Dr. James Pierce's

Favorite Quotes from Life in the Universe Essays:

— Bad Essay —

Every term, each student in my Astronomy 115 course (Life in the Universe) was assigned to write an essay giving his or her opinion on the following question:

"Do extraterrestrial technical civilizations currently exist in our Galaxy?"

In an effort to promote better writing on this assignment, I tried creating an example of a badly written essay and showing it to the class a week or two before their essay was due. I wrote it by recalling the worst mistakes made in previous student essays and incorporating them into one paper. (Unfortunately, there were a few real essays that were actually this poorly written.) The students were advised not to make these mistakes in their essays; alas, not all of them took this advice.

The Bad Essay:

Astrology 115
Life in the Universe

Do Extraterrestrial Technical Civilizations Currently Exist in Our Galaxy?

Do Extraterrestrial Technical Civilizations Currently Exist in Our Galaxy? This is a question that has plagued mankind since the beginning of time. In this essay, I will talk about weather or not I think that Extraterrestrial Technical Civilizations Currently Exist in Our Galaxy. Then I will explain the reasons that support my opinion of weather Extraterrestrial Technical Civilizations Currently Exist in Our Galaxy. Finally I will give my opinion on weather or not Extraterrestrial Technical Civilizations Currently Exist in Our Galaxy. And then you will know weather I think that Extraterrestrial Technical Civilizations Currently Exist in Our Galaxy.

There are many factors that influence my opinion on weather or not extra terrestrial technical civilizations currently exist in our galaxy. First you need to have the right type of star. It can't be too hot and it can't be too cold. Stars are classified OBAFGKM and the star must be F through K. There are millions of stars in the universe. Then you need the right type of planet. It can't be too large and it can't be too small. And the planet has to be the right distance from the star. It can't be too close and it can't be too far. If it is to close then the water will boil and if it is to far the water will freeze.

The plant needs to have the right atoms for life to form. These are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen which are most abundant in our bodies and will also be in the aliens if their planet is like ours and it should because of the Principle of Mediocracy. If the planet does not have these atoms then life can not exist. They will need water in a liquid form to carry nutrients to the cells and keep the body cool by having a high heat capacity and a high heat of vaporization which water does. And water is a simple element H2O which is abundant on Earth. Water freezes at 32 degrees F and boils at 212 degrees F. This means the plant must be in the habital zone of the star which is the distance from the star where water is a liquid.

Another reason that influence my thoughts on this matter is Special Relativity. Scientist say that as rockets move faster they get shorter and time slows down so the trip might seem like 30 years to us would only be 4 years for the rocket crew. And there mass increases so they need to carry lots of fuel and the rocket has to be really big so it can go the speed of light which is the limit. This might explain all the thousands of UFO sitings which I don't believe but there are so many that at least some of them have to be true.

If aliens are really out there in the universe they should have come here to visit us by now but they haven't so they must not exit. Or at least they could send radio message. Radio is the best message to send because it travels at the speed of light and can penetrate our atmosphere and the aliens too. They would send a pictogram message that would be two prime numbers multiplied together and, we could decode it using binary numbers which are 1 and 0. We have sent pictograms into space and have been searching for many years with the SETI but they have still not received a signal so the aliens might be ignoring us or maybe they are so far advanced over us they do not use radio anymore, so we are wasting our time.

Another important factor is the Drake equation which was invented by Frank Drake. It breaks the problem down into lots of little pieces like number of stars, fraction of sun like stars, number of planets, ect then you estimate the values and multiply them all together.

In conclusion I feel that with all of the stars in the universe there just has to be one with life on it. I agree with that movie where they said that if we were the only life in the universe it would be such a tremendous waste of space. The reason we have not found them yet is because maybe they don't want us to find them or there afraid we will destroy them. That is my opinion and I will stand by it until someone proves me wrong.

Note to students:
The above is a badly written essay! I wrote it badly on purpose! Do NOT submit this as your own writing if you want a passing grade. Plagiarism is wrong, and plagiarism of bad writing is also stupid.

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Created June 24, 2013; last modified March 19, 2021
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