Are we alone? The question of all questions, of all civilizations, and of all time. The fact that we have such high biological and chemical diversity here on Earth, would lead one to believe that there are no exacting replicates of us, or even of our biosphere out there on another planet or inhabitable moon, but the laws of probability do strongly suggest that ‘life’ in some form or fashion is certainly out there.
Dr. Dimitar Sasselov, Director of Harvard’s Origins of Life initiative, recently presented fascinating new information about the discovery of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way Galaxy at the recent TED Conference in Oxford England. What I found particularly interesting was Sasselov’s reference to the age of the Earth being nearly a third the age of the universe. With our planet have this vast amount of time to change and evolve, it is no wonder that the perfect combinations of chemistry were stumbled upon, and this planet experienced a breath of life.
Sasselov’s presentation can be found here:
Now, considering that 100’s of reasonable places to search for life have been exposed thanks to NASA‘s Keppler Program, it would make sense to target those that are old enough to give chemistry a fighting chance at creating that perfect opportunity elsewhere.
Then again, consider how much evolutionary action we see here on Earth within very short time frames. Several of my colleagues involved in underwater cave exploration and research have discovered species in caves of close proximity that are distant relatives, but definitively distinct species – purely the result of only a few thousand years of geographic isolation and being subjected to unique physical environments.
The point is that ‘life’ in its entirety is incredibly robust and adaptable. As we open our eyes to the farthest reaches of our universe – both away from home and in our own backyard – our understanding of ‘life’ will continue to change. Our understanding and appreciation of both our uniqueness, and the minuscule role we play in the big picture, will help guide our species for the better; unquestionably guiding us to the inevitable ‘life in the sea’ that our Blue Planet beckons. Share