual Backpacks for Kids Distribution and Resource Fair opened at 9am on Thursday, and by 10am, they had already handed out 838 backpacks filled with school supplies to children in Spokane County. The Salvation Army is anticipating giving away up to 5,000 backpacks on Thursday. They are located at 222 E. Indiana Avenue and are open until 6pm.More >>
  • Doctor: No health risk from 2 US Ebola patients

    Doctor: No health risk from 2 US Ebola patients

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-08-21 17:55:21 GMT
    ATLANTA - A doctor at the hospital that treated two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa says their discharge poses no public health risk.More >>
    ATLANTA - A doctor at the hospital that treated two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa says their discharge poses no public health risk. Officials announced the release of Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol on Thursday. Brantly left Emory University Hospital on Thursday. Writebol left Tuesday. Family and officials say they're free of the virus. More >>
  • Washington allowing Stevens County sheep rancher to kill wolves

    Washington allowing Stevens County sheep rancher to kill wolves

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 17:48:50 GMT
    STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. - The state Fish and Wildlife Department has authorized a rancher to shoot wolves that approach his flock of sheep in Stevens County in northeast Washington.More >>
    STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. - The state Fish and Wildlife Department has authorized a rancher to shoot wolves that approach his flock of sheep in Stevens County in northeast Washington. The department said Wednesday that state wildlife agents also may kill wolves to help Dave Dashiell of Hunters as he tries to move his flock of 1,800 sheep to safety.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.