I am a fan of Professor Brian Cox, and his series “Wonders of the Solar System” and “Wonders of the Universe”
I almost bought tickets to see his show in Australia. However after reading an article on the sydney morning herald website, I had completely lost my faith in his credibility.
The article was titled “We are alone in the Universe”. To say that intelligent life does not exist elsewhere in the universe is absolutely ludicrous, I have no doubt that it does. However when I just now revisited the article, it appears it was just poor journalism, and they had misquoted Professor Brian Cox. They have since corrected the article and issued a retraction.
He has been quoted as saying
“There is only one advanced technological civilisation in this galaxy and there has only ever been one – and that’s us,”
I will concede that what he is saying is possible, although I think highly unlikely. But there is a chance he could be right. Life indeed appears to be rare. A rare combination of circumstances need to be in place in order for intelligent life as we know it to be present. The planet needs to be have water, needs to be the right distance from a sun, so that the temperature will allow life, it needs to have an atmosphere. It also needs to have a planet like Jupiter within the solar system, which has been dubbed the vacuum cleaner of the solar system and in a large number of instances has drawn large meteors into it, thus preventing an impact with earth.
These circumstances are a rare combination which has allowed intelligent life to develop and thrive, and it is clear so far, that it is not all that common a combination, and life indeed is rare from what we have seen and know. This understanding should serve as a reminder of the immense importance of protecting our natural environment. It saddens to see how little regard we have for just how precious the earths atmosphere is, and how we have placed short term greed over this most precious of resources.