Hello, my third grade student has selected aliens as his topic for his research project. If you would be able to answer some or all of his questions he would greatly appreciate it! 1. Can aliens breathe our oxygen? 2. What species of aliens are there? 3. Do they live in the Milky Way? 4. What planets are there that aliens live on? 5. Do a lot of people get kidnapped by aliens? -Thank you so much!
This sounds like a very curious student, but your student may have been watching too much "reality" TV. There is a book it would be good for him to read which I am listing here. The problem with his report is that there is no proof for any of this. So, let's say he were writing about unicorns, he couldn't write they fly across our sky and land on rainbows. However, he could write about the mythology of the unicorn, and what some people think about unicorns.
Can aliens breathe our oxygen?
We don't know. If aliens are visiting Earth, they could be from various plants. In fact, how aliens have been reported means many different types have been visiting. Joe Nickell, an investigative skeptic, drew this chart of how aliens have been reported over the years. It's hard to imagine if true, they all came from the same planet, and would all breathe our atmosphere.
2.What species of aliens are there?
Well, the Nickell chart might help answer that question. Most scientists do think there is life on other planets, in fact we are made of "star stuff" (I hope your student is watching the newest "Cosmos"). The problem is aliens being very much like us, since they would need to live on a planet very like Earth. Planets like ours are very far away. There may be life on some of the moons in our solar system, but not likely the type to be able to fly to Earth. Also a new theory is that since space travel would take so much time, robots may be sent to visit our planet. No one knows how many species there are, but looking at how vast the Universe is, there has to be many different types. Are any of them visiting us, we still don't have enough proof.
3.What planets are there that aliens live on?
Our closest aliens could be on one of the moons in our solar system. Titan is a possibility
As I wrote most scientists are sure there is life out there, somewhere. Perhaps our own life on Earth came via a comet from a planet far away. But it would have to be life very like our own to come to Earth. It's also about timing. What if a UFO landed on Earth when the dinosaurs were around? What if the nearest planet like ours only is at the dinosaur stage now? It's not only a matter of alien life, it's also timing.
5. Please assure your student that there is no proof people are kidnapped by aliens. People report this happening, but often they are mentally unbalanced, or have been taking a new medication. Many sleep medications have "lucid dreaming" as a side effect. This means you can have very realistic dreams. Sadly, no one when they are abducted picks up anything to bring back to prove they have been abducted. Even people claiming to have alien implants end up with things that are Earth like, not alien like (or some fatty tissue). This does not mean these people are not telling the truth. We can all be fooled, and there are real medical reasons people are fooled (and also why they can't bring back anything from the space ship). This is just one.
People aren't lying (most of them) but people can also be fooled. Often it is said "But so many people can't be lying, so alien abduction must be true. This would be enough for a court of law." Eye witness testimony though is not enough for science. It simply has to be proven true. So far it has not been proven true. Also, whenever there are reports of alien abduction, or a movie about alien abduction, the numbers of people reporting aliens and abductions goes up. There are many reasons for this, but most likely our brains take in what the media has shown, and incorporate it in their dreams.
Especially with such a young child, emphasis that alien abduction is not proven. Also no one has really been hurt by aliens (among those claiming to have been abducted). The reason I emphasis this is that I would hate for him to develop a fear that he might be kidnapped. Those that believe they have been have many problems, often for years.
I hope this helps! Also try to get him to watch "Cosmos" if possible! The science of space is very exciting.