One of the greatest things about being a science fiction fan today is enjoying the latest discoveries of our amazing planet hunting technology. For the first time in history we can find new worlds far outside of our solar system, light years away! Naturally we want to know if any of these new worlds are like ours; how close are we to finding a new earth?
Finding a new earth means finding a rocky planet with liquid water, a breathable atmosphere, potentially supporting life, perhaps even intelligent life. Such a find would give us the elusive answer to the biggest question of all: “are we alone in the universe?” As I write this, we have confirmed the existence of 3,453 exoplanets and 2,577 solar systems. The latest confirmed discovery is a solar system formed around a dwarf star called Trappist-1.
Trappist-1 has seven earth-sized planets in its solar system. That’s a new record! Even more exciting, three of the seven new planets are in the habitable “Goldilocks” zone (not too hot, not too cold). Someday we’ll be able to confirm whether any of these planets have oxygen rich atmospheres conducive to life. If we discover these new worlds are prime targets to visit and perhaps even colonize, how would we get there?
Traveling across the vast distances between star systems is routine in the worlds of science fiction. Star Trek and Star Wars have faster-than-light warp drives because traveling many times the speed of light is the only way to cover the mind-boggling distances between star systems in a reasonable amount of time.
For us to travel those kind of distances, we’ll either develop our own version of a warp drive, or perhaps evolve as a species to a point where we can travel across the reaches of space by using the power of our minds — projecting our consciousness across time and space: Humans 2.O! This is a concept I’ve mentioned before in another blog post, but it worth bringing up again. Because there is no limit to what we can achieve if we use the power of our imagination. One way or the other I believe our destiny lies in reaching the stars. We came from the stars and to the stars we will one day return!