Are we alone?
Unfortunately neither of the answers feel satisfactory.
To be alone in this vast universe is a lonely prospect.
On the other hand if we are not alone and there is someone or something more powerful out there – that too is terrifying.
As a NASA research scientist and now a professor of physics I attended the 2002 NASA Contact Conference – which focused on serious speculation about extraterrestrials.
During the meeting a concerned participant said loudly in a sinister tone ‘You have absolutely no idea what is out there!’
The silence was palpable as the truth of this statement sunk in.
Humans are fearful of extraterrestrials visiting Earth.
Perhaps fortunately – the distances between the stars are prohibitively vast.
At least this is what we novices who are just learning to travel into space tell ourselves.