Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Aliens and Angels, part 3

Recently, our space program sent another probe/ mission to Mars. The purpose of this mission is to discover whether or not there is or has ever been water on Mars. This, NASA believes, will help us to understand whether there has ever been life on Mars, or whether life may be sustainable there sometime in the future.

I have no problems with the space program. It is exceedingly interesting and often exciting to learn about space, planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, black holes, etc. I believe that we should learn as much about the world as we can. We should explore and experiment. We should study and learn. However, I do sense one great problem in this, and similar space expeditions.

We assume that there is a de facto connection between water and life. And, in fact, on earth that is true. Water is the one component that supports all life forms on earth. We no that if there is no water there is no life. But, it seems to me, that this is not necessarily so in all cases.
  • First of all, just because all the life forms that we are aware of require water, this does not mean that all life forms, even on earth, require water. It is possible that there are as yet undiscovered life forms that have no need for water. Not only that, it could be that there are some things that we assume are not life, but in reality are.
  • It could be that there are dimensions of life that are not discernible to humans. There could be "gasses" or vapors that are actually living beings.
  • We cannot assume that life on another planet must be confined to the limits we have on earth. If it takes water to have life on earth, we must realize that there may be entities that are living, but do not require water in other places.

It seems to me that we humans, particularly in the realm of science fiction, like to imagine alien life forms. However, our imaginations are puny in comparison to what we already know is real. We need to be able to imagine life in completely new and different ways. Then our explorations will be revolutionary, and productive.

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