With the release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars looming, ScientificAmerican.com decided to speak with The Science of Star Wars author and astrophysics PhD, Jeanne Cavelos, to get her thoughs on the new film. Click here for the full interview and check out the excerpt below:
"So do you think we are getting closer to finding alien life forms? Absolutely. It's amazing to think about all the potential life out there. And it's looking more and more likely that we might find life right here in the solar system. George Lucas came up with Star Wars before we knew about extremophiles, which are life-forms that can live in bizarre, extreme situations. We had thought that life was this fragile flower that could only develop if conditions were just right—it's the "Goldilocks" principle. But instead, we have found life-forms that can survive boiling and subzero temperatures or live deep underground with no sunlight whatsoever. These sorts of conditions probably aren't conducive to the rise of complex, intelligent life, so a lot of life out there in the universe will probably be rather primitive.
What's a possible reason for why the Star Wars universe could have so many humanoids? It seems that the human species, or whatever its equivalent is in that faraway galaxy, either colonized all these worlds or was genetically "seeded" on many planets. This species became dominant somehow. It's unlikely though that one species could live on so many planets without some kind of respiratory assistance. Each atmosphere is a quirky mixture of ingredients found only on that planet; you wouldn't have the same mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide as we do. It's nice to see people in Star Wars just land on any old planet and get out of their spaceships without a problem, but it's not realistic."