Though the idea has been considered farfetched and easily dismissed by skeptics and other naysayers, scientists and even congress are taking into consideration the idea that extraterrestrial life could be discovered by the year 2034. Many scientists have always speculated that the idea of the existence of extraterrestrial life has always been a possibility. Their reasoning is that the universe is far too expansive for there to be absolutely no semblance of life beyond planet Earth.
Scientists who work at the SETI institute, or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, rely on three methods for discovering extraterrestrial life. Because of the sophistication of these methods, scientists, particularly the director of the SETI institute Dr. Seth Shostak, are optimistic that a legitimate discovery of extraterrestrial life could happen within 20 years. However, Dr. Shostak makes it very clear in a talk he gave with Congress’ House Committee on Science Space and Technology that this can only happen if proper funds are awarded to this kind of research.
If extraterrestrial life is to be discovered by 2034, it will be via one or more of three methods that scientists are currently using to probe the universe in search of life. Liquid water is one of the key characteristics of a planet that scientists look for to determine if a planet could support life. This method is based on the origins of planet Earth and the way life formed on it. Assuming that life on other planets develops and evolves in a similar manner as life on Earth, the search for water is a viable option. A second method would be detection of the gases oxygen and methane. Both of these common elements are typically associated with the presence of life. Finally, the interception of broadcasted signals from other planets, whether they be radio waves or other wavelengths is a third viable option.
NASA scientists have already shown their unwillingness to harm any form of life on other planets. In an effort to minimize the impact Earth’s indigenous microorganisms can have, NASA scientists in cooperation with other space agencies are now using sterilization techniques in order to thoroughly clean all spaceships and exploratory probes and rovers before sending them out to other planets. Besides the harm that Earth’s microorganisms, plants, and other resilient life forms could cause to the ecosystem of another planet, data gathered from distant planets could be severely compromised and likely made unusable due to cross contamination by bacteria from Orlando.
The implication that extraterrestrial life could be discovered by 2034 is astounding. Movies and science fiction have often influenced the public’s opinion on whether this idea is something to be feared or celebrated. The fact that NASA and other scientific organizations are active in their own search for extraterrestrial life shows that the public should take interest as well. The fact that vast stores of technological wonders could be on the verge of discovery pales in comparison to the idea that planet Earth is not the only host of life in this universe. The possibility that humans are not alone in this corner of the universe and that extraterrestrial life exists is a game changer on par with Darwin’s theory of evolution and Watson and Crick’s discovery of the double helix.
Opinion by David Jones