• Question: What would happen if we found out that there is another planet with humans living on?

    Asked by senara to Connor, Jillian, Lidunka, Sarah, Steven on 21 Jun 2015.
    • Photo: Steven Thomson

      Steven Thomson answered on 21 Jun 2015:

      If we found another planet with humans just like us, that would be exciting and shocking. It would mean that either humans evolved in the same way on two separate planets (which is spectacularly unlikely to happen!) or that humans evolved in one place and someone managed to travel to other planets. The fossil record indicates that humans evolved on Earth, so if we found humans on other planets it would mean that either somehow people left Earth long ago without us knowing, or that the fossil record is wrong. All of these possibilities are pretty unlikely though!

      If there is life out there on other planets, it’s almost certainly not going to be human like us. Some astronomers think insect life might be more common among the stars, or perhaps some crazy aliens we can’t even imagine!

    • Photo: Lidunka Vocadlo

      Lidunka Vocadlo answered on 21 Jun 2015:

      @sen#science Wow wouldn’t that be incredible! But as Steven says, they won’t be anything like us. What would be very interesting is to find out how they evolved, what their brains are like, how they function, whether they are intelligent and, of course, what they look like.

    • Photo: Jillian Scudder

      Jillian Scudder answered on 21 Jun 2015:

      That would be a huge problem for our understanding of how we evolved! It’s statistically impossible that humans would evolve twice on two different worlds, and even more impossible that there are two planets like Earth with the exact same timeline! Given how bizarre evolution can get, and the random destruction element thanks to volcanoes and occasional huge rocks falling out of the sky, it’d be impossible to perfectly replicate what we’ve seen on Earth!

      That said, I think even if we found vaguely human-ish people living on another planet, it would be a revolution in how we think of ourselves and our place in the universe.

    • Photo: Sarah Beasley

      Sarah Beasley answered on 22 Jun 2015:

      Then you need to get in contact with them and follow the strict protocol!
      1. Hold still – they’ll be used to watching things flail around like birds or fish. So if we flap around we’ll look inferior. Hold still and we’ll look like we’re worth it.
      2. Find a way to communicate. Writing things down might be best if they can see light. But bring your own pen, don’t ask to borrow one.
      3. If you need to sum up history, speak in maths. Draw a right angled triangle, or if you forgot your pen, fold up a note.
      4. They won’t know famous people like Einstein or Newton, but they will understand stuff like conversation of energy. Keep it name non-specific.
      5. Draw a diagram of the Solar System to show we understand astronomy. Make sure they know we understand our place; third from the Sun.
      6. Don’t look them in the eye.
      7. Get out of there. Get dropped off in a major city and involve the local news.