Friday, April 14, 2017

Back to Europa


ET experts at the space agency have been focused on exoplanets for several years. After the proclamation that ET would arrive by 2020, there have been increased activities on multiple fronts. It has been known for a while that both Europa (Jupiter’s moon) and Enceladus (Saturn’s moon) harbor vast oceans and energy sources underneath their barren surfaces. As exoplanets similar to the Earth began to show up across the Milky Way, the ET enthusiasts seem to have taken their eye off possible habitats in their neighborhood.

Now that the space agency has determined that the probability of contact of green men at an exoplanet by 2020, whether it is the “exact twin,” of mother Earth, is small, they are back on neighborhood prowl and that may be a good thing. If humans were ever going to make “contact,” it could only be with the micro-organisms in Europa or Enceladus. However, as the space agency, on a binge of crashing space probes through the pristine atmospheres of these moons, have to be careful not to contaminate the oceans in these habitats. Otherwise, they may just find Salmonella there and declare victory. The process of sterilization has not been good and it is unclear if any of the single cell organisms that hitched rides on spacecrafts, used in interplanetary missions, is setting up colonies  in those planets before the mighty human gets there.

More importantly, in spite of the somewhat suspect sterilization regimen, if the space agency fails to find life in Europa and Enceladus, one has to wonder what it means. So far, most ET hunters have argued that it does not mean anything, for there are trillions of possibilities out there. That is true, but there is no free lunch in the absence of infinite resources. If no Salmonella was found in Europa and Enceladus, it may be time to take a break from ET hunting and focus on more mundane things such as protecting the Earth from an asteroid impact.

Extra-terrestrials appear not have a great desire to make contact with humans and I wonder why?