Remember how Doctor Spock and Captain Kirk, in the Enterprise, were always running into alien life forms? I don’t believe they ever explained, exactly, how the plug uglies they encountered happened to be up there (or maybe I missed that episode). Did they evolve from monkeys just as we did? Very homely ones? Were their planets colonized by refugees from Earth who, under the constant bombardment of gamma rays on Alpha Four, began to look like they had a case of bad stage makup?
Maybe there’s another explanation for how alien civilizations get their start. Two researchers at the University of Hong Kong say the “building blocks of life” are everywhere, waiting for the deft touch of nature (or, if you prefer,the finger of God) to turn them into living cells.
They (the researchers) say stars make a petroleum like substance which is full of complex organic molecules. Aromatic rings, even. This “Star Goo”, eventually, spreads throughout space.
The last time we watched life get started – um that would be the first time too – it happened in the wink of an eye. A cosmic eye, anyway. Since we know there are lots of planets and lots of water out there and, now, thanks to Kwok and Yong Zhang , we know that every star in every galaxy contains an E Z STARTER KIT FOR LIFE , it’s a good bet that there are plenty of living creatures to be found.
BUT NOT A SINGLE DROP TO DRINK
Doesn’t that just suck? Living creatures inhabiting biological niches throughout this busy universe, and, yet, we continue our lonely existence with no practical way to know who or what is out there? Life everywhere but “not a single drop to drink”?
As it were.
For a while, the SETI Project seemed like it might come up with something but it’s beginning to dawn on some that we’re probably barking up the wrong antenna. Our own civilization sends out very few stray radio waves anymore. More underground cables. Less antennas. If it’s like that, upstairs, this is bad news for SETI.
Sad, I suppose, although, maybe it’s good for us to figure things out on our own. And, maybe, we’re better off without yet another higher power. Heaven KNOWS we’re having enough problems with the lower ones.
Get this though. There may BE a way to sniff out another civilization. Wouldn’t aliens, independently, come up with the idea of artificial light? Just like we did? It makes sense. Abraham Loeb and Edwin Turner think so. Loeb (Harvard) and Turner (Princeton) feel that a well lit alien city could be detected with a sensitive telescope. It would have to be more sensitive than anything we have now but, with the right filters, a new generation of telescopes might do the trick.
At least, that’s the theory.
Image by Mister SASB