Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How Lucky We Are, Indeed

NASA held a press conference to announce that a small star designated TRAPPIST-1 about 40 light years away has seven terrestrial planets orbiting it with three well within the goldilocks zone and prime candidates for hosting life.

Take this quote from Carl Sagan:
How lucky we are to live in this time – the first moment in human history when we are, in fact, visiting other worlds. 
I consider myself fortunate to be a witness to human discoveries. I know things that people who came before did not know maybe never even dreamed of. Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto but I have seen the geological feature named after him. I have seen Pluto’s demise as a planet but may be around to see its replacement.

What makes me sad, though, is that I will not be around to see some other fantastic discoveries. While I am optimistic that one day humans will explore other worlds outside our solar system, I am not so optimistic that that I will be around to see it happen. Forty light years doesn’t seem far and at the same time, it is depressingly far. Even the nearest star system seems just beyond our reach.

When those new worlds come into view and when new life is discovered, I hope that our descendants will realize how lucky they are to be living in their time. Each generation gets to make their mark on history and I must remind myself that we don’t get to make all of them.


Sooo-this-is-me said...

Darn it David, you guys found the home planet, umm, umm, err what I mean to say is ugh... how exciting this discovery.... psst pssst come in mother ship!

Actually David great post, I often feel sad about the discoveries that I won't get to witness, just as we are really developing the equipment to do so. I doubt there would be intelligent beings on those planets but even if there were plants and animals what would they look like being not genetically related to anything on earth. Or even how exciting if life was almost exactly like here, that would mean life had some sort of blue print or equation. I just had a nerdgasm.

Damien said...

I love that we are seeing a Renaissance in discovery thanks to technology and our current computational ability.

This is so exciting. I pray we meet a race more like the Vulcans than the Romulans. Fingers x-d.