Today, Astronomers announced their discovery of a new star system 22-million light-years from Earth that contains three planets which may support life. One of the scientists who discovered the planets stated that there is a “tremendous” chance of life being possible on one of these three planets which lie in a solar position that make the presence of water, and thus life possible on them.
These planets all exist in a “habitable zone” which is an area close, but not too close to a sun so as to promote water and life. Earth lies right in the sweet spot for this condition, but any planet in the range between Venus and Mars in distance is considered viable. This habitable range may seem generous, but in the vastness of space, this ~250-million kilometer gap is rarely filled. Numerous other conditions regarding a planet’s size, orbit, etc. must also be fulfilled for a planet to harbor living beings.
If life were to be found, it would no doubt be on one of these far-off, non-intractable planets. Furthermore, any life found would likely be the most basic bacteria, or maybe, if we got really lucky, some form of worm.
Bacteria can be found in active volcanoes, and at the peaks of mountains; it’s some pretty durable stuff. On Earth, it took these bacteria billions of years to mutate and evolve, and that was with the amazing good luck Earth provides in harnessing life. If life is found on some remote planet, it will be an exciting find, but hardly one that will change our lives. Instead, any bacteria found floating under some frozen lake in Space-quadrant 67x will teach the same message that the harsh-conditioned bacteria on earth have already taught us: that life can survive almost anywhere, but that doesn’t mean it will ever do much else.