Are we alone in the Universe? The search for extraterrestrial life  

By Grace Helmke

Our universe stretches billions of lightyears, and continues to constantly expand. It consists of trillions of galaxies, and houses upwards of 700 quintillion planets. There has long been speculation that somewhere out in this massive expanse of darkness and light, there may be civilizations; some possibly intelligent enough to surpass us in our technological endeavors. But is this just another conspiracy theory, or is there scientific truth behind this notion? 

The Milky Way alone is littered with hundreds of billions of stars, each accompanied by multitudes of planets residing in their smaller solar systems. Among these planets within our galactic neighborhood, tens of billions would be located in the “habitable zone” of their star. The planet would have to be close enough from the star for liquid water to exist, but far enough away that the water wouldn’t evaporate. This means that a planet’s climate would all but mimic that of earth’s. Leading to the scientific speculation that life could exist here. While we aren’t sure how many of these planets support life, we now know that it’s possible. 

Scientists have discovered the existence of more than 4,000 exoplanets (or planets outside the solar system) that have the potential to harbor life. This topic of exoplanets is an exceptionally fast growing field that will most likely remain an important scientific discipline, for decades to come, due to the fact that these planets are not just celestial objects, but the potential homes of extraterrestrial life.

Recently, scientists at the SETI institute (The Search for Extraterrestrial Life) have been going to great lengths aiming to discover life on other planets. They attempt to try and find traces of life in space by searching for technosignatures, which according to Phys.org, are detectable signs of past or present technology used on other planets. This would mean that an extraterrestrial civilization would be intelligent and advanced enough to be creating a society based around the development of technology.

When taking into account the sheer size of our universe, and the fact that it has been around for so many years, it is probable that the complicated biochemistry that created life, then intelligent beings on earth, occurred more than once in the history of the universe. Suggesting that humanity is an anomaly defies scientific reasoning and the mediocrity principle, which states that it is probable that our solar system is more likely a common event than an atypical phenomenon.  

In the near future, with space missions being outlined, technology becoming increasingly advanced, and great steps being made in science, it is likely that we will find concrete evidence of other life in the universe, whether it be small or large. 

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10 tips to help with time management during online school

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Online school has forced a great change on all students and staff at Highland. This can be a challenging experience for all of us because everything is so new. So, here are 10 tips to help you manage your time and stay focused during online school. 

1. Get up and move!

Getting up and doing a quick stretch in between classes will help you decrease back pain from sitting around all day. It can also give your mind a break from classes and can also help wake you up which will help you stay focused during class! 

2. Move to different areas when working on different things

If you stay in a single area during your classes and while you do your work, you could get tired faster from staying in one spot. In order to prevent this you can have a designated area to attend class and a different one to do your work. 

3. Simply start your assignments 

One of the hardest things to do is to complete your assignments. A way to help you complete them is by telling yourself you’ll work on it for at least 5 minutes, and chances are that after you get going you’ll want to continue. In the end, you’ll either have completed it or at least gotten farther than you were before.

4. Avoid Burnout 

It’s okay to take breaks! In fact you should take them! Breaks can help you take time for yourself and help you stay balanced which avoids burnout which can affect you negatively. 

5. Plan out your days

Having a plan helps you avoid wasting time on figuring out what you should do first. It also helps you stay on track and lowers stress because you know that you’ll have time to finish the rest of your work the next day. 

6. Write down due dates 

Writing down due dates can help you have a better idea of the bigger picture which can help you create your daily plan.

7. Focus on one task 

When working on a specific task try to avoid multitasking and social media. This will help you finish faster and not get distracted as easily.

8. Split up assignments 

If you split up an assignment into chunks it can be less overwhelming and easier to finish throughout the days you have time to work on it. It can reduce stress because you aren’t taking an entire project head on. 

9. Have mini deadlines 

Having mini deadlines can help you avoid procrastination and stay on track.

10. Reflect 

Reflecting on how your week went and deciding to experiment new things can always bring good things. This is because everyone is different, so it’s best to know what makes you comfortable.