General Discussion Potentially Habitable Planet 'Just' 13 Million Light Years Away

Shawn Hopkins submitted a new blog post:

Potentially Habitable Planet 'Just' 13 Million Light Years Away

Everyone hopes that humanity will one day get its stuff together and start taking care of the only Earth we have, but, honestly, have you seen us? Most of us can barely make a decision on what to watch on Netflix.

It's understandable that there's an impulse to keep our options open, often expressed in science fiction about colonizing and terraforming other planets. Or at least to know that there might be somebody else out there so it doesn't feel so final if we screw it up.

So put Kapteyn b...
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The possibility that life once existed on Kapteyn b reminds me of one theory I've read once. Human civilization started 14,000 years ago in 12,000 B.C.

The universe is 13.8 BILLION years old. In the lifespan of the universe, humanity have only existed for a fraction of 0.00000101449 of the time. And we've only started looking into space for the past few hundred years.

There are possibilities that other civilizations have existed on other planets, advanced well beyond us and went extinct well before we came into existence. We missed each other in time.

When I first read about the theory, it sent shivers down my spine. Imagine the possibilities!


I think it's amazing that we have the instruments and talents to actually get to know these things, even if we can't put them into action just yet. Even if we could travel at the speed of light, it would take a thousand times the length of time it took for human civilization to build (as Leeroy above me laid out) to get there, so our distant descendants would have to be entrusted to keep to the mission of getting there--and if they're anything like us, they probably won't. A wormhole or a way to fold/"wrinkle" spacetime would be beyond amazing!

When it comes to whether or not we're alone in the universe, I go less for "Of course not, waste of space otherwise" and more for "Yes. More than we can bear." Because, yeah, another at least equally if not more advanced civilization on another planet? We could have just missed each other. Okay, there would have been a chance of war and alien invasion (where we're the aliens, even) and all that awful stuff, seeing how we treat even fellow Earthlings--but I'd like to believe that we're generally worthy of a fresh start or a new horizon or something.

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