By Emmanuel Gutierrez |Features Editor|
Kepler 438b, an exoplanet dubbed an Earth twin, was announced at the American Astronomical Society on Jan. 6. The likely rocky planet, in the constellation of Lyra, orbits an orange dwarf star within “Goldilocks” proximity, according to guardian.com.
The Goldilocks zone is the habitable range a planet is from a star, bathing sunlight that is neither too hot nor too cold, but just right to sustain liquid water.
Scientists consider liquid water and rocky surfaces to be key signifiers of a habitable planet, according to guardian.com.
These factors may arouse notions that humanity may pursue human colonization on celestial bodies capable of sustaining life—or perhaps even the existence of extraterrestrial life prior to human intervention.
One hundred Coyotes were surveyed on their belief in extraterrestrial life: either microscopic, plant-based, complex—like animals, or beings capable of abstract thought—like humans.
Seventy-eight percent of students believe in extraterrestrials in at least one of the forms enumerated, according to the Coyote Chronicle survey.
“It’s kind of arrogant to think that we’re literally the only living things. The universe is too vast and unexplored to think otherwise,” said student Lizette Chapa.
Of those who believe in extraterrestrial life, 55.12 percent believe there are life forms with the capacity for abstract thought.
Essentially, we are welcoming the idea that life forms other than Homo sapiens and dolphins possess the brain power for cognitive thinking—comprehension and memory—the capacity for more than rudimentary problem solving, and even advanced external self-awareness.
Approximately 14 percent of extraterrestrial believers speculate humanity has yet to make contact, nor will ever interact with extraterrestrial life at any capacity.
“The universe is a virtual cluster of galaxies upon galaxies, and it is so old that entire civilizations of aliens may have existed at one point, but are now extinct by the time humans can make telescopes advanced enough to play peeping toms,” said student Susie Garcia.
Of the 100 surveyors, 19 marked a disbelief in extraterrestrial life—two students elaborated on their thoughts.
“If we can see it and we can prove it, then it is something worth believing,” stated an anonymous student, “but we haven’t.”
“God created only man,” stated the second student.
However, not all members of the Judeo-Christian faith expressed the same sentiments.
“I do believe in God and I would consider him an extraterrestrial life form because he is not of this world,” said student Dominic Montano.
“If there is extraterrestrial life, I would come back to believe that God created that life and stirred it into motion at some point,” added Montano.
To the relief of this writer, not a single negative remark was made about undocumented immigrants in the ongoing conversation of aliens—restoring an iota of his faith in humanity.
While we may never know for sure if humans are the only stargazers in the universe, astrobiologists, astronomers, and extraterrestrial enthusiasts will never stop searching—they’ll never stop gazing.
One anonymous comment resonated in my mind above all other hastily written statements with its candid, thought-provoking simplicity, “The universe is infinite; therefore there are infinite possibilities.”