Here’s another way that our robotic missions might search for life in this solar system. Brown University reports that large glass deposits have been found on central peaks in impact craters on Mars. Such ice could have preserved evidence of ancient life. Hopefully the Mars 2020 rover will land near Hargraves in the Nili fossae trough, which was once a watery plain. Or perhaps some evidence will eventually be found in the recent “finding” of hydrated salts running down “slope lineae” in four locations, as reported September 28 in Nature Geoscience.
Meanwhile, the search for intelligent life elsewhere continues. The Kepler findings that leave a lump in our philosophical throat is #452b and 62f, our bigger, older cousin-planets orbiting where water can be liquid. Since 452b’s sun has had two extra billion years to invent living stuff, its planet could house the super-high tech civilizations we like to imagine in science fiction. That is, if sentient critters evolved there as they did here–with enough dexterity, brains and means to produce i-phones, fancy telescopes, and an alien SETI. It took us 4.5 billion years. They’ve had 6 billion.
That much time provides enough opportunity to use up or trash a planet, even though it’s 60% larger than Earth. 452b’s extra 1.5 billion years is more time than we have left, before our sun expands into its Red Giant phase, grows to fill the orbits of Venus and Earth, and boils off our oceans.
At 6 billion years of age 452b’s sun’s fate may be at risk even more than ours. It’s sun is a G-2 type like ours, so it is supposed to swell into a red giant before long. Do we know how long? Of course, we see that sun as it was 1400 years ago, being 1400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus.
We can aim SETI at Kepler 452b and hope that its civilization will survive the1400 years it took to receive our greetings. The new GBT and Parkes telescopes will cover ten times more sky and five times more of the radio spectrum 100 times faster than the present scopes. The more realistic question is, can we wait for 2800 years to get their answer? Technology can’t speed up light-years. Hopefully, we’ll have our global act put together so we can enjoy knowing we are not alone. It’s a lot more feasible and cheaper than space travel.
Author of The Archives of Varok
The View Beyond Earth (Book 1. Rewrite of A Place Beyond Man 1975)
The Webs of Varok (Book 2.)
Nautilus silver award 2013 YA
ForeWord finalist 2012 adult SF
The Alien Effect (Book 3.)
An Alien’s Quest–Reconciliation and Hope (Book 4. coming in 2015)
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How the Hen House Turns- www.ladailypost.com
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