X is for Xeno
Most scientists suspect that there is simple life elsewhere in the universe. And if we ever did find alien life, it would undoubtedly lead to more profound questioning of who and what we are. And while the intelligence communities of major countries continue investigations that began during World War II, and SETI research is catapulted by the generous endowment of Microsoft’s Paul Allen, the notion that life will be found on another planet, or is carbon-based, is seemingly passé. Scientists are now speculating that life is more likely to be a few cells rather than a gray Kate Moss look-alike, and currently places like Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn; Jupiter’s moon Europa; the watery icy poles of Mars; Saturn’s large moon, Titan; or Jupiter’s moon, lo, are en vogue. Scientists have also come to the possibility that life may just be found on the surface of a plasma star, or inside a comet or an interstellar dust cloud. Or, perhaps, even life exists at different scales, inside or between the interactions of subatomic particles where civilizations rise and fall in a nanosecond. Whether or not alien life is discovered in our lifetime, to suggest we are alone in the universe in today’s open social world would be purely egocentric. And whether or not you choose to believe that aliens are already here on Earth, serving as our evolutionary helpers since the ’70s, well, that’s up to you.