Life and the Universe

Is it time we admit we're alone in the universe?

Copernicus and Darwin taught us that we are not the centre of the universe. But fifty years have passed since we began listening for life in the cosmos. A billion radio channels have scanned the sky. No extra terrestrial intelligence has been found. Is it once again time to think we may be alone, and to reassess what it is to be human?

Maggie Aderin-Pocock is research fellow in UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies and an Honorary Research Associate in UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy. Since 2014, she has co-presented the long-running astronomy TV programme The Sky at Night.

Here she speaks to the IAI about the probability of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, and what it would mean for mankind if we do.


The Drake equation posits that, given the vast number of galaxies and stars and possible habitable planets, there has to be intelligent life some

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2lq% 13 December 2015

To say that because we have not found life on Mars yet means there is nothing out there is a poor view. The universe is huge beyond our imagination. We have hardly scratched the surface of one planet in just a few areas. Our ideas of what life is must be limited in the extreme. How long do we need to keep looking. It may be just around the corner.