Are we alone? The answer could come sooner than we think.


cyber-1929133antenna-947824The news from NASA this week has excited not only astronomers but everyone in the scientific community, including sci fi writers. The news of the planetary system Trappist-1 being discovered is amazing. Seven planets in the system with three in the sweet spot, the habitable zone that could contain water and therefore sustain life. We won’t know for sure until we either send a probe or visit the system but the signs are encouraging at least.

When I was growing up the question all astronomers was asking was ‘are we alone?’ This has been addressed in many sci fi films and books and is a staple plot device in the sci fi genre. It was a question no one at the time thought would get answered in our lifetime. As technology advanced though, many other burning questions had found answers but this one seemed doomed to remain unanswered. This was something that was way beyond our reach, literally. To find the answer we would have to travel beyond our own solar system and into the realms of deep space where the nearest star was at least four years away if we travelled at the speed of light. Well it seems the question could be answered sooner than anyone ever thought possible. Before you go booking your seat on the next shuttle available to visit these planets I must assure you that’s not what I meant. Advances in telescope technology has enabled technicians at NASA and other institutions such as Spitzer, Kepler and Hubble to further investigate these signals and explore these planets for more signs that life could exist on these planets.

I don’t know about anyone else but I am truly excited about this. It’s too easy to become laid back or blase about this because we visit strange new worlds almost every day either on tv or at the movies so this is nothing new to us, with one huge exception. This is real life and all the other stuff is fantasy. This new star system that has been discovered is what dreams are made of, well the dreams of writers like myself at least.

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3 thoughts on “Are we alone? The answer could come sooner than we think.

  1. if people arent interested in the research that ufo-ologists and conspiracy theorists do, i dont know why they would be interested in what nasa has to say about aliens.

    i mean there were nasa and air force personnel talking about this stuff for years– thats one way in which the “wingnuts” (as theyre perceived) get interested in the first place. this presumes that youre asking “are we alone?” in terms of sentient life, rather than asking if there is space bacteria on trappist-1. im not much into ufo-ology or that sort of thing myself, but laughing at “wingnuts” stopped being fun years ago.

    also, 3 or 4 decades is a long time to sit listening to hold music on the phone.

    and if your call gets dropped, it will take another 3 or 4 decades just to call back!

    as for whether anyone really cares– weve been trying to “get through” since long before yesterday: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SETI relativity aside, no ones bothered to tell us if anyone calls back– except wingnuts, right? my guess is that if nasa makes contact, they will not bother telling us– if there is any real news at all, youll be getting it from “wingnuts” as usual. most people in the usa dont even know whats going on in eastern europe, let alone light years away from here.

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    1. I agree, I doubt if sentient life is found anywhere in the galaxy that any government would inform us. They would be terrified of the outcome. I’m from the UK and there is a consensus of opinion that most Americans know little of what happens outside their country, I think we do them an injustice though. I know a lot of well informed Americans who unfortunately get lumped together with all the idiots. It’s the same for us Brits. Back to the point of the blog though, it was meant as nothing more than a celebration of the discovery of this new system from the viewpoint of a burgeoning sci fi author.

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      1. sci-fi is good. its one of the few places where you can sneak pure unabashed philosophy into entertainment.

        im somewhat aware of what the world thinks of us. i was treated pretty well by brits when i was there, and im somewhat of an anglophile, but we all have our problems. our educational system is pretty terrible– and some of us would like to find ways to improve it (even if it means focusing on alternatives and supplemental education.) cheers.

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