What Happens When We’re Visited By REAL Aliens?
Sunday’s Washington Post discusses the growing interest and evidence of life on other planets. Biologist Lisa Pratt of Indiana University researches extremophiles, microbes found in unusual places in the earth. (And I thought extremophiles were the people who e-mail me).
“Until several years ago, absolutely nobody thought this kind of life was possible — it hadn’t even made it into science fiction,” she said. “Now it’s quite possible to imagine a microbe like that living deep beneath the surface of Mars.”
Between 1000 and 2000 scientists are devoted to this issue. And, while no one is thinking such discoveries are imminent, they do believe that with new technology it will come in time. Forty million dollars in seed money from NASA funds efforts to discover exteme life forms, mostly on Mars.
What is different now, researchers say, is that they know so much more about extreme life-forms on Earth that could quite comfortably live on other planets. In addition to South Africa’s radioactivity-driven bacteria, extremophiles have also been found living near super-hot sulfurous steam vents at the deep ocean floor, in pools composed almost entirely of acid, and recently two miles below the surface of the Greenland ice sheet. All get little or no energy from the sun, which sustains virtually all other life-forms, and their survival makes it more conceivable that microbes could live in the sub-surface ice or water on Mars and Europa.
With the Hubble telescope and other advances in instruments, new information continues to be available.
…researchers are also convinced that planets and solar systems — some probably similar to ours — are present and perhaps quite common, elsewhere in the universe. The next step is to find extrasolar planets in the “habitable zone” of their solar systems; planets whose size, makeup and distance from their sun might allow life to develop.
Some Americans have enough trouble with the idea that “illegal” trespassers from other countries are among us. They think Amercica is the center of the universe. What if this universe isn’t even the center of the solar system? The flag-wavers will be devastated. Forget about keeping Mexicans out of America. What are they going to do about the little green men?Click here for reuse options!
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