A New Earth

Though, I live on a planet with over six billion other people, I somehow feel less alone today.  For some reason the discovery of this earth like planet 20 light years away changes my perspective of our world and my existence in particular just a little.  I guess I feel that I'm part of a galactic community more today than I did yesterday.  

If there is life on Gilese 581c, they more than likely have more than a billion year head start on us as thier star is far older and more stable than ours.  I also can't help but wonder how any inhabitants of Gilese 581c might feel if suddenly they knew we had just become aware of them.  I would think they might feel a little unsettled being observed by us and what our intentions might be.  I would imagine they might feel relieved because of the 20 light year barrier between us.  They say fences make good neighbors, and I can't think of a better fence than 20 light years. 

It's not the discovery of Gilese that's important but what it represents because we found it so quickly upon obtaining the instrumentation to detect such planets.  Astronomers now feel there are literally a billion of these earth like planets.  Perhaps most importantly, how should we feel if some other advanced world suddenly becomes aware of our existence and 20 light years is no obstacle to them?  There is a little apprehension when different civilizations become aware of each other. Should the Incas have been concerned meeting the Spanish or the Native Americans the English? I'm not so much concerned about us becoming aware of Gilese 581c, but of 581c becoming aware of us with their billion year head start in evolution.  It's probably nothing to worry about.        .........I just hope they don't need oil.

5 comments

  • Andras

    Andras

    The planet is likely tidally locked, so the habitable zone is a narrow permanent twilight band between the icy dark side and the baking hot always sunny side. If it isn't tidally locked it has kilometer high tidalwaves sweeping it continuously. Nonetheless intelligent life is a possibility. What I thought of when I read up on this was that most habitable planets would be around red dwarves and it is Earth which is the anomaly. Other civilizations probably don't even look at G class stars, thinking they are far too bright and unstable to support life. I am occupied with this discovery and the bee crisis and it was nice to see that someone shares my interests.

    The planet is likely tidally locked, so the habitable zone is a narrow permanent twilight band between the icy dark side and the baking hot always sunny side. If it isn't tidally locked it has kilometer high tidalwaves sweeping it continuously. Nonetheless intelligent life is a possibility. What I thought of when I read up on this was that most habitable planets would be around red dwarves and it is Earth which is the anomaly. Other civilizations probably don't even look at G class stars, thinking they are far too bright and unstable to support life. I am occupied with this discovery and the bee crisis and it was nice to see that someone shares my interests.

  • Karyn

    Karyn

    Interesting thoughts about how our system might be viewed by other star systems. I was reading some about tidally locked planets like how 581c likely is. They were saying that because of the extreme hot and cold of the one side facing the sun and the other facing space, that the temperatures could actually be moderate all around the planet as the icy cold air/water and hot air/water meet through global air and water currents causing the whole planet to be very temperate. It might be possible to have an incredible growing season on the side facing the sun. The twilight band still sounds appealing for living. I can't imagine living my whole day everyday in a beautiful sunset bathed in the orange light. In many ways it sounds like 581c could be a much more ideal and beautiful enviroment than earth is.

    Interesting thoughts about how our system might be viewed by other star systems.

    I was reading some about tidally locked planets like how 581c likely is. They were saying that because of the extreme hot and cold of the one side facing the sun and the other facing space, that the temperatures could actually be moderate all around the planet as the icy cold air/water and hot air/water meet through global air and water currents causing the whole planet to be very temperate. It might be possible to have an incredible growing season on the side facing the sun.

    The twilight band still sounds appealing for living. I can't imagine living my whole day everyday in a beautiful sunset bathed in the orange light. In many ways it sounds like 581c could be a much more ideal and beautiful enviroment than earth is.

  • Dale Ulan

    Dale Ulan

    .... or let's hope they don't have oil... I always thought that we (in general) are far too arrogant in terms of our place in the universe. I've been convinced for a long time that there must be a lot of different life forms out there, given the number of stars and planets out there. I'd like to know how religious groups are going to deal with this - especially if we actually find someone out there. Also, since around 1945, we have sent approximately 2,080 big signals out there... letting other people know that we're here, and that we are a rather violent creature too.

    .... or let's hope they don't have oil...

    I always thought that we (in general) are far too arrogant in terms of our place in the universe. I've been convinced for a long time that there must be a lot of different life forms out there, given the number of stars and planets out there. I'd like to know how religious groups are going to deal with this - especially if we actually find someone out there.

    Also, since around 1945, we have sent approximately 2,080 big signals out there... letting other people know that we're here, and that we are a rather violent creature too.

  • Karyn

    Karyn

    Hi, Dale. I think there would be difficulty among some religious groups, but people in general might not be so tied down to traditional views. It seems like every year there are people who claim to be abducted by aliens. They don't all seem to be crazy either. I know of someone personally that believes she has had abduction experiences about every 2 years since she was 8 years old. She feels like it wasn't against her will and that she agreed to it and has some interesting stories to tell. Who knows. It could just be a situation of mass hysteria and attention getting behaviors that cause people to believe or to claim that they have had alien experiences. On the other hand, maybe we've been watched for a long time, just the way we would want to watch 581C for a long time, observing and learning if we could.

    Hi, Dale. I think there would be difficulty among some religious groups, but people in general might not be so tied down to traditional views.

    It seems like every year there are people who claim to be abducted by aliens. They don't all seem to be crazy either. I know of someone personally that believes she has had abduction experiences about every 2 years since she was 8 years old. She feels like it wasn't against her will and that she agreed to it and has some interesting stories to tell.

    Who knows. It could just be a situation of mass hysteria and attention getting behaviors that cause people to believe or to claim that they have had alien experiences.

    On the other hand, maybe we've been watched for a long time, just the way we would want to watch 581C for a long time, observing and learning if we could.

  • Roland

    Roland

    Having advanced technology does not, unfortunately, insure civilized behavior (at least as we define it). Broadcasting our whereabouts and our weaknesses to whomever might pick up the message seems a bit reckless. Let's hope we are too insignificant to merit a second look and that we offer no strategic value to any specie that would view a 50 light year gulf as a stroll in the park. Cross your fingers that being on the fringe of our galaxy will give us the time we need to develop the strength of character that I hope would be necessary to be a valued member of a galactic community. It will start with sensible leadership, which seems pretty elusive at this point. Nice music.

    Having advanced technology does not, unfortunately, insure civilized behavior (at least as we define it). Broadcasting our whereabouts and our weaknesses to whomever might pick up the message seems a bit reckless. Let's hope we are too insignificant to merit a second look and that we offer no strategic value to any specie that would view a 50 light year gulf as a stroll in the park. Cross your fingers that being on the fringe of our galaxy will give us the time we need to develop the strength of character that I hope would be necessary to be a valued member of a galactic community. It will start with sensible leadership, which seems pretty elusive at this point. Nice music.

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