“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ~Carl Sagan
For thousands upon thousands of years men have looked to the heavens in astonishment, wonder and fear. They have looked upon this firmament for answers and for hope, sometimes in belief; though often in question to their place in the universe. The heavenly sphere’s movements have been linked to Earthly events, human development of the psyche and to human personality through astrology. Gods have been named throughout history, represented by these very planets and stars, and we have countless tales throughout antiquity regarding the “sky-people.” Now, at the supposed height of our civilization, we are on the cusp of flattening the age old question of the existence of life other than that found on planet Earth. This is a grand sphere of curiosity, and so aptly named.
I was among the many who were awake at 1:30 in the morning here on the East coast of the U.S. early this morning. I watched the NASA feed stream live as they monitored the Curiosity rover as it neared the Red planet after eight months of flight through the blackness of space. A journey that spanned over 350 million miles. A truly astounding feat in itself, and an amazing accomplishment of human technology, ingenuity and drive. I could feel the excitement that all in the jet propulsion laboratory displayed upon the rover’s touchdown and when the first pictures were relayed from Odyssey. This mission, the first to search for biological evidence is perhaps more important than most people realize.
What if the fossilized evidence of life is found? What does this mean for humanity? Sure it answers a daunting question, but, I believe this finding may have the potential to do much more indeed.
If tomorrow or in the coming months the Mars Curiosity rover finds scientific evidence of life on Mars, this finding has the potential to turn theology and philosophy on its head. All of a sudden, many of our religious leaders will have to question the foundations of their faith and many religious texts would be restudied and scrutinized. Human thought will change overnight, consciousness will have to evolve to accept the truth.
Many may take the news with ease, and it may not bother their respective faith at all, but for those arrogant enough to believe that in a universe containing trillions and trillions of stars and planets that only life exists here, they will be in utter disbelief. Regardless, human culture must shift and rethink the beliefs or disbelief held for centuries.
We live on a tiny blue planet that is a mere spec in a solar system. Our solar system is a mere spec in a galaxy containing billions of stars. Our galaxy is a mere spec in a universe containing billions of other galaxies, solar systems, planets and stars. The existence of other life is a simple mathematical probability.. yet we still question it. Perhaps some have not evolved past a human centered universe.
In this sphere of curiosity I hope that we all find the answers that we seek. I hope then we can all begin to understand what a universe full of possible life truly means, and the vast amount of knowledge it can bring. We may then begin to loosen our ego and realize our true universal connection to all that exists.