Fear not natives, we come in peace

Written by Bob on February 3rd, 2010


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YUCAIPA, CA – I’ve signed up to be cryogenically frozen. This sudden inspiration for preservation came about after I read, “Discovery of habitable world seen,” by Seth Borenstein of The Associated Press.

We are close – very close astronomers and scientists say – to discovering Earth-like planets where life exists, or could exist.

And I want to be the first photographer to climb aboard the inaugural spaceship that will jettison human life to such a planet.

The discovery of an "exoplanet" – those outside our solar system – could come about as soon as this year. And with the discovery, comes the realization that we are not alone.

In fact, Simon “Pete” Worden, an astronomer who heads NASA’s Ames Research Center, was quoted as such:

…“I would bet that we’re not alone – there is a lot of life.”

And some scientists also believe that planets like Earth are plentiful. But as with any technology, it will probably take years before travel to an exoplanet is possible. And I may have kicked the bucket by then. So that’s why I’ve decided to have my body preserved. I don’t want to miss the trip, and the opportunity to take some awesome photos.

But reading this article also raised some troubling questions:

Suppose a planet much like Earth were discovered. What nation, or nations would be the first to claim the planet as its own?

What if the U.S., China, and Russia, just to name a few, had the technology to zoom off in spacecraft to our newly discovered exoplanet like Thoroughbreds racing nose-to-nose to the finish line.

Would claiming rights be as simple as “first to arrive, first to claim?” Or would we diplomatically divide the planet up into equal parts? (Yah, right. Good luck with that.) Or would a World War erupt over the discovery?

What if the dire warnings of global warming come to pass, and millions of Earthlings are displaced from lands submerged by rising sea levels caused by melting glaciers? Will we load our displaced Earthlings on space ships and send them off to inhabit a strange, new planet?

What if a new life on a distant exoplanet surpasses anything we’ve experienced on old, worn out, planet Earth? Wouldn’t the rest of us clamor to leave as well?

And what if the exoplanet is already inhabited with intelligent life? Will we push aside our newly found friends – much as America did to our Native Americans – and claim the planet as rightfully ours in the name of God and the King (the king being any head of state).

I can see the first American expoplanet explorers landing and disembarking from their spacecraft, smiling at the “natives” and reaching out with friendly handshakes. And proclaiming to the awestruck natives as live audiences tune into Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC back on Earth:

“Fear not natives, we come in peace.”

Now, if our extraterrestrial friends buy into that line, I’ve got a fresh water lake the size of Rhode Island located in the Mojave Desert for sale where you can catch bass as big as alligators…

On second thought, I think I’ll pass on the cryogenics and the trip. Maybe we should leave the exoplanets and their inhabitants well enough alone. And perhaps for their own well being, the less they know of the human race, the better.

Click here to read, Discovery of habitable world seen

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