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1

The Search for
Extra-Terrestrial Life in the
Universe
By OBAIDUR RAHMAN

2

“The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life in the
Universe” by Obaidur Rahman
First Edition: October, 2014.

© OBAIDUR RAHMAN
All Rights Reserved.
No portion of this work may be reproduced by any process
without the author’s written permission.
ISBN: 978-984-33-8233-7
Cover Idea & Book design: OBAIDUR RAHMAN
Publisher: OBAIDUR RAHMAN
A SLEEK PUBLICATION
Dhaka,
Bangladesh.
E-mail: write.to.obaid@gmail.com
Price: 300/- (Three Hundred) Takas

A SLEEK PUBLICATION

3

Table of Contents
Chapter-1 (The Grand Cosmos)
- Why Extra-terrestrials.............................................................. 1
- In the Beginning....................................................................... 5
- The other Fantastic Four.......................................................... 8
- Let there be Light................................................................... 14
- To Be or not to Be.................................................................. 16
- Future from the Beyond......................................................... 23

Chapter-2 (Religions, Ancient Astronauts, Histories,
UFOs & E.Ts)
- The Sacred Whispers............................................................. 26
- The Ancient Astronauts Theory............................................. 30
- UFO’s in Medieval Paintings.................................................. 34
- Ancient Astronauts or “Ancient” Archeology?........................ 35
- UFOs themselves................................................................... 38
- The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life: The Beginning.............44

Chapter-3 (Echoes from our Solar District)
-The Story So Far..................................................................... 50
-The Water Worlds................................................................... 50
-Solar System: A very brief Tour.............................................. 52
- The Red Planet...................................................................... 53
- The Evening Star................................................................... 58
- The Lone Satellite.................................................................. 59
- The Jupiterian Sixth............................................................... 64
- The Sixth of Saturn................................................................ 66
- The Mighty Titan.................................................................... 66
- The Galilean Candidate......................................................... 68
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- A New Earth?......................................................................... 68
- Tale of the Dark Sky............................................................... 68
- From the Land of the Ancients............................................... 70

Chapter 4 (Life on Earth)
- The Lore and the Legends..................................................... 74
- The Pregnant Earth................................................................ 79
-“Cosmos” Calling.................................................................... 83
- The Stages of Evolution: The tales of Life on Earth............... 86
1. The Hadean Period ...................................................... 87
2. The Archaean Period & The Proterozoic Era................ 87
3. The Vendian Period....................................................... 88
4. The Cambrian Period.................................................... 89
5. The Ordovician Period................................................... 90
6. The Silurian Period........................................................ 93
7. The Devonian Period..................................................... 94
8. The Carboniferous Period............................................. 95
9. The Permian Period....................................................... 95
10. The Triassic Period....................................................... 96
11. The Jurassic Period....................................................... 97
12. The Cretaceaous Period................................................ 99
13. The Palaeocene Epoch................................................102
14. The Eocene Epoch.......................................................103
15. The Oligocene Epoch...................................................107
16. The Miocene Epoch......................................................108
17. The Pliocene Epoch.................................................... 109
18. The Pleistocene Epoch................................................ 110
19. The Holocene Epoch................................................... 110
- The Brain Factor.................................................................. 111
- Life itself: The Sparks that Fueled the Fire.......................... 115
- One Earth to Many............................................................... 121

Chapter-5 (Calling All Aliens)
- The Quest beyond the Sky....................................................124
-Drake Equation......................................................................125
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- The Science of the Seeking................................................. 127
- Promises of Gliese............................................................... 128
- Cosmic Criteria for Life......................................................... 131
- Kepler Kaleidoscopes.......................................................... 132
- The Star Factor.................................................................... 134
- The Liquid Factor................................................................. 142
- The Light Factor................................................................... 143
- The Size Factor.....................................................................143
- The Flight-Path Factor......................................................... 145
- Life in Extremes................................................................... 145
- The “Alien” Planets...so far................................................... 146
- Anybody Out There?.............................................................152
- The Contact: A History......................................................... 153
- How to make “The Contact”..................................................154
- Hello E.T, Here we come..................................................... 158
- The Pioneer Journeys.......................................................... 159
- The Voyagers Voyages........................................................ 162
- The Other Attempts.............................................................. 164
- SETI & Project Ozma........................................................... 165
- The Wow! Signal.................................................................. 170
- False Alarms........................................................................ 173
- Magical Meteorites & the “Falling Aliens”............................. 176
- The Big Bright Future........................................................... 180
- The Antimatter Rocketry...................................................... 184
- Interstellar Space Travel: Imaginations, Wondrous & Magical
Voyages................................................................................. 189
- The Truth is, Surely, Out There........................................... 194

Epilogues
- Of Humans & Extra-Terrestrials............................................197

*****

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Chapter-1 (The Grand Cosmos)
Why Extra-terrestrials
Since the ancients of times, when humankind first learned to look at
the stars and mused over the majestic grandeur that this colossal
universe celebrates, man always wondered, whether he is absolutely
alone or there is life in distant planets out there, perhaps somewhere far
and deep in the galaxies and possibly beyond. In those olden nights,
when sky was clear and visible, unlike our present day fogged and
tainted urban sky laden with many different kinds of pollutants, our
ancestors would speculate and even aspire on the possibility of life on
other planets, hoping to find a clue here and there, now and then, on
the grand possibility that life exists, not just here on Earth, but
elsewhere in the universe as well. And the search continued. For
thousands of years, since the time we, the people, learned to reason and
apply logic in our everyday existence, all of us at one point or another
wondered about the possibility of extra-terrestrial life-forms, possibly
even intelligent ones at it too. And with the application of science and
steered by the blessings of modern day technologies, the search for life
on other planets continues with a heightened energy that has opened up
many incredible windows in the sky and made this ancient quest more
thrilling. Any day now, there might just be that press conference by the
NASA elites that would say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are not alone
in this Universe”.
In the meantime, let’s notice a remarkable aspect about our own planet.
The strangest thing about this 4.54 billion year old dear Earth of ours is
that, whatever we need to survive and flourish as a species and as a
civilization, all that can be found here on this magnificent blue planet.
And this truly makes this 3rd planet from the Sun unique and so far,
spectacularly, one of a kind. And given the astonishing significances of
our planet, it was the ancients’ belief that our planet Earth was the
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centre of the universe. But this idea, somewhat quite selfish, couldn’t
stand the test of time.
How this revolutionary idea that Earth is not at the centre of the
universe came to be is one of a fascinating one. It all began on January
7th, 1610, when the esteemed Italian astronomer Galileo Galilee aimed
his telescope towards the planet Jupiter and noticed three small “stars”
near the planet, one of which was off to the west and the other two
were to the east, all lying in a straight line. The observation from the
subsequent nights revealed that all three “stars” were now positioned
on the west of Jupiter however still in a straight line. On January 10th,
he noticed that one of them had disappeared and Galileo suspected that
the missing “star” was perhaps located behind Jupiter. These “stars”
were in fact three of the Jupiter's four largest satellites, i.e. moons, Io,
Europa and Callisto and on 13th January Galileo discovered the fourth
one, Ganymede. Today we know these four satellites of Jupiter as the
Galilean moons. Vigilant observations of these supposed stars lead
Galileo to this revolutionary conclusion that these were in fact small
satellites orbiting around the planet Jupiter. And this finding was very
contradictory to the traditionally held geocentric view of the
Aristotelian cosmology which stated that Earth was at the centre of the
universe and all heavenly bodies circle the Earth. But the course of the
four moons of the Jupiter firmly convinced Galileo that Earth, in fact,
was not at the centre of the universe and he resolutely echoed the
Copernican heliocentric view (developed by the polish scientist
Nicolaus Copernicus around 1543) that Earth is just a planet orbiting
around the Sun, which is at the centre of the solar system. Galileo's
stance on Copernican view further strengthened when he observed the
full set of orbital phase of Venus which he found to be similar to that
of the moon. Before that it was traditionally believed based on
Ptolemy's geocentric model that the orbit of the Venus was specifically
placed entirely on the near side of the Sun. But Galileo's telescopic
observation of Venus's orbit around the Sun made this Ptolemaic
astronomical model invalid and it is believed that this crucial finding
8

made a significant contribution for the transition of mankind's
astronomical approach from geocentric to heliocentric point of view.
Now in regard to how Copernicus came up with his heliocentric idea at
the first place which influenced Galileo in his own research needs to be
addressed briefly. Research has found that mathematical techniques
developed in the 13th-14th centuries by the noted Muslim astronomers
like Mo'ayyeduddin Urdi, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and Ibn al-Shatir for
planetary motions closely resemble to some of those used later by
Copernicus in his heliocentric models. And many say Copernicus’s
heliocentric model was a rendition of existing ideas developed by the
olden astronomers, including Muslim ones, from the previous
centuries. For example, noted Persian scientist Fakhr al-Din al-Razi
(1149–1209) opposed the Aristotelian idea of the Earth centric
universe and instead argued that there are thousands of worlds beyond
this world to that extent that each one of those worlds are bigger and
more massive than this world as well as having the similarities to that
of this world. This also clearly indicates early scientists’ interest in the
extra-terrestrial life and intelligent civilizations across the universe.
It is now scientifically acknowledged that Earth isn't even at the centre
of the solar system. In fact the solar system that we are in is not even at
the centre of our galaxy and our galaxy is no way in any special
position in contrast to the rest of the known universe. So, from an
astronomical viewpoint, Earth is not enjoying any privileged position
in space even though she is a remarkable planet herself. And given the
vast arrays of stars, galaxies and planets that decorate our cosmos,
chances are there ought to be beings like us, residing in some distant
planet, out there far, far away marveling on the uniqueness of their
own planet themselves. The fact is, at the end of the day this 15 or so
billion year old Universe of ours is pretty big. From what is
scientifically understood, there are more planets out there than all the
sand grains combined in all the beaches of Earth! And that is indeed
quite a number. So, from an astronomical viewpoint, sadly, Earth is not
enjoying any privileged position in space. If life only thrived here on
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