Are We Alone?

One thought-provoking question always lingers in my mind, and I believe that I am not the only one. Are we alone? The space as we know it – vast, spacious – seeming to disappear into nothingness as it expands. Reaching far away, way out of my realm of understanding and it scares me. We are so small, very extremely small compared to other gigantic celestial bodies out there. The more I look into it, the wilder my mind wanders. Is there life out there? Other than us humans on this diminutive terrestrial planet called Earth? Are we also considered aliens to the aliens out there? I am a firm believer that there is some kind of life forms out there. Be it as simple as unicellular organisms to multicellular, complex beings as humans, I believe there is.

Back to my main debate – are we alone? If we really are, then there must be a reason behind it, as everything is built upon reasons and consequences. Is there actually civilization out there, but its age has already long past, leaving remnants behind being so ancient that we could not make anything out of them? An astrophysicist named Summer Ash (she’s so cool, go check her out!) mentioned about how life is not without water. One of the Galilean moons, Europa, was the first place astronomers ever got hints about liquid water – in its salt water ocean! Could there be some form of life swimming, living there? Not enough? Well, what about Enceladus and its water vapor sprouting from its surface, indicating that there is ocean underneath. There should be some living organism in there somewhere.

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Sprays of liquid water sprouting out from Enceladus’ surface, also known as water curtains. SOURCE

The search for forms of life started ever since we sent our very first human mission to Mars. NASA is getting ready to send one of their projects, Atacama Rover Drilling to search for life on Mars. Due to the extreme dryness and temperature on Mars, they believe that doing a simulation and demonstration on the high desert of Chile should do the deal. The team believe that by roving, drilling and all together while detecting for life could work together, resulting in the very intention of searching for evidence of life on Mars. Read more here.

Now that I have clearly stated my arguments, what about you? Which side are you on?

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The Explosion That Starts Life

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POOF! And there goes the first phylum! GIF by GIPHY

Ever wonder how kingdoms of animals ever started? What causes them? When? And ultimately, HOW? It’s CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION!

Cambrian Explosion is a relatively rapid appearance of animal kingdoms or known as phyla – a taxonomic term which means the primary kingdom of animals – which happened around 530 million years ago and lasted about 54 million years. If I were to fit the entire creation of universe in a year, then the Cambrian Explosion would happen during December 15th. When Cambrian explosion (or radiation, some might say) occurred, vast diversity of animals took place and rapid animal evolution happened, be it aquatic of land. Additionally, many scientists also believed that most animals that existed today originated from the explosion.

The dominant animals that lived during the period was aquatic, given that the Earth was practically ocean and land was hardly to be seen. Trilobites were assumed to be the dominant organisms but after future research, it was proven wrong and replaced with arthropods which was mainly dominant as aquatic organisms. It was later known that trilobites were a small part of arthropods family, which demonstrate their similar structure.

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Trilobites – a subgroup of arthropod, source

Many had voiced out their theories as to how the explosion happened but the cause of it is still unknown. Many scientists believe that it was the sudden elevation of oxygen level and concentration of calcium in water that boost the evolution.

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The graph showing rise in oxygen level, source

Theories like the environmental and ecological changes on Earth and how lagoons and islands are formed were also debated. The lagoons was said to provided shallow pools as the habitat  to live in and necessary food for the animals, thus creating the rapid appearance of animals. Some other theories claimed to have genetic reasons as to why the explosion happened. There are still many unresolved questions and remarks about the period, and scientists are still muddled as to how the evolution and diversification could have happened in such a short amount of time. Those questions aside, the Cambrian period had definitely marked such an impactful event in the timeline of our universe.