The exploration of the universe is, in my lifetime, the most fascinating science there is. Look, I love most of the sciences, especially paleontology and archaeology, but it is the space sciences that push the boundaries of human existence and meaning.
Late last week rumors began to leak that scientists would announce soon that they had “found a new Earth!” Nothing could be further from the truth, but that would not stop the headlines and breathless exclamations to the effect that soon we would be settling the planet found orbiting Proxima Centauri.
In the fifty years since Star Trek and the moon landings, the absolutely certain belief that life must be ubiquitous throughout the universe has grown tot he point where nobody in a casual conversation believes otherwise. And yet there is absolutely zero evidence for such a belief. Trust me on this though, if you say that in polite company, you’ll be considered the whack-o.
More and more however, it’s starting to become clear that there is something seriously off in the math that concludes that life is everywhere. By all reasonable interpretations of the science, we should have discovered firm evidence of extra-terrestrial life by now. But we haven’t. Still, we cling to the believe that it’s there, so there must be something wrong with our methodology.
Why are we so afraid of having our faith shaken to its foundations? How does man’s destiny change if the universe isn’t full of intelligent life? Or if it is?
At the end of the day, our nature is to explore, to discover and to find.