We’ll Find We’re Not Alone – a poem by Kate Rauner

 

Blacksmoker_in_Atlantic_Ocean

Hydrothermal vents are able to support extremophile bacteria on Earth and may also support life in other parts of the cosmos.

We will find we’re not alone,
The proof is at our finger tips.
We have the means, robotic craft
Extend our touch on epic trips.
We know where round the Sun to look,
Know how to search for traces.
Moons and planets wait for us,
Within our reach are many places.
No wormholes, warping space required,
No need for hyperdrives.
Technology is here today
To find unearthly lives.
With chemistries like ours – or strange,
Not likely grays or bug-eyed men,
Expected small, but bodies huge
Are not beyond imagining.
Mars only lost his oceans
A million years ago.
Solar winds stripped air away,
And with it, oceans go.
But liquid water blankets
Some moons of Jupiter.
Beneath their crusts of ice,
Hordes of life may stir.
To feed on broth by magma brewed
May be an easy strategy.
Get energy not from the Sun,
But twisted tides of gravity.
Ganymede,
Europa,
And Callisto,
Or methane lakes on Titan,
Life free from H2O.
Geysers may toss microbes high,
Bouquets to passing hands,
Till we can pierce a mile of ice
To meet them in their lands.
To find that life is commonplace
Will not diminish me,
But will expand my mind and soul
And all that I can be.

“I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years,” Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA, said at a public panel Tuesday in Washington. “We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.” latimes.com

That would be amazing, astounding, awesome… and that’s just the “a” words I can think of. Extraterrestrial life is discussed in many places, for example, solarsystem.nasa.gov , jpl.nasa.gov , or wikipedia extraterrestrial life

For me, even a real microbe will be better than all the movies put together – reality always trumps fantasy.

Will We Find Extraterrestrial Life by 2040?

1906 edition

From the novel “War of the Worlds”

At space.com, a reader-survey shows 89% believe alien life exists elsewhere in the universe.  Seth Shostak of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute thinks there’s a good chance we’ll find evidence of that in the next 25 years.  SETI Researchers have only listened for artificial signals from a few thousand star systems so far, but in 25 years they will have listened to a million systems.  “A million might be the right number to find something.”  Recent evidence of exoplanets helps fuel his optimism.  In addition to SETI’s listening programs, the search for life includes rovers on Mars and the possibility that space telescopes could detect oxygen or other signs of life in exoplanet atmospheres.

Ever since Frank Drake set up his famous speculative equation, the search for extraterrestrial life has been a quixotic project, always on the brink of going broke.  The search seems like such a long shot, yet it’s been too intriguing to abandon.

Would a confirmed, artificial signal – intelligence! – change anything?  Polls show many people already believe intelligent aliens have visited Earth; for example, a poll in 2012 found only 17% of Americans think aliens have definitely not visited Earth, and one in ten say they’ve seen a “UFO” (assumed to be of extraterrestrial origin).  People were even willing to speculate on which candidate in the last US Presidential election would handle an alien invasion better.  Maybe most people would greet news of an intelligent signal from far out in space with a shrug.  But it would send chills down my spine.

Life on Europa – a Poem

deep sea tube worms

Endlessly squashed by Jupiter’s mass

Tides in rocks that flow like glass,

Heat from the core bursts up through the floor

And mineral teas brew deep in the seas.

 viper fish

Sulfur and phosphates are only in traces

But rich with precursor acids and bases,

Organic foams that slither and roam

While transparent tubes trap colloidal foods. Continue reading