Mike Wall has an interesting piece this week on how humans might avoid the fate of the dinosaurs. In the last ten years alone, asteroid detection has radically improved. So too, have our hypothetical solutions. As our universe is still a blind billiards game of asteroids, Trojans, and extinct comets wheeling about, it is with some relief that the subject has advanced beyond the Armageddon/Deep Impact solutions (which, by the way, wouldn’t work.)
And on the note of extraterrestrial invaders, the White House this week released a statement about those creepy coverups, like the crash at Roswell, the extraterrestrial being held at Area 51, and whatever research has gone at Hangar 18 (cue the Megadeth riff.)
Responding to two different petitions, signed by thousands of people, on Monday Phil Larson from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy stated:
“The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.”
What’s noteworthy is the wording on the petitions. One of them says the following (the bold is from me):
“Opinion polls now indicate more than 50 percent of the American people believe there is an extraterrestrial presence and more than 80 percent believe the government is not telling the truth about this phenomenon. The people have a right to know. The people can handle the truth.”
Data, or the lack of it, is not predicated on pure democracy.
Of course, in a staggeringly huge universe, life may well have developed elsewhere. To me, the question has never really been, “Do you think extraterrestrial life might exist.” That it happened once suggests that under the correct conditions, life is a byproduct of the universe. Instead, the real question has been, “Do you think that extraterrestrials have braved interstellar distances to cruise around in Earthly skies while occasionally crashing their ships.” Another question is how, in an age when everyone has a camera, there aren’t reams of photographic evidence.
Yet my favorite question is how an alien creature, evolving on an alien world, would somehow end up looking like this:
and not something, well, less anthropomorphic. Like maybe this: