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Friday, May 04, 2007

Ever Feel Alone?

Everyone at one point or another has felt alone in life or in an endeavor. After all, the world can be a big harsh place sometimes. Is it any wonder that there are people who feel Earth is alone in sustaining life in the universe? Our understanding can only come from the things we experience or can imagine. Face it, some folks just lack imagination.

Space.com ran a story Planet Hunters Edge Closer to Their Holy Grail in late April.

A small Earth-like planet has been discovered and may be habitable for life as we know it. It seems obvious to me that life may exist with other factors than what humans and other species living on Earth need. We need water, that's a given. We need an atmosphere. Humans need oxygen, plants need carbon dioxide. The golden rule says all life is carbon based. Any kid growing up on the old Star Trek episodes could tell you that!

If we allow that we envision things based on our experiences, we assume all life needs at least some of the things that we need for life to survive on Earth. First we thought that space ended where we could not see. Then we thought space ended in our solar system. Now we know space goes on and on, possibly and likely to continue infinitely. That's a huge concept to get our heads around. Something that truly has no end and no beginning, unlimited by any boundaries of dimension.

To me, it makes perfect sense that there may be life forms, whether we can recognize them or not, based on other elements with completely different needs to sustain life. These life forms may rely on elements that we have no knowledge of yet.

The exciting thing about finding planets that have the potential to sustain life as we know and understand it is the potential for travel. The potential to increase our knowledge and learn from other species. The potential to discover whether there are other humanoids in the vastness of space.

Although some people may be ready for this surge of potential, it seems we should become better stewards of the life forms here on Earth.

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