Thursday, May 29, 2014

So, who's out there?

Astronomers are now estimating anywhere from 10 to 80 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way. That's just one galaxy.

SETI is now targeting listening efforts at good target worlds (although I do sometimes wonder if everyone's listening and nobody's talking). Given the sheer number of planets out there, the math says we probably aren't alone.

But what will it do to humanity if we do pick up a signal? We're not talking "first contact" here, but we're talking a profound philosophical shift. Science fiction readers and writers are more than ready for it, but what about those who still believe that humanity is the pinnacle of creation?

I don't worry as much as I did ten or even five years ago, but I still worry that we'll have...issues. You know, kool aid type issues and the like.

Even knowing for sure that they exist (and will we ever be able to prove they don't?) will change humanity. I hope for the better, but...yes, slightly cynical today. Hopeful and cynical at the same time.