Billions of earth like planets? How sad.

March 29, 2012 by
Filed under: Adam Lent 

A team of astronomers have announced that they reckon the Milky Way contains billions of planets like the earth which could support alien life.  I am fascinated by this sort of thing and lap up the infinite number of documentaries investigating astronomy and cosmology.  And that is why I find this announcement strangely depressing. 

Proxima Centauri is 25 trillion miles away.  That is our nearest star! Its light takes over four years to reach us. 

So the chances that I will ever live to find out much more about any of these other ‘earths’, let alone get to know any of the inhabitants (even if just by email) is tiny.  Indeed the chance humanity will exist long enough to make landfall or contact has got to be pretty small. Butting up against the limits of our knowledge and experience of our own existence so starkly is frustrating.  Someone better get a move on and discover one of those Star Trek wormholes through space and time asap.



  • dicetrain

     We get to watch the awakening of humanity to the greatness of our universe and the smallness of this planet we share. If our kind does “make it” and traverse the galaxy, our times will be remembered as the paradigm shift in our comprehension.

    I am curious about the cosmos, but in order to get there we must first search out the mysteries of humanity and how to guide ourselves and overcome the foolish mindsets of the past. I hope to see more education and unity before I die, as those are the processes we should facilitate and I strive for them.

    It’s time to let go of the old ways of small-mindedness and working separately against one another. Discovering new frontiers of the good there is yet to be found in mankind may well satisfy some of the craving we have to meet beings other than ourselves.

    • Wayne Law

      Very well said. Bravo.
      ‘Is there life out there?’, we ask
      Forgetting ’bout the task
      Of making LIFE down here.

  • Neil Montgomery

    The situation and the knowledge of it is indeed depressing given our circumstance yet uplifting for its potential. Sadly it seems we have a long way to go in the struggle against escalating greed and aggression consuming that potential and, no doubt, offering considerable reason for judgement against communication should it be sought from the other direction. We are desperately short on long-term thought and pitifully lacking in conviviality; these things need as much attention as the Dilithium crystals Captain.  

  • Phil

    If Earth is the typical model for encounters between species and peoples, it’s probably a good thing we’ll never meet, or at least not soon. Maybe it’s nature’s way of preparing us. Maybe by the time we are able to travel those distances we will have learned not to turn every new thing into a product or food.