Keplar 438b is around the same size as Earth is and orbits a cooler star than the sun with a year of around 35 days. Temperature wise it is around the same as the Earth – which most importantly means that water, and in principle life could exist on it…. the down side? It is blasted with solar flares every now and then which would probably wipe any inhabitants out.
And before you get too excited, it also would presently take around 2 million years to travel to this place so it isn’t a reality for our generation to ever visit it. In fact we don’t really know all that much about it, but we know enough to know that if we could withstand the flares and actually reach the place we could live there. But this provokes a broader point in my mind, so while the question is answered the post is not done. Why is it so exciting to find new planets and do we need to?
The appeal of a new planet
I mean isn’t it obvious? It’s new! Why does a new text book sell for more than a second hand one?… the value is the information and that is the same in both. People like new things. The honeymoon period of a relationship is a great parallel for how humans tend to feel about new things… it is the same with Earth. The honeymoon period is over and people want to try something new. It is in the most literal sense a world of possibilities. We have in many ways messed this world up in so many ways; we have exploited the resources the world has, we kill each other over pathetic conflict and we war over borders we have defined ourselves. and don’t mean anything. A new possibility would mean we could reset the bad in theory and start a clean slate.
Of course this does beg the question of the ability of the human race to learn. Whilst on the one hand death is our greatest friend and allows us to make the most of our lives, through another lens it also makes us short sighted. People tend not to give a huge amount of concern to what will happen to the universe in 1000 years – it just does not seem relevant.
The death of the universe
We know with complete certainty that the universe will die.. it will collapse and all life trapped within it will end. In my earlier post I talked about how individuals struggle with death. How does an entire race come to terms with extinction? Our ancestors will have to come to terms with this and if nothing is done then life will cease to exist within this universe and that will quite simply be it. If we don’t do something the universe will reach the end of it predicted timeline and we will have to live in fear of extinction. I firmly believe that we live in a multiverse – a large suspension of may different universes, in which there are various universes all at different stages of life. If we want to avoid a gruesome end, then we can’t sit around thinking this stuff is science fiction – we have to expand the limits of human travel. We have to get on and do this and find a way to jump between universes to escape the dying one and move to the next.
To finalise I pose questions not answers. Is it right to seek eternal life? We already concluded in a previous post that death was a necessary and important part of life when it comes to a single human. Well perhaps the death of the universe is a necessary part of life? Is it right or wise to push further into the unknown when our own planet is in disarray? I don’t know the answer to these questions but am always interested to hear an opinion or two.