by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note: Arguably the most important and influential science fiction novel ever written was “The War of the Worlds” by H. G. Wells in 1898. It made palpable, frightening, believable the horrifying possibility that we are not alone and that what creatures descend on us could mean catastrophe for each and every one of us, our entire species and every manifestation of who we are, where we came from, what we’ve done, and even what happened to us thereafter and our pitiable inadequacies, best passing into oblivion rather than remembering, much less celebrating them in any way.
As if this book was not unsettling enough, the astonishing genius of Orson Wells (1915- 1985) made it worse. In 1938 this visionary, this enfant terriible, this man of audacity as boundless as space itself, scared the bejesus out of America with a fictional tale designed to look completely real, as if the events portrayed in New Jersey could have been taking place in any town, any state. Despite the fact that frequent announcements were made that the whole was merely a radio play (albeit the most famous ever broadcast) vast numbers of people believed, ardently, fervently, and with unwavering commitment. Yes, whatever disclaimers were made, these folks knew in their bones that what they heard was the God’s honest truth; not just that it might happen. But that it would happen. And we passengers on Spaceship Earth have lived with this deep-seated belief ever since.
Most of us put the matter out of our mind and daily life. Living creatures out there there might be, but not in our time. And so general belief in the existence of “something” was dropped to the lowest possible echelon of public concern, anxiety, and fear.
But now, in a development of the utmost importance, the comfort level of our species and its planetary lotus-eating has received a shock, a very great shock indeed… for we are now closer than ever before to not merely the philosophical supposition that we inhabit inter-galactic space with others… but the distinct and real possibility that that joint habitation is so.
And so I give you as the incidental music for this article, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto Number 1. This was the opening music for the Mercury Theatre on the Air, October 30, 1938 when the future we most dreaded and had always expected descended on Grover’s Mill, New Jersey and the genus homo sapiens went irrevocably from master to minion…
Only one thing is different from that evening in October, 1938 and the astonishing discoveries announced by NASA December 21, 2011. And that is the fact that this time there will be no periodic announcements that what you are experiencing is fiction.
Here are the facts as they stand today… facts which every concerned man and woman on this planet owe to themselves to understand and to think deeply, profoundly about.
NASA and its Kepler mission searches the planets circling other stars, by analyzing more than 150,000 stars near the Cygnus and Lyra constellations. Kepler measures the size and orbit of distant planets by watching for a tell-tale dimming in a star’s brightness as a planet crosses in front of the star.
In early December, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-22b, a planet 2.4 times the size of Earth that orbits a star in a habitable zone that could support liquid water, and perhaps life.
Then on December 21 NASA announced the discoveries of Kepler -20e and Kepler -20f, two rocky planets, one Earth-sized and one slightly smaller. This was important and would have been even more important had both these rocky entities not had surface temperatures of 800 degrees, whereas Earth’s average temperature is around 59 degrees. If… if… if either of these planets had had temperatures like Earth’s, what then? Closer and closer to what scientists are aiming for: life forms, not just rocks and cosmic debris. But the tantalizing “if” that drives scientists early and late was closer than it had ever been, no longer merely possible, but distinctly plausible. And so humanity makes quantum leaps to… what?
And it is this “what” that matters above all else… for humanity must be ready, as ready as possible, should we encounter, in any way, personages of different planets and stars, different in as many ways as we may imagine now… and in ways we have not even dreamt of. And for this, I advance the following recommendations, which I first address to the President of the United States, the responsible government authorities of the Great Republic, each and every presidential candidate, and to all the great executives of all other nations, for perforce we are all of us in this together.
ALL aspects of this unique, historic and portentous intersection must be given increased recognition, funding and priority, for no other single action, event or deed in human events has had the unfathomable significance of this matter.
So, here’s what these officials and authorities must do, and do with dispatch:
1) Establish a department of state where all matters pertaining to this epochal rendezvous can be deposited, easily accessed, augmented, corrected, reviewed.
2) Important subjects to be reviewed and kept up to date must include all information, howsoever improbable and unlikely the source. This must include but not be limited to archeological data, historic artifacts, letters, diaries, commentaries on the general subject of denizens of the universe and how they may have made themselves known over time. Nothing should be regarded as beside the point, beneath academic interest, or responsible review. We must always be knowledgeable and humble about what we know on this crucial subject.
3) As a matter of course, aspects of inter-galactic search, contact, and consequences must include defense data, medical knowledge and necessities, as well as the body composition and genetics of our newly discovered neighbors.
More organizing, still better preparedness.
Members of the designated department must brainstorm all subjects, no matter how obscure, relating to this most significant meeting in history. These questions must be conceived, then considered for policy implications, etc.
The great role of the Great Republic.
You don’t need to be a political scientist to realize America’s once high reputation has fallen in recent years to a distressing, even humiliating level. This hurts, disappoints, and angers all well-meaning citizens who love this nation. It is time for America to reassert itself as that shining city on a hill, extolled by the first Pilgrims of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Never could America so help the world as being at the service of humanity through the preparation, protection, and pro bono work that will need to be done, done meticulously and done as soon as possible.
This work at once begun, can never be stopped, disregarded, dismissed, or left undone. You see the scientists at the new planet discovering Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and all the other scientists at our most prestigious institutions will not stop their seismic work; they mean to make the crucial discoveries of life, if it be humanly possible. And we and our human institutions worldwide must adhere to the same high standards, for make no mistake about it; nothing less than the future of our species and our planet are at stake. And we must be prepared, or accept the potential obliteration of every sign, signal, and artifact of the place in the universe we forfeited when we had every opportunity to save ourselves, our cosmic foothold, and our self respect.
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today. Details at worldprofit.com