I think I’m not that unique when I admit to pondering the question of life on other planets. My fascination started with Carl Sagan’s television program Cosmos. I have these on disc from beginning to end, and though they are severely dated in every conceivable way, including the science, I still find myself glued once the music starts.
Another thought that occupies my mind more frequently than I would like is how I wish I had many lives instead of just one. Being a nurse was a rewarding, intellectually-stimulating way to spend my career, and no doubt had a profound impact on some of my patient’s lives, but the idea of being an astronaut is very appealing as well. I think I would want it to be my fourth or fifth career though – so I could be at the place in the human epoch where we’re consistently traveling from planet to planet, star system to star system, and making such monumental discoveries as to change the course of all sciences, perhaps even math.
I actually believe that these musings will be reality some day. I’ve kept tabs on Curiosity since it landed in 2012. That there is now no pre-determined end to this mission makes it all the more interesting. So what if Curiosity finds something alive? What if she digs up something that indicates there was once life on the planet? Or what if, and I’m just throwing in some levity here, something else comes along and scoops up Curiosity?
While I appreciate there is much to contemplate right here on this planet, I am a strong believer in the problem of global warming (uh oh? There’s one of those controversial subjects.) and think that our salvation lies in the progress of space exploration (or some way to remove all the carbon we’ve shot into our atmosphere). Either way, I believe a reckoning looms over all of us, and I think I’ll live to see that day. Hopefully the governments and peoples of this planet will wake up, prioritize, and do what we can to solve this, and the many other issues that threaten our continued existence and perhaps that of the earth itself.
Whether you agree or disagree with me, I’m addicted to reading and watching programs about all this. Here are a few of my favorite sites: www.NASA.gov; http://www.pbs.org/topics/science-nature/astronomy/; Earthsky.org
Actually, anything on pbs.org is good viewing, especially Frontline.