Astronomer believed that in 1830 there were 22 Billion Aliens Inhabiting Our Solar System

How different was the view of space than 180 years ago; Scottish minister and amateur astronomer Thomas Dick tried to calculate how many life forms there were in the Solar System, arriving at quite…curious numbers.

Dick surmised that every celestial body harbored intelligent life. not quite human, but similar in many ways. Thus he revealed the extravagant figure of  22 billion aliens  living in our planetary system.

22 Billion Aliens 

Thomas Dick calculated this number in a rather peculiar way. At the time, there were an average of 280 people per 1 mile squared in England. So he surmised that if the surface of every celestial body harbored life it would be of the same density.

Thus he assured that Venus had  50,000 million  inhabitants, Mars  15,000 million  Martians, Jupiter  7,000 million . He even assumed that Saturn’s rings would be inhabited by  8 billion  beings.

Thus, he concluded that the Solar System was home to nearly  22 billion  life forms, not counting the Sun. In fact, he believed that our parent star could have 31 times as many inhabitants as he assumed that every celestial body was capable of serving as a refuge.

Thomas Dick’s calculations in which according to him there were millions of inhabitants on other planets and even on other moons 

But Dick’s hypothesis is not the only one that approaches the Sun as a possible “Inhabited World”. In 1794, Sir William Herschel also suggested that beings who had adapted to live in the conditions it offered resided on the Sun.

Notably, Dick’s view was scientific, but also heavily influenced by religion. The scientist has always investigated God’s influence on nature without seeking any supernatural revelation.

It made no sense to him that God had created the vastness of the Universe to be devoid of life. There must be creatures who could appreciate your work.

Portrait of Thomas Dick. Credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons 

In his book, “Heavenly Scenery”, he wrote the following:

“This is a conclusion which is not merely probable, but true, for the contrary opinion would rob the Deity of the most distinctive attribute of his nature, virtually denying him the perfection of infinite wisdom and intelligence.”

To read the book click  here

Earth-like planets

Dick also stated that the other Worlds are organized similarly to Earth, with mountains, valleys, and more. The Moon, for example, was said to have  “an immense variety of elevations and depressions”. 

Thomas Dick claimed that the other worlds had characteristics 

similar to Earth. 

He thought the same of Jupiter, Saturn or Uranus; Although he couldn’t see them well due to the distance he said that when the light hit them, different spots and shadows were observed which would reveal an uneven surface. Obviously we currently know that they are gas giants.

The scientific theologian also thought that God provided atmospheres for all heavenly bodies, but that there was no reason to conclude that they were identical to Earth’s.

For example, he believed that Mars’ atmosphere was denser than Earth’s, giving the planet its reddish hue. Others could be thinner and allow their inhabitants to go much further into space than humanity, having the advantage that their atmospheres  “could lift their spirits to the highest level of ecstasy in a manner similar to certain effects produced on Earth”. 

Dick took into account other variables such as the gravity of planets like Saturn or Jupiter alluding that “Jupiter’s density was only slightly greater than that of water and Saturn would have approximately the density of cork”. Putting its gravity just above twice that of Earth, something “not so serious” in terms of the grand scheme of variables.

Are We Really Alone in the Universe? 

Currently, the situation with regard to life on other planets is totally different. For the time being, conventional science does not expect even physically developed intelligent life forms to exist in the Solar System beyond humans. Resources are used to look for traces of microscopic life or fossils of what once was life hundreds of millions of years ago.

Basically, most scientists now believe that the Solar System is the complete opposite of what Thomas Dick imagined.

For the time being it is not verified if we are the only beings that inhabit the Solar System… at least since humanity was born. Perhaps in the past there were other forms of life, according to the Mars hypotheses. But we also know that there are billions of planets out there and that only 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered to date.

Advances in technology and space science give us more tools to look for life. Future telescopes are focused on this task, in addition to revelations from some scientists and leading figures about possible extraterrestrial visits. Perhaps Thomas Dick wasn’t so wrong about the existence of other life forms.

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