It was a machine like a jade green insect, a praying mantis, delicately rushing through the cold air…
Ray Bradbury, acclaimed Science Fiction writer, describes this encounter is his book Martian Chronicles. It was a vision of wanting to know what life would be like in other worlds. Humans have been wondering about this probably since the start of their existence, or at least when they discovered there were other planets like ours.
In an effort to bring clarity, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, known as NASA, has stated the first encounter with extraterrestrial life will not look anything like what literature, film, and our collective imagination has long believed.
The arts have long fantasized what human-alien contact would be like. But science suggests a very different situation than what has been shown in Star Wars, Star Trek, Super 8, E.T., Stranger Things, or The Simpsons.
According to the governmental entity’s Chief Scientist, Ellen Stofan, the first extraterrestrial encounter would not be at all like what media has captured or portrayed.
“A lot of people have a conception that, when we’re talking about searching for life beyond Earth, that we’re really looking for E.T. or looking a little green man. In reality when we’re talking about finding life on the surface of Mars, maybe in the oceans of Jupiter’s moons…”
When speaking about the existence of life on other planets, the idea is focused on oceans and rivers because that’s where they’re most likely to find microbial organisms. These simple forms of life are just some of the possibilities that scientists are trying to find. Actually, to find bacteria or microbes would make any mission successful and a historic breakthrough.
“In its beginnings life of Earth was made up of one-celled organisms that then evolved into multi-celled beings. Life stayed like that, in this simple form on the Earth, for over a billion years.”
When we think of how long a year feels like, we can barely even imagine a hundred million would be like. Complex forms of life such as mammals, fish, and, of course, humans, develop over a long period of time.
When scientists look for these life forms in our neighboring planets in the Solar System, which might not appear as interesting to the general public as finding an alien race full of superpowers and extravagant appearance, they are seeking to answer some of the greatest questions of nature. On the day when they are able to find life on other planets, researchers will be able to start understanding cellular composition and how it occurs. They’ll be able to see if these beings have DNA or are made out of some other basic biological code. Maybe through understanding the basics of life in other planets, they’ll be able to finish the puzzle of how life came to be on Earth.
These extraterrestrial beings could be seen only through a microscope for their study. So, next time that a dinner table debate gets out of hand, due to someone believing Science Fiction literature is documentarian, you can answer or just smile to yourself knowing that real alien life is not monstrous, but still groundbreaking.
Referencia: Business Insider
Translated by María Suárez