It was 260 A.C when the Greek astronomer Aristarco, said that Earth turn around the Sun, but the majority of people could not believe that the Earth could move. After him Nicolo Copernico sustained this theory that was confirmed by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Only in 1728, almost 2000 years later the thesis of the Greek scientist was experimentally proofed.
Today according to Dr. Jim Green, finding extraterrestrial life would be compared to the revolutionary discovery of heliocentrism, the theory which postulated that the Earth along with the other bodies within the solar system, spun around the Sun and not the other way. The scientist believes a similar effect will take place in today’s society with the “start of a whole new line of thinking”. But is that such a bad thing? He is worried that we are very close to confirming such notion and announcements of the discovery of extraterrestrial life is not far away.
A planned expedition is set to take place on March 2021 on Mars by NASA along with the European
Space Agency (ESA). Dr. Green stated that the mission which consists of two rovers could find life within months after arriving. The twin rovers referred to as “Rosalind,” in tribute to British chemist Rosalind Franklin, will dig 6.5 feet tunnels int0 Mars’ core in search of extraterrestrial life. Samples will then be taken from ExoMars Rover and will then be crushed and examined in a mobile lab.
After drilling into the surface of Mars rock formations, test tube samples will be fled back to Earth becoming the first time materials from Mars will have been bought into. Dr. Green believes that the discovery will not answer any questions but will rather create many more ironically. This includes whether life will be able to move between planets and will they be able to survive on Earth. Just at the start of the year, scientists discovered that there is a possibility that a vast and active water system lies beneath Mars’ surface. Also, a study released just this month revealed that the planet Venus may have been home to extraterrestrial lifeforms two to three billion years ago before its atmosphere became inhabitable, hot and dense seven hundred million years ago.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is worried that the world might not be ready for the discovery of extraterrestrial life, that such a discovery could have “revolutionary” implications on society. They are reportedly close to finding life on the planet Mars but the chief scientist is afraid that such findings might be too much to handle for the world.
Could NASA be correct that the discovery of intelligence life would make everybody just go bonkers?
Let’s imagine, the situation hasn’t gone full “alien invasion” and malevolent starships aren’t sailing toward Earth, but rather we have read news of a definitive discovery of extraterrestrial life. How might we react then?
Here are some considerations of what guides possible reactions to such discoveries.
Our brains are wired with ancient circuits to defend us against predators. As we navigate through the world, experience can also shape what we come to accept or to fear and how open we are to novelty. Neuroscientists think the results might been very different around the world.
Societies that are much less open and more xenophobic and so on, they might perceive [finding extraterrestrial life] as much more negative and unsettling experience suggests Israel Liberzon, a professor of psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan.
Culture may be a strong determinant of how we respond to novelty says Cornelius Gross, a neuroscientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory–Rome who studies the neural circuitry of fear “People came to America because they were novelty seekers, so we’ve selected for [that] and then continued to foster novelty seeking and place it very high on our list.”
Personal religious beliefs could play a powerful role in shaping their reaction to learning that humanity is in fact not as universally special as many traditions hold.
Movies. How we respond to such a situation can even be influenced by something as small as which extraterrestrial invasion movies we have seen or science fiction books they have read. Gross says, If you see a lot of “UFO-type movies and the aliens are always ‘good’ in the end usually, then you might think that that stuff’s going to affect your [brain’s] prefrontal cortex,” “And you’re going to adjust your responses to future novel [experiences].”
Context is the key. Individually or collectively, human beings will respond very differently to observing a lion at a zoo versus coming across one in the African savanna, just as we would when reading about an alien in a science fiction novel versus actually meeting one.
If scientists discover something out of this world, literally, but also in the sense that we can’t compare it with anything we know, it seems futile, even silly, to make predictions about how humanity would react. We would probably first try to understand it, a reaction that can be interpreted as yet another ancient, evolutionarily sculpted defense system aimed at gaining control of a novel situation. There would probably be some positive responses and some negative ones, but they will all be based on the human need to control their environment and make sure things are not threatening to them.
In the end, when we think about what forms life may take elsewhere, we’re really limited by the fact that we only know about what life has evolved to look like here.
The possibility is that the more extraordinary the discovery is, the more excited people will be.