TODAY IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN’S SPEECH TO THE NATION – THE SPACESHIP CHALLENGER DISASTER – JANUARY 28, 1986
This discovery comes two weeks after the stunning announcement of another planet orbiting another star at precisely the right distance — within the so-called “habitable zone” that is not too hot and not too cold — to allow for liquid water and therefore possible life.
Unfortunately, the planets of the right size are too close to their sun, and thus too scorching hot, to permit Earth-like life. And the Goldilocks planet in the habitable zone is too large.
At 2.4 times the size of Earth, it is likely gaseous, like Jupiter. No earthlings there. But it’s only a matter of time — perhaps a year or two, estimates one astronomer — before we find the right one of the right size in the right place.
And at just the right time. As the romance of manned space exploration has waned, the drive today is to find our living, thinking counterparts in the universe. For all the excitement, however, the search betrays a profound melancholy — a lonely species in a merciless universe anxiously awaits an answering voice amid utter silence.
That silence is maddening. Not just because it compounds our feeling of cosmic isolation. But because it makes no sense. As we inevitably find more and more exo-planets where intelligent life can exist, why have we found no evidence — no signals, no radio waves — that intelligent life does exist?
It’s called the Fermi Paradox, after the great physicist who once asked, “Where is everybody?” Or as was once elaborated: “All our logic, all our anti-isocentrism, assures us that we are not unique — that they must be there. And yet we do not see them.” (more…)