There’s been an overwhelming amount of alien-related news lately, and the latest bits of it have covered the leaders of Earth actually preparing for conact. It all started when European astronomers discovered a new solar system last month, 127 light years away from us, and believed to contain at least 5 planets. Pretty awesome, right?
Any wannabe astronomer worth his salt knows that the universe is 1. estimated to be 14 billion years old, 2. HUGE and 3. expanding. Where the REAL wannabes go from there is to understand that means there is undoubtedly a non-zero probability that the necessary components have come together in the necessary proportions to sustain life somewhere else in the universe. And if that probability hasn’t come to fruition yet, it is still a certainty when extended over an infinite timeline. In other words, it’s only a matter of time before we find some other planet that can sustain life and raid them for their Spacecash.
Wait, what? It already happened?!
If confirmed, the exoplanet, named Gliese 581g, would be the first Earth-like world found residing in a star’s habitable zone — a region where a planet’s temperature could sustain liquid water on its surface. [Illustration of planet Gliese 581g.]
Earth once supported harsh conditions, the researchers point out. And since red dwarfs are relatively “immortal” living hundreds of billions of years (many times the current age of the universe), combined with the fact that conditions stay so stable on a tidally locked planet, there’s a good chance that if life were to get a toe-hold it would be able to adapt to those conditions and possibly take off, Butler said.
“Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during a press briefing today. “I have almost no doubt about it.”
There you have it folks. So what is Earth to do when we see a mind-blowing jump in the probability that there are indeed some sexy blue cat people out there theatrically recreating the plot of Fern Gully? News outlets have reported this week that the first order of business for the UN was to appoint a pointman as Alien Ambassador. Since the kid from E.T. was unavailable they went with an astrophysicist (yawn) from Malaysia, Mazlan Othman. Apparently this story has since been debunked as mass confusion fueled by the Interwebz’ hyperactive news-cycle, but it seems like Othman is already the go-to lady anyway, as head of the U.N.’s Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Personally I’d like to see that awesome Japanese scientist with the sweet hair representing Earth, or maybe John Stamos. Gotta make sure we put our best foot forward.
Interestingly enough, the Vatican has also chimed in. The Pope‘s astronomer (the Pope has an astronomer?!) said that he would “be delighted” if intelligent life were found, and that he would baptize them Catholic if they so wished. He had no answer when asked, “But why the hell would they want that?”
Speaking ahead of a talk at the British Science Festival in Birmingham, he said that the traditional definition of a soul was to have intelligence, free will, freedom to love and freedom to make decisions. “Any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul.” Would he baptise an alien? “Only if they asked.”
Unfortunately, those soulless gays are still out of luck.
Filed under: Deep Thoughts, Research, Science & Tech, True Genius, Very Serious Business | Tagged: alien ambassador, aliens, astronomy, astrophysics, avatar, baby fark mcgee-zax, Earth, ET, extra terrestrial, Extrasolar planet, galaxy, Gliese 581, Habitable zone, michio kaku, milky way, na'vi, Phone home, planets, pope, Red dwarf, Solar System, space cash, stars, take me to your leader, universe, University of California Santa Cruz, unobtanium, vatican |