Earth 2.0

Scorpius, the next potential frontier. These are the musings of a skeptical blogger. My lifetime mission: to find out if our scientists are onto something while exploring new worlds before either man or the sun totally destroys our planet, to boldly go wherever…

Okay, enough kidding around and apologies to Captain Kirk and Star Trek. On a serious note, a team of astronomers have discovered at least three potentially habitable planets orbiting around a sun known as Gliese 667C in the constellation Scorpius.This system is about 22 light years away from earth.

To put that in context, one light year is equivalent to 9460730472580.8 kilometers. That’s a pretty long number. And it would take many thousands of years to get there, travelling at our current best speeds.

So why are we ploughing resources, time and money bothering about something so far away, which we could never possibly reach… at the moment?

It’s simple. The earth is not going to be around forever. I have news for those of you who believe that the earth was created by some super-duper, infallible being: accept that his or her or its’ creation is screwed up. We need to hop off this rock at some stage and find somewhere new to continue the human species. And assuming you’re also decent human beings, you’d want to take a representative sample of all the other living species along with you… or maybe not; that may not be so wise.

The work scientists do today, will contribute to future generations finding the means to get there faster – we hope.

And another thing. It means the chance to start life afresh – without the ills that plague us currently, like politicians and clerics. Especially politicians and clerics. I’d like to think that some day, my descendants could have the opportunity to live life without these vermin.

So I’m all for it, if only for that.

Antimatter does matter

Antimatter used to be the stuff of science fiction; that’s the stuff that powered the starship Enterprise on Star Trek. These days however, our brilliant scientists have not only actually created antimatter, just recently they have achieved the stupendous feat of capturing it long enough to study it.

Scientists, led by Professor Jeffrey Hangst at the CERN laboratory in Europe announced that they have managed to capture 38 antihydrogen atoms for a tenth of a second, in a specially designed magnetic trap. To non-physicists that may not sound very impressive, but to these guys at CERN, 38 atoms is an astronomical figure, and a tenth of a second is an eternity.

While the scientists at CERN are jumping hoops, what does this latest breakthrough represent to the ordinary man in the street? Apparently not much to those who are religiously inclined, or just plain ignorant it seems. A quick browse through various websites announcing the news indicates the usual antipathy, incredulity and indifference one has come to expect of humans who are too absorbed in their own little worlds.

However, there are a good number of people who understand the importance of this research, and who are hopeful that it could lead us to understand the nature and origins of the universe. These people know and understand that such research enables scientists to uncover secrets that lead to complex technological creations that revolutionizes the way we live.

Others of course, will continue to question the vast expenditure and use of resources that are necessary for such endeavours. Yet others will feel threatened that man is venturing into areas that are best left to their vengeful, spiteful, domineering gods.

The latter do not matter; antimatter matters…