Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Proof of Extraterrestrial Life? That's So Cool!

             NASA scientist Richard B. Hoover has announced that he has proof of life that originated somewhere other than Earth. A rare type of meteorite – CI1 carbonaceous meteorites to be specific – appears to contain “indigenous microfossils of cyanobacteria”.  This is HUGE NEWS! And YES, it IS more important than Charlie Sheen being fired.

            It will take the scientific community years of further research before a majority of scientists will be willing to step out on that limb with Hoover and agree that there is definitely life outside of Earth. That’s OK; I get the scientific method and I approve.

            However, I’ve long maintained that it is highly improbable that life exists ONLY on Earth. Billions of stars, each with planets rotating about them, and not a single one other than Earth formed the conditions that facilitated life? That doesn’t seem likely, does it? I want to believe that Hoover’s proof is real.

            I feel a bit let down, though, that the potential proof we have of life outside of Earth is a fossilized bacterium.  Come on, man, I spend my days doing my best to kill the darn things. I use anti-bacterial soap when I wash, I wipe down my kitchen surfaces with bleach, and Lysol is my best friend. If an extraterrestrial bacterium were to visit me, I suspect it would be DOA.

            Of course it is possible that extraterrestrial bacteria would be impervious to my weapons of choice. In that case, they could make me sick, and scientists would have to figure out some way to kill them before they killed me. Either way, it’s not looking like a win-win scenario for a first contact with still-living extraterrestrial bacteria.

            It would be much more satisfying if proof that life existed outside of Earth took the form of the Ambassador of Vulcan stepping out of his starship on the White House lawn, don’t you think? Live long and prosper, my friends.


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