In a recent panel discussion, NASA’s Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan predicted we would find evidence of alien life within a decade, followed by definitive proof within the next 20 to 30 years. I’ve talked about this previously, but it seems more and more respected scientists are coming out and talking about this. Now, I don’t believe NASA will find intelligent life within 20 to 30 years, but I can definitely see us finding microbes or vegetation of some kind.
However, there is one thing that I’ve been thinking about for a while now that bothers me. If we do find some form of alien life, in whatever form it happens to come in, how will that affect Science Fiction? Will our visions of the future be limited by what we know? Will the futures we write about be extrapolations of this ‘new’ world where knowledge of alien life exists already?
The premise behind a lot of Science Fiction is that alien life surfaces and most or all people don’t believe in it. If it starts being taken as a given that alien life exists, it will affect, necessarily, how authors write. If we do find alien life, there will surely be doubters, there will be new cults or religions formed, some may flee the religions that are currently out there while some others might flock to the religions to seek answers. There’s a number of ways this could go from a storytelling standpoint as well as from a ‘realistic’ standpoint. After watching the Batman V Superman trailer, it seems like Science Fiction is already changing to become more realistic given what we know.
Do you think we’ll find alien life? If so, in what form will we find it? How will the human race react? Has NASA lost it? Is Science Fiction doomed? So many questions! Leave your comments below!