11 July 1997 The place of humanity in the cosmic community of intelligent beings
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Abstract
Confirmation of the existence of life on Mars would mean that life has independently evolved on two planets in one solar system and is not a highly improbable event. This would carry the implication that the Universe teems with life -- much of it billions of years older than life on the earth. What is the chance that this life is intelligent? Some prominent evolutionists (e.g., Mayr, Simpson) consider humankind to be a fluke and the prospects for extraterrestrial intelligence to be essentially zero, but their reasoning can be criticized. If the evolution of intelligence is indeed a relatively common occurrence, where do we stand in relation to this cosmic community of intelligent beings? The history of life on the earth combined with numbers from astronomy suggests intriguing answers.
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Robert Jastrow, "The place of humanity in the cosmic community of intelligent beings", Proc. SPIE 3111, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms, (11 July 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.278776; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.278776
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