Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Goldilocks Planet

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," scanning the skies and baking fresh pies! No lies.

A few years ago, my daughter The Heir came home and told me that her science teacher stood in front of the class and categorically ruled out any chance of biological life on any other planet in the universe.

Granted, this was a biology teacher, but get real! Heir wasn't attending some crazy private religious school. Seems to me that your average high school biology teacher ought to have a basic grasp of the size of the universe and the statistics that go with it.

You read it here first, friends. We are not alone in the universe. I'm grabbing a number out of a hat when I say there are probably more than 10 million planets with fully diverse ecosystems, including sentient beings. Universe is a big place, yo. Whole lotta stars out there.

I'm a little late getting to this, but last week an astronomy journal published news of the discovery of a planet revolving around a star just a few trillion miles from here. The planet has ideal conditions for liquid water, which is, of course, a prerequisite for life. One of the scientists called the planet a "Goldilocks planet" because it isn't too hot or too cold. It's just right.

Within a hundred years we'll have identified a bevvy of Goldilocks planets. They're out there in droves.

Of  course, what we do with this map of great planets will say a lot about us and our deities. Have we made any progress on our penchant for conquest, or will we send a Columbus in a spacesuit to check out Goldilocks IV and take note of what can be pillaged or "settled?" Or will we behave like intelligent life ... leave the planet alone, entirely alone, just like we would want to be free of aliens who would drink our water and suck our brains out through our noses?

I won't be around for the "take me to your leader" phase of Earth history, but I tell you this: It's coming. Whole lotta planets out there. Let's show them some respect, eh?


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Columbus in a spacesuit -- now there's a scary thought and image.


humans are so smug to be so stupid

Intense Guy said...

Every time someone, even a scientist, has proclaimed a "Truth" (with the capital "T") in the past, things changed and proved them otherwise.

We humans do not know anything for "dead certain." Yes, the universe appears to be a mind boggling huge place - and yes, there is a reasonable chance there are other lifeforms "out there" - we humans need to be kept away from it - we've singlehandedly driven a huge number of species to extinction (and are working on some more as I type this).

Alex P said...

Sorry, Anne, but respect for life, especially "other" life, is NOT the human way. But don't worry. Gaia is taking care of the problem. We're not going anywhere.

Gruvkitty said...

Truly unfathomable that we can be so narrow minded when proven wrong again and again. I don't even "buy" that we must have a "Goldilocks" planet. Sure, we need that for "life as WE know it" - but who's to say what life has to look like? We've found "life" in all kinds of crazy muck we previously thought and believed to be uninhabitable. I suppose that teacher is going to say next that we're the center of the solar system? Or maybe the universe?

Anonymous said...

I'll bet the teacher was using "universe" to mean "solar system." Or got the statement from someone who said "solar system" and then confused them. Or didn't know the difference. Rodger C

Gruvkitty said...

Anon - I doubt it. I've heard many other scientists say the same thing. Some folks just have a very narrow view - it can't be until it's proven so.