2003 - Radio Interview about extraterrestrial life 

· Bugiolacchi, are we alone in the universe?

Probably we have to expand a little bit on the concept of universal loneliness.
If the question is about asking if there might be other sentient beings out there blessed with  anthropoid shaped bodies, the answer is probably no. This little fairy tale image of little green men with big baby-like blue eyes eager to talk to us and help humanity towards a heavenly existence, is frankly nonsense. A fairy tale indeed.

If we address the question in respect of the idea of self-replicating units scattered across the universe, well, there are very good chances that life has risen elsewhere.

· So, no Ets?

Intelligence is a quality which is very difficult to define. Is intelligence graded? For instance, is a cat more or less cleaver than a dog? Is a dog more stupid than a dolphin?
If some alien civilisation would have landed on Earth about 10 million years ago, a mere instance compared to 4.5 billion years of the planet’s life, would have found communicating intelligent being? Would have being able to have a meaningful exchange of knowledge with semians and whales?
Chances of now, still not even halfway through the potential life of this universe to find a civilisation in our galaxy willing, and more importantly, bothered to engage in a dialogue with us, are very remote.
· In this optic, is it then worth it spending vast amount of money to search for life?

Of course. Again, life as a mechanism by which in-animated matter develops a sense of purpose, must have happened elsewhere in the vastness of space and time. Reproduction hence survival of the species, from molecular to human level is the means and end of life. We might ask ourselves the question why.

· Why?

Yes, why life? What’s the point for matter to assemble itself into bits of atoms and struggle all their lives to replicate? It has been suggested that crystal growth offers a very primitive and basic example of things growing for the sake of it......, well according to atomic electron interactions. But still, this doesn’t start answering that question again, why? Stars, as far as we know do not replicate, they either die, or end up as singularities. Is there a supreme force or purpose at work? I don’t know and here we run the risk of entering the realm of faith and philosophy. Let’s stick to science.
· Well, I will try and rephrase the same question again: billions of dollars spent on the realistic discovery of a primitive self-replicating molecule, maybe a type micro-bacteria; is it worth it when we could spend it to alleviate human suffering?
What’s the point in climbing a mountain, do mountaineers hope to find gold or hope of eternal life on top of the K2? Being human and self-conscious excerpts a moral duty upon the thinking Man to pursue the attempt of understanding and explaining of the universe.
What higher goal can be than search for life outside the Earth. There are too many open questions relating to the first steps of life. Did it start at the bottom of the sea, in subzero temperatures or in a boiling environment. Does life need oxygen, must it be carbon-based? Did pre-prepared life rain from space?
We need to attempt to answer these questions and the answers will probably only come from outside our planet.