For thousands of years people have looked to the stars and wondered. They have pondered if there is life beyond this chaotic blue rock we call Earth, and home. There has never been any recorded evidence of an extra terrestrial being or beings, other than eyewitness reports and self reinforced beliefs. Still, many people are on the look out, keeping an eye to the sky in hopes of something extraordinary
There is not one solid piece of evidence that there is any form of life outside of the orbit of Earth let alone our solar system or even the rest of the universe. Or perhaps is there? What we are used to when it comes to “evidence” is usually an eyewitness account or a sketch of what these aliens look like. The human brain is fantastic at fooling it’s own body. For example, when your brain stitches together what you see it’s actually removing a very small section of motion blur. This small section of vision if added up is around 12 to 15 seconds of blindness everyday. Just one of the many brain functions that go unnoticed, like breathing for example, which you are now aware of. The brain can and infact does take memories subconsciously and implants them into your dreams and even daydreams. Every abductees’ eye witness reports can be traced back to what they have heard or seen in film, book or of their peers. Not one person has managed to snag an alien’s iPhone or pocketknife while aboard their ship. Not one has snapped a quick picture from their cell phone or anything of the sort. Not one shard of exploded craft from an alien source has been recovered. Absolutely nothing alien anywhere.
A large part of the problem when it comes to what people believe is the human it’s self. All of us are capable of creating our own truth to justify our own means. Consciously and subconsciously we will make a pattern to make what we believe fact, especially when we don’t understand something. For example I had one of these moments not too long ago. Over the summer I was out with my friends one night, I wanted to take some pictures of the night sky so I went to set up my tripod. Out of no where, mid tripod setup, I saw three bright lights that looked like Jupiter in size and luminosity blast across the sky in beautiful harmony. At the time I could not speak, I honestly thought that I saw UFO’s because I wanted to see them. I now know that what I saw was likely flares or even more likely just reflected light from a passing car through the glass screen I was looking through in my friend’s back yard. A curious molecular machine, the brain. We are looking for UFO’s and we find them, or lest we think we find them.
Despite what the masses believe, there are scientists and astronomers; amateur and professional alike who devote much of their time on a real hunt for life outside our solar system. Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute. Their purpose is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe (as quoted from their website). By using signal-processing technology SETI hopes to discover distant radio waves from alien civilization. Imagine the day we find proof of distant life. Would America declare a national holiday? Would the World? A humbling experience it would be. The knowledge that we are infact not alone will be a joyous occasion for most I hope. Fearing other races would lead to many social problems we have long fought here. Perhaps the discovery of and venture to other worlds would bring more chaos than we need? Only time will tell.
Eventually humans will need to find another planet to live on whether we like it or not. The Earth has limited resources, every thing we send to space or another planet is like taking a piece of clay off of a balled up wad and hurling it far away. If we decide to expand our human empire out to the reaches of the solar system we would need materials not from our own land, but from others. How far would the human race go for mining rights over a planet?
Why should we bother with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence let alone space? A very good question. As Neil deGrasse Tyson has said, “We are all connected; To each other biologically. To the earth chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” We really are a way for the cosmos to know it’s self; and we yearn to return to it one day. The elements are traceable to the stars, the very same elements and atoms that make up the stars, make you and me. In the highest exalted way “we are star stuff” and to me there is no greater spiritual feeling than the knowledge of that statement. If that is not important to someone, they should rethink their priorities in life. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence and space exploration is by far two of the most meaningful things we could do with our time. I can understand why most people wouldn’t feel the same about this. Most people just want to have a worry free life, conserve money or just waste time. Let me paint an image in your head. Just take a few moments after reading this to close your eyes and wonder. Imagine yourself on your star ship, twirling round in your parabolic orbit of a distant planet. Over the horizon you see the twilight of four hundred million suns, you wish to yourself that you had a poet on deck but what you do have is your favorite tool for relaxation what ever that may be.
Someday I hope we find ourselves in space. Someday I hope to explore those distant worlds.