Space, the Final Frontier, or An Invasion By Planet Tharg

Planet in space in the star sky of flash, light

by Neil Bamforth

NASA recently announced the discovery of a solar system that has by far the best chance, to date, of sustaining life. I assume they mean ‘life as we know it’ in the sense that the makeup of the seven planets is thought to bear some resemblance to Earth. Personally I’ve tended to go the ‘Spock route’ and consider the possibility that there may well be life out there but it doesn’t necessarily follow that it would require our ‘setup’ to exist. In other words “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.”

The scientists who discovered this solar system have, for some reason obscure to me, named it ‘Trappist 1’. Maybe they think there’s a lot of monks living there or something. No idea myself.

Already the question is being asked, ‘if there is life in this solar system and if, let’s say, it is more advanced than our own then why haven’t they contacted us?’

I can answer that easily.

If we lived in the Trappist 1 solar system and had developed interstellar travel and were aware of life on Earth would we want to contact us?

Let’s see.

Nuclear weapons. Islamic State. Wars going on all over the place. Famine and poverty all over the place. Destruction of the environment and species that were dependent on said environment. Donald Trump. Kim Jong-un. A generally violent and warlike race called humanity living there (here).

Mmmmm – methinks we’ll give Earth a miss for now chaps eh?

Actually, I suppose we need to be a wee bit cautious when it comes to our obsession with finding that we are not alone. After all, who is to say that anyone or anything ‘out there’ will either wish to know us or, indeed, desire a friendly relationship with us.

How do we know that if we’re successful one day in contacting an alien race they might not just think “Really humanity? Nuclear weapons? You think you’re tough? Ha! Wait until you’re on the receiving end of our destructor ray!!” – if they say it out loud rather than think it I presume the statement would be followed by an evil laugh.

It’s actually quite surprising how much science fiction of the days past has come true to greater or lesser degrees. Herge wrote his Tintin classics ‘Destination Moon’ and ‘Explorers On The Moon’ well before we did it as, of course, HG Wells got in ahead of time with similar themes.

Science fiction movies of today or the recent past might just have got something right in years to come.

Will we meet ET and lend him our mobiles to phone home or will we be invaded by green blobs from the planet Tharg? Will we find a world like ours millions of years ago with its version of Neanderthals and, if so, will we colonise it and wipe out the indigenous residents – we do have form don’t we?

Will we continue to find new solar systems with the seeming capability of sustaining life and yet never find any?

Are we really and inexplicably alone in all the universe?

The NASA scientists are claiming that in the Trappist 1 system ‘any evidence of life is likely to be strong, very strong or conclusive’

Let’s just hope there’s a Flash Gordon wandering around Earth right now then. You know, just in case.

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Posted by on March 1, 2017. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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