New Solar system discovered, looks almost like home
A home for others of the living kind?With the aid of instruments at the European Southern observatory in Chile, scientists have discovered a brand new solar system, or at least one new to us. The sun-like star, which has at least 6 orbiting planets, is 127 light years away in the southern constellation of Hydrus. This is exciting news to astronomers because they have never seen a planetary system so similar to our own.The kicker-- one of the planets just might be earth size or close to it.
Scientists have been hunting for earth-like orbs since telescopes became powerful enough to detect orbiting planetary bodies. But like our damsel Goldilocks, they have yet to find the right fit--this one is too cold, another one is too hot, and size matters too. In order for a planet to have the potential to sustain life, it has be just the right distance from it's sun. Why is this important? If there is another planet with these favorable conditions, then perhaps there are other sentient beings knocking around...intergalactic kinfolk if you will. So the hunt goes on.
Whenever I read about astronomy, my brain goes into a chaotic spin cycle. How can we as human beings ever get our heads around the vastness of the universe? To say the possibilities are endless is trite, but true. However, being a curious soul, I'm generally in favor of knowledge seeking. We should learn all we can about things that can effect us here on earth; approaching meteors and such. But when we're dealing with a fraction of a fraction of knowledge compared to the scope of the universe...well, it's all speculative.
For instance, when we are looking at celestial bodies at distances as far as several million light years away, we are looking at the distant past. In other words, we're watching a scene in a very old movie, but if we were to gaze on that same scene in real time, the players and set pieces might have rearranged themselves completely. Even if we had the means, we could never travel there because by the time we got there, the there we went to see would no longer be there...exactly. You see what a headache this is?
So let’s talk earth.
Do we really want to know about the possible 'others' out there? It seems to me there must be others, but they have yet to make contact for one of three reasons: 1) they know of our existence, but can't be bothered make our acquaintance, 2) they'd like to get to know us but are unable get here, 3) they are simply as clueless as we are. However, if we ever did discover the existence of 'others', it would upset the world order in ways we can't imagine. Everyone would be walking around muttering questions to themselves and no one would get anything done.
The problem with this knowlege; as earthlings we feel special. We're God's human project, but what if God has other little projects here and there around the universe? He may be that daddy with kids all over 'town' and we would never know it until the nosy neighbor spills the beans. If we ever find that busybody, we would certainly bend her ear...
Who was first?
Does God love us more?
Would we all get along if we met?
Who's the cutest?
Who's the smartest?
You see where this is going.
We're not likely to answer any of these existential questions anytime soon. So why do we spend so much time and money hunting for extraterrestrial life? If you ask me, we do it because we can. As an advanced society with easy access to food and shelter (for most), we have enough time on our collective hands to do some navel gazing on a galactic scale. We're curious, so we seek.
Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be better to just mind our own business and thank our lucky stars.