Earth may very well be “the one place” within the universe with life forms intelligent enough to form civilisation, Professor Brian Cox has said.
While microbial life forms could well be common, the physicist believes that “things like us could also be extremely rare”.
When asked about US Congressman Andre Carson’s comments earlier this week that UFOs are “a possible national security threat” that are “real” and “have to be investigated”, Prof Cox said it was “certainly one of the nice mysteries” whether intelligent alien life forms had found their method to Earth.
I believe that science, it’s useful on many levels, but certainly one of the things it’s very useful at is giving us a perspective
Professor Brian Cox
He said on BBC One’s Sunday Morning: “Should you forced me to guess, I might say there could also be microbes in every single place, that’s why we’re searching for life on Mars, for instance, but when it comes to intelligence, one thing to take into consideration, the origin of life on Earth, it looks like we’ve good evidence life was present 3.8 billion years ago and the primary civilisation to seem on Earth was about now, give or take.
“So it took the perfect a part of 4 billion years to go from the origin of life on Earth to a civilisation.
“That’s a 3rd of the age of the age of the universe, and that could be a very long time, so which will indicate that microbes could also be common, but things like us could also be extremely rare.”
Prof Cox added he believed the most important risk to the long run of humanity is a “lack of perspective”.
He said: “I mean, as we began talking, the concept we may be the one civilisation, for 1000’s and even tens of millions of sunshine years, I believe that science, it’s useful on many levels, but certainly one of the things it’s very useful at is giving us a perspective, which is a wider perspective and really I don’t think lots of us think – lots of our political leaders possibly don’t really think when it comes to, is it possible that that is the one, let’s say, the one island of meaning in a galaxy of 400 billion suns. That matters.
“I don’t think that’s some form of whimsical idea. It would focus the mind.”