Extraterrestrial Life

Monday, April 16, 2012

As you can see, I’m writing this under considerable duress.

As a long-term fan of science fiction, I’ve come to expect that our first contact with extraterrestrials would be dramatic, large, exciting, quite possibly scary and maybe life- or species-threatening. At the very least, I was certain it would be newsworthy with the most profound philosophical implications.

Ah, but alas, The Media seems preoccupied with more important political and entertainment news. How sad.

As it turns out, a re-examination of 36 year old data sent back by NASA’s Viking robots is believed by credible scientists to confirm the existence of microscopic life on Mars – that life was discovered 36 years ago, and that we just didn’t realize it until now.

Holy, moly. The story of this discovery ran on MSNBC and in various other electronic and print media, and was then summarily relegated to the modern era’s version of lining bird cages and wrapping fish. Why wasn’t this a bigger story? Have we become so blasé that the discovery of extraterrestrial life is neither here nor there? Had a space craft landed on Pennsylvania Avenue, would the server inside the gourmet cupcakes truck greet the ship’s strange alien occupant with no more than a casual, “Hey, man.. whatever. What can I get you?” while other young professionals waiting in line continue, undistracted, checking their email, texting and tweeting friends about meaningless drivel?

So we’re not alone. Ho, hum. Did anyone really think we were? And you probably thought Marvin was just a figment of some artist’s imagination.

-wf

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