Witt: Visitors from another planet unlikely

Anyone who watches the TV show “Ancient Aliens” surely must be amused at some of the cockamamie theories proposed for suggesting that aliens have visited earth in the past.

It seems anything that can’t be readily explained in terms of current understanding or technology must, a priori, be a result of alien visitation in ages past.

For instance, pooh-poohing the likelihood that early man had the ability to construct the pyramids automatically means that they were built with the guidance and connivance of superior aliens vacationing on this small blue planet.

Of course, ancient alien theorists have to believe the concurrence of the pyramid shape around the world, in Mesoamerica, the Mideast and Asia could only have been the result of those aliens flying around the world and conveying their ideas to all those different societies.

Nowhere does an alien theorist simply say the pyramid shape is the most stable shape available for building with stone (although the Egyptians had a minor setback when one of theirs crumbled and they subsequently decided to change the angle of the sides).

But if one takes a look at the sheer vastness of space, even with the preponderance of stars and possible planets, it is easy to see just how unlikely it is these proposed visitations actually occurred.

Current cosmological science suggests (and it is important to remember the exploration of space is an ongoing endeavor with new reveals almost daily) there are between 100 billion and 400 billion stars in the Milky Way (Earth’s) galaxy. There are even some estimates of as many as one trillion stars in our “immediate” vicinity. It is also currently estimated there are between 100 billion and 200 billion galaxies in the known universe.

Taking the mid-level assumptions of 200 billion stars in the Milky Way and 150 billion galaxies, one arrives at the total potential number of stars in the universe of 30 billion trillion (that is 30 x 1,021) stars hanging around in the vastness of space.

Now, just assume the chances of a star having planets is one in a million and the chances of one of those planets being habitable is one in a million, that still leaves a possible 30 billion planets floating about out there.

With that many planets (and, incidentally, astronomers have recently postulated that there is another planet in our solar system far outside the orbit of Pluto, which is now considered a minor planet) it seems likely there is some form of life somewhere out there.

It would be useless to speculate on what form that life may take but, if science is correct that the universe is more than 14 billion years old, that is a good deal of time for some form of life to evolve considering Earth is only 4.5 billion years old and look how far we have come (he said, facetiously).

ScienceAlert, an online scientific newsletter, recently presented an article which noted that, using man’s current technology, it would take someone from Earth 1,000 years to reach the nearest star, Proximus Centauri.

Given all these odds and the vast distances separating stars and galaxies, try to calculate the chances that some alien life form has spent the time and resources looking for, finding and visiting a miniscule little planet like Earth, with the primitive technology of the pyramid age and, very possibly, an environment totally anathema to them (remember what happened to the Martians in “War of the Worlds”?).

It’s fun to speculate about alien visitation, but don’t take it too seriously.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.