Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What On Gliese 581 C Is That?

Just this month, scientists discovered a planet about twenty light years away that may have properties similar to those of Earth. It's about the same distance from its star, a red dwarf known as Gliese 581, and is about fifty percent larger than the Earth. Although it cannot be directly observed yet, some suspect it may provide conditions amenable to life.

If life does exist on the not-so-cleverly named Gliese 581 C, I hope the inhabitants of said planet also refer to their home as Gliese 581 C and not some other ridiculous name we'd all have to learn. And certainly they can't call the place the Gliese 581 C equivalent of "Earth" because that would be simply unacceptable. We've got to draw the line somewhere when it comes to planetary plagiarism.

At only twenty light years distant, this new planet would certainly have received some of our radio and television signals by now, which may explain why we haven't heard back from them. At this point in time, they would just be discovering "The Cosby Show" so if they like that, perhaps we'll receive some signals of their favorite sitcom in another twenty years, something with the exact same plot as "Gilligan's Island", maybe entitled "Lonita Ver Tubik". If this does occur, we would have to consider very seriously severing all contact with this newly discovered civilization.

Unless we develop some astonishing technology, our prospects of traveling to this new world anytime soon are absurdly remote. It's a shame, really, because whose curiosity isn't aroused by the thought of another life-bearing planet? Endless possibilities just beyond our grasp while questions abound. Not only questions of whether or not life exists there, but what kind of organisms? Is their life still in its infancy or has it advanced far ahead of our own? And do they have that same ridiculous superstition about spilling salt, the one where you have to toss it over your shoulder? How do these things get started, anyway?

For the moment, these are unanswerable questions, but if we've learned anything from science, it's that even some of the most elusive mysteries can be unraveled. I would not be shocked within the next few years to receive a message, intentional or otherwise, from a group of organized and intelligent creatures on that distant outpost called Gliese 581 C. But it had better be a polite message; otherwise, I'll find a way to send an endless loop of "Mandy" across the galaxy. How does that taste, aliens?


Post a Comment

<< Home