Human beings are naturally curious, and this is evident with our pursuit in finding signs of life on other extraterrestrial bodies. Space is absolutely fascinating to a large portion of the population, including myself. With that being said, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope recently discovered an earth-like planet in the “habitual zone” of its star, signifying the potential this planet has in possessing liquid water.
This confirms that other planets in other galaxies exist in the habitual zone, just like our own planet. The habitual zone is characterized as the proximal distance (with other things taken into account) a planet is from its “sun,” which promotes the growth of life on its surface.
When I read news about the potential evidence of extraterrestrial life, I can’t help but wonder what the repercussions would be for us here on Earth. Huffington Post conducted a poll last year to determine how many Americans believe in life outside of earth, and 50 percent believe that “alien” life forms exist. But, if this belief was confirmed by actual discovery, I believe the Earth could potentially change in a number of drastic ways.
First off, religion would cease to exist in light of extraterrestrial life discoveries. Religion has survived through a multitude of tests, like evidence of evolution and the fact that Earth is not in the center of the Universe. Creationism is still a dominant ideology over evolution, with 46 percent of Americans believing in creationism opposed to 15 percent holding the belief of evolution without any sort of divine intervention, according to the Huffington Post in 2012. One may infer that discovery of alien life might depreciate the belief that we were created to fulfill a specific purpose, since we are not the only ones in the galaxy. We would seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, so some believe religion might crumble. I do not think this would actually happen.
But, since human curiosity would take over in the light of alien discovery, I think we would do anything and everything in our power to contact that specific planet. Technology would race to advance enough to do so, and billions of dollars would be pumped into financial programs to make this dream a reality. If we actually ever made contact, then other wild ideas would ensue, like visiting the far-away world or even inhabiting the planet ourselves. Realistically, we will probably never see contact with alien life in our lifetime if it was discovered, but it is fascinating to think about. How long would it take to advance far enough to achieve such a thing? It only took roughly 70 years to advance from using a horse and buggy for transportation, to landing on the moon. Imagine what could be accomplished 500 or 600 years from now.
It is fascinating to think about how far humankind could potentially advance hundreds of years from now. We already have a telescope that can look at galaxies as old as the big bang itself, and it is only 2014. This NASA discovery only fuels human curiosity about the unknown vastness of space. It probably isn’t a landmark discovery since many planets before this one have been deemed fit to possess life, but I love reading about this kind of news. We have a natural thirst for knowledge, and space is no exception.
Chris Chipman is a junior English major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.