Search For A New Earth Should Be Top Priority
An Australian astronomer has called for the reshuffling of priorities in astronomy; in which searching for habitable exo-planets is top of the list. Understanding which planets could be habitable for humans and other species of Earth is something thought to be of high importance by futurists and many men and women of science.
Earth has served us very well so far, but it is about time we start to expand our horizons. Some say, what does it matter if we don’t visit other planets and settle and live? In response to that: what would it have mattered if we didn’t explore the rest of the world like Columbus did in the 1400’s?
We aren’t doing such a good job of looking after our one and only organic space ship, so far. There are no replacements, no second chances, all of our eggs are in one basket. What if the sail tears? That would be us ruining the atmosphere, runaway greenhouse effect. What if it starts to rust and get a bit holey? That would be runaway nanotech - very sci-fi, I know. What if we’re hit by a tidal wave? That is to say, what if we are fried by a very intense gamma ray from a pulsar across the galaxy.
We need a second chance, just in case it goes horribly wrong. This is where exo-planet discovery comes in as the holy grail of astronomy. Programs such as the Kepler Telescope are at the forefront of this area and are hoped to discover more Earth-like planets, so we can move onto the next step: sending an interstellar probe to explore it.
(Image credit; NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech))