“It’s Life Jim, But Not As We Know It…”

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Since the dawn of my self-awareness, I have often wondered, what if many of the scientific assumptions we based our knowledge of the universe on were wrong? The furthest we have gone into space is a little bit outside our own solar system (and that was by a probe, not a manned craft), so many of the facts that we have gathered about other planets have come from viewing telescope pictures of them and making calculations based on those. They could be right, yes, but as the old maxim goes: “Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them.”

For instance, take Mars, an apparently lifeless planet. The reason I say apparently lifeless is that telescopes cannot see underground. This is relevant because there could be life underground. Our own planet hosts moles and other such life underground, so why can’t others? People may argue that the lack of water on Mars makes it incapable of supporting life, but intelligent life need not be like us. In saying ‘life needs certain elements to live’, scientists are using life found here on Earth as the template. Just as humans have adapted to their surrounding by evolution, so could other life forms. I am informed that they’ve sampled the soil on Mars, but you can go outside and do that right now, it’s literally just grabbing a handful of dirt. You cannot extrapolate ‘no life’ from a handful of dirt.

The knee-jerk reaction of most people to a new idea is scepticism. This is the origin of the phrase ‘seeing is believing’ and I believe that we have to embrace the new, good ideas if we are to progress to the stars. This is why I admire Star Trek, it inspired a generation of nerds to dream of life on other worlds, an exciting life. The spirit of the future is a drive to know more, a thirst for exploration, and I love that idea. It gives people something to aim for, and hope for the future.

And what about other areas of the universe? We don’t know what lies beyond black holes, we claim that going faster than the speed of light is an impossibility, yet just because we haven’t done these things doesn’t mean they can’t be done. Because of this, generally the only way to conclude something by my system is to go there and test it out for yourself. So the astronauts of tomorrow will be brave men and women who take unheard of risks, such as the aforementioned black hole thing. Yes, there is obviously an element of danger involved, but who knows what we might discover?

This is why I don’t like to impose my beliefs or lack thereof on other people, since I don’t know any more than they do. None of us do. We are essentially making guesses about the universe that have yet to be¬†disproved. Now, I’m not a scientist, so I welcome any criticism or comments that you may care to make.

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