It’s a tough call–how do we balance our crying needs here on Earth for peace and enough water to drink with our need to enrich our human quest for greatness and/or ventures beyond Earth?
Why isn’t it enough to enjoy the brilliant work of astronomers–those who have painted an increasingly vivid picture of the universe as it began, created a catalog of other suns and the huge variety of planets circling those suns, found in the galaxy we inhabit a few strange black holes that challenge our theories to grow, and those who described galaxies that hang together with gravity or dark matter no one can yet define accurately.
The astronomers have given us all this to ponder, and the universe grows in our awareness as a reality unimaginable just a few decades ago. Meanwhile, our Earth and its future grows in its need for our attention–even our best thinking, in order to sustain the precious life
we enjoy here.
Robots have given us detailed pictures of Mars, and may soon find the evidence we need to know if life once appeared there. Perhaps life that began there continued to thrive by moving to Earth. Can we afford to send humans? At much greater expense than necessary?
I have heard that Space X is now offering rides around the moon. And three other companies are offering rides up 100 miles to view Earth for $250 K when we already have wonderful closeup photographs of our entire solar system to enjoy? Can we afford that, as a species?
Recent theorists are now toying with the idea that complex life happened here on Earth only once, and that we humans nearly died out 150,000 years ago. Our population may have dropped again to about 1000 humans more recently. We’re lucky to be here at all, and we are now faced with the opposite dilemma. Time to consider putting our investment into
correcting our obvious mistakes and rebuilding a more sane human future.
Meanwhile, TESS will be keeping us informed (soon I hope) about more exoplanets nearby. Hopefully they will be even more interesting than our nearest neighbor, exoplanet Proxima b, which is 1.3 times the size of Earth, orbiting in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star that could be making life in liquid water puddles on Proxima b. Life there could be having a hard time, however, for the nearby sun is blasting the exoplanet with stellar flares and high energy radiation.
Ours is a huge universe, with a fascinating variety of suns and their planets, a huge gift of very recent knowledge from dedicated astronomers. Our job, however, is not easy. As laymen we are challenged to face up to the reality of how large the universe is, how isolated we are–simply by the enormity of time and space–and the fact that Earth has been extraordinarily lucky in producing, not just life, but our complex lives, capable of appreciating what that means.
Author of The Archives of Varok
The View Beyond Earth (Book 1.)
The Webs of Varok (Book 2.)
Nautilus Silver Award 2013 YA
ForeWord IBPA finalist 2012 adult SF
The Alien Effect (Book 3.)
An Alien’s Quest (Book 4. Released Nov.21, 2016)
Excerpts, Synopses, Reviews, On Writing, Characters and More-
Reviews of significant books- www.goodreads.com/Cary_Neeper
How the Hen House Turns- www.ladailypost.com
Complexity, Bio, Bibliography and Links- caryneeper.com
Astrobiology- astronaut.com search:Who’s Out There