I just read three articles which all paint a very different picture of space exploration.
The first was about the first color photos, and most detailed color photos yet, of Pluto. My first impression is that since Pluto has a moon, it deserves to be called a planet, even if it is small. My second impression was that, even though these are the best photos yet, they are still just a blurry little blotch of color.
The second article was about the discovery of an extremely distant exoplanet, at 13,000 light years away. I don’t know if it is the most distant exoplanet ever discovered, but it is among the most distant.
Of course, one wonders if the photos of Pluto are so grainy, and that’s still in our own solar system, how do we see an exoplanet 13,000 light years away at all. Well, we don’t. They infer its existence through the changes in light from its sun.
Then the third article, which was an extremely defeatist and negative piece saying that since we have examined 100,000 other solar systems or so, and haven’t heard any radio signals saying “Hey, we’re here! We’d like to make contact. We really enjoyed that ‘I Love Lucy’ show,” we should just give it up and admit that we’re alone in the universe.
We will never give up. It would be totally against human nature to give up. A thousand years from now, after we’ve established cities on Mars and turned the asteroid belt into a giant beltway around the sun, after we’ve launched Stanford Torus ark ships to hundreds of other star systems, if we still haven’t found anybody else, we will still be looking.
Because you never really stop looking for something until you find it.