Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Earth-Like Planet

The recent news about the earth-like planet found by astronomers caused a bit of excitement. I dare say it’s scientifically too complicated for my mind to understand, but apparently there are reasons to believe that this newly-found planet is capable of harbouring life.

As we all know, humans have been obsessed with exploring other worlds for possible life forms, even if it’s just a matter of single-cell organisms. Personally, I think with the improvement in technology to probe farther and farther into the universe, it’s just a matter of time before we find life on other planets.

I find it quite amazing that although the newly-found planet above is more than 20 light years away from earth, scientists are able to tell that the planet does not turn—it merely orbits around a dwarf sun. Although conducive to support life, it may be just another barren planet.

But if there’s life thereon, we’re looking at 3 main possibilities:

1) Primitive

I’m not sure what’s the correct scientific term, but I’m using “primitive” to mean creatures in the likes of bacteria and worms. In such a case, humans would probably be happy to prove that we are not alone in this universe. And perhaps that will encourage us to look even harder!

2) Sophisticated

Maybe we can also find a more sophisticated life form including mammals—intelligent ones like us humans. And a wide variety of them too! Maybe they can also think and plan ahead; they can build and invent things. These would be a more interesting find, because who knows, we might be able to exchange ideas or share knowledge to achieve greater things together.

3) Advanced

We may find that the creatures on that other planet are much more advanced than us. Maybe they’re travelling from one galaxy to another like riding in a train on a daily basis. They have much more sophisticated weaponry and defense systems. They are also physically stronger and faster; they can live much longer than us. They have the cures to all the diseases on planet earth.

When and if we find (1) above, that would of course be a major breakthrough for the human race. There is no question that we would want to study the creatures and find ways on how we could use any aspects of that study for our benefits.

But it would be interesting to know what would happen in cases (2) and (3) above. Knowing our nature, I think I can safely say that we would want to learn whatever we can from these aliens. And then where applicable, we may use whatever we’ve learned for our own benefits here on earth. Maybe we’re also willing to trade ideas—we show you ours, you show us yours.

Yes, that would be ideal. Both parties can learn and share from each other, and both can benefit from the knowledge!

But unfortunately, I also know that it’s not in our nature to do that. Empirical evidence had shown us that we are, for the most part, selfish and greedy animals. We can’t resist the temptation to colonize the weaker party. We can’t get along with our own kind; we want to impose our ideologies and beliefs upon others. Throughout the history of mankind, we have always failed to contain our lust for power and wealth. It’s never enough, you see. We go to war; we fight to invade other countries; we want to be the king. We’re willing to go to all ends to satisfy our greed.

That’s why this whole thing about finding alien life form may not be such a good idea after all. I know in the long run we will fail to resist the temptation to colonize the aliens. Except that there is the possibility that the opposite may also be true—that the aliens are like us too; selfish and greedy animals which are unable to control their lust for power.

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