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!
That’s right, the building blocks of life have been found on Mars. Time will tell if these compounds are indigenous to Mars or if they came from meteorites. If it’s the former, that’s really exciting news. Still, even if there are organics on Mars, the environment is not well-suited to supporting those compounds.
To me, and I’m just spit-balling here, it seems increasingly likely that Mars used to be capable of supporting life but has since lost that ability with a thinning atmosphere that allows cosmic rays to penetrate and destroy organic compounds. Whether or not intelligent life existed, I don’t know. Maybe not. Regardless, it’s still fun to think about.
Mars features tangentially in my new novel The Azure Key. I’m hard at work on the second installment, but later this year I plan to put out the first in a related series that deals directly with the Red Planet. Mars has fascinated me since I was a child, when was convinced I would be an astronaut. The series I’m planning will use Mars as a setting but it will be very much character-driven. That said, I still want to explore possibilities such as organic compounds on Mars and the possibilities the Red Planet holds for the human race in the future. If you’re also interested in these kinds of questions, I’d encourage you to pick up my latest novel, The Corsair Uprising #1: The Azure Key.
Source: Discovery News. 12/16/14. Irene Klotz. http://news.discovery.com/space/wait-theres-more-curiosity-confirms-organics-on-mars-141216.htm?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=DNewsSocial
I recently came across the Webb Space Telescope on which NASA is currently working. When it’s launched in 2018, it will have 100x the power of the Hubble telescope, the telescope responsible for images like the one at right. It’s amazing how inspiring the photos from Hubble were and are and I can’t imagine what we’ll be able to see with the Webb Space Telescope. NASA is hoping to see the end of the universe, looking back through time to when the universe began. Heavy stuff.
The new telescope will be positioned about 1,000,000 miles from Earth, a little more than four times the distance to the moon. Being that far away, it will have capabilities that the Hubble doesn’t. There shouldn’t be any period of time when the Webb telescope wouldn’t be able to capture images. With that advantage, it should be able to get better images than the Hubble. What I’m hoping for is a closeup of an Earth-like planet in another solar system. NASA has already found thousands of other planets, but I think it will be different if people could see those planets clearly and up close. Images like the one above make me wonder just what’s out there. That’s why I choose to write science fiction novels. I choose a star out of that crowded picture and imagine intelligent life searching the stars as we do.
My upcoming science fiction series asks a lot of these same questions, and answers the question, “Are we alone in the universe?” with a resounding “NO!” It’s action-packed and sure to please fans of Space Operas, Space Westerns, and fans of movies like Blade Runner and Alien. Keep a lookout this December for the first of many in this new series.