10 Years to Contact

I saw this headline today and wondered “How can they predict that?”
How can they be so certain that we’ll find extraterrestrial life, or strong evidence thereof at any rate, within the next 10 years?
Then I thought, actually, that sounds a lot like they already know,aliens and are just preparing the public for the shock. Maybe these ‘fast radio bursts’ they’ve been studying for the last 8 years are already definite evidence, and just don’t know how to explain it yet. It actually would be quite anticlimactic – “We’ve discovered an extraterrestrial intelligence, but they probably weren’t contacting us specifically, just sending out a message into space the same way we have, and they’re still hundreds of light years away. We can respond or not respond, but nobody alive today is ever going to see them.”
Maybe the Roswell crash, or one of the other famous encounter stories, is real, and they know that with the advances in social media – where anybody with reasonable hacking skills can get into government files – the truth is going to come out..
Then I actually read the article, which is inevitably a big mistake. Facts are so much less interesting than wild speculation. Although NASA scientists seem positive that there’s life out there, they were quick to add that we’re likely to find microbes or bacteria before we find anybody looking like Klingons or Bajorans.
On the one hand, killjoys.
On the other hand, that’s still pretty amazing. When we discover living organisms outside of the Earth,even single-celled, the chances of intelligent life outside of Earth zoom up from 50-50 to nearly a dead certainty.
I’m still pretty jazzed.

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One response to “10 Years to Contact

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