Because Congress surely needs a break from the unimportant stuff…
Witnesses from Nasa and MIT suggest to House committee that scientists may be on verge of breakthrough in search for aliens.
A House committee convened on Wednesday to take up an abiding mystery of the universe: are we Earthlings alone? After about 90 minutes of testimony, committee chair Lamar Smith of Texas gaveled the hearing to an inconclusive close.
It was not, however, a fruitless outing. In impassioned testimony, witnesses from Nasa, MIT and the Library of Congress described a crossroads in the search for life out there and suggested scientists may be on the verge of a breakthrough.
“This is the first time in human history we have the technological reach to cross the threshold,” said Dr Sara Seager, an MIT professor and 2013 MacArthur “genius grant” recipient. Her work focuses on the detection of “biosignature” gases on distant planets, large volumes of which might indicate life, whether intelligent life or single-cell bacteria.
AHA, notice the bait-and-switch. For shame! Media pulls this crap a lot when they talk about “alien life”. The scientists are talking reasonable assumptions – bacteria and finding biological traces through testing. The non-scientists are extrapolating to extraterrestrials and intelligent beings in UFOs. These are two COMPLETELY different discussions.
It’s reasonable to say “yes” to the question “is there life out there?” but unreasonable to ask if there is “intelligent” life out there (whatever that means, unless you think bacteria should be classified as ‘smart’).
So watch these stories carefully. Scientists are desperate for funding their projects to do good, solid, astrobiology, but are not asking to search for little grey men. Don’t throw the good programs out with the pseudoscience.