A week ago, on July 23rd, NASA announced that its space telescope Kepler spotted the most similar planet to Earth that has ever been discovered. The planet, called Kepler-452b, is the first nearly Earth-size planet to be found in the habitable zone (the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet) of a star similar to our sun.
NASA can’t yet tell whether the planet is rocky like Earth, or has an atmosphere and water (since the Kepler telescope can’t spot water on planets in other solar systems) but it still is the closest match yet found.
There are various responses to the story, most are excited. Somehow when most humans are excited, we are worried. Not yet alarmed, since so far no signs of life have been found on this planet, and since it is way too far to be reachable (located 1,400 light years away from Earth).
But it is worrying since Kepler-452b has many similar features to Earth : about the same temperature, only 5% longer orbit (385 days), only 5% farther from its sun (Kepler-452) which is also similar to our sun (all the other Earth-sized planets that were found so far are orbiting stars that are cooler and smaller than our Sun), it is about 20% brighter and just 60% larger than Earth (planets of this size are more likely to be rocky and rocky planets have a larger probability to be habitable). In addition, it is 6 billion years old, about 1.5 billion older than Earth, so at least theoretically it had much time for life, even sentient, to develop.
Only the thought that there might be another planet even remotely similar to “our” horrible one…
But as it’s too soon to address Kepler-452b itself, we ask to focus on the responses to its finding.
Obviously most of them are the usual and expected astonishment from the “amazing” human brain, the same kind of brain that managed to land a man on the surface of the moon in 1969, but still doesn’t manage to protect and provide for its own children in 2015.
Humanity has skipped a few basic and, at least supposedly, simple stages such as nutritional security, hygiene security, domestic security, state security, equality (within the species), maintaining a just and fair global political system, and of course and most importantly stop tormenting every other form of life on this planet, and jumped to searching for life on others.
Some responses took things to the next step at least conceptually.
First, one of the options linked with finding a potentially habitable planet, is that humans would habitat it. Many pin their hopes on that option for several reasons, from overpopulation, pollution and climate change to adventurism and business opportunities of course (and as usual).
Obviously the idea is not at all new, but suggesting that humans must find another planet to habitat as a solution to their violence and destructiveness on this one, is one of the best examples of an absurd and cruel typical human thinking.
Second, many have responded with sarcastic comments over the notorious destruction potential of humans who would export it to another planet, in the spirit of ‘Oh great, another planet for mankind to destroy…’.
It goes to show that many people, which many of them are not only non-activists but are not even vegans, regard humans as mass producers of destruction.
All the more so when it comes to activists who, as we argued in our first post regarding the common responses of activists to the fact that unfortunately an asteroid didn’t wipe out the Earth on March 27th 2015, many of them say they would press the button that would wipe out Earth when asked the hypothetical question. The problem is that very few are willing to dedicate their lives to create such a button.
Absurdly the most caring humans in the world, those that devote their lives fighting for the most helpless beings in the most oppressive systems in the world, are passively waiting for a planetary scale miracle that would save the billions of victims per year, instead of actively looking for ways to bring it.
And third, continuing with the absurdities, a few activists are using reports such as the one discussed in this post about the possibility of life on other planets, as a reasoning why not to try to deal with the inherent problem of life on this one. We have addressed this excuse in one of our FAQ’s as it was claimed that humans mustn’t be annihilated, since if there is life on other planets, they are the only ones who can help them.
It is beyond us how activists who are so far off from saving animals on this planet, in which more animals endure more suffering every year, can seriously suggest that they can be the saviors of creatures from other planets.
Despite all likelihood this finding is a false alarm, at least in terms of a potential habitable planet for humans, as this specific planet is too far to be relevant, a closer planet, with similar features might be found someday and then our already extremely complicated mission would be multiplied. Don’t wait for that option to become a reality. Time is already our greatest enemy with one planet on our hands.