I have been reading the Times again. It is so often the source of my daily post, particularly at present when there is little stirring on our daily walks and the farm is just ticking over waiting for some warmer weather.
I read today that scientists are predicting that the first earth-like planet outside our solar system may well be detected before the end of this year. Conditions have to be just right -
the planet does not have to be too large (they are likely to have too turbulent an environment);
it has to have a star to orbit and it needs to be at an optimum distance from that star - if it is too close it will be very hot and the water on the planet is likely to evaporate; if, however, it is too far away then the water will be ice. This planet will most likely be found by Nasa's Kepler spacecraft. In fact there may very well be more than one planet which is both about the same size as earth and is also in a "habitable zone."
It does rather bring science-fiction to life doesn't it?
I remember the moon landing and how exciting it seemed. On the day it was happening we were visiting my aged parents and we rushed down the path to the door, dashed in expecting to see the television on, only to find that my parents were not at all interested - in fact I don't think they believed it was really happening.
I do find the idea of other habitable planets really very exciting, but I am less than excited about the other thing I read. Professor Peters who is a Lutheran Theologian at a seminary in Berkeley, California, says that if we were to find intelligent life on another planet he is sure that the first question we would ask would be, "How can we exploit them?" This, I assume, is the cumulative "we", in other words our elected leaders rather than we as individuals. I find that rather sad to say the least.
He goes on to say that we would be slow to trust beings from another planet and, as he says, mistrust breeds violence.
And what if that civilisation proved to be further advanced and more intelligent than us - we would probably have to prepare ourselves to be subservient. And again, that collective "we" would not like that as would most likely fight. Revolutionary spirit would grow and spread and then I suppose it really would be "War of the Worlds."
In the light of this I can't help feeling we would be better staying at home, so to speak, rather than looking what is out there. But then on the other hand I suppose like Mallory said when asked why he wanted to climb Everest, we need to explore space "because it is there."
Any views on the subject?