Talking to “Them”

A team of scientists of the California University have claimed to have received unusual and rare cosmic radio wave bursts coming from a dwarf galaxy some three billion light years away from the Earth. There is speculation whether these waves were sent by some extra-terrestrials. As light moves at the velocity of 1,86,282 miles per second (and Einstein has put a permanent ban on anything in the Universe moving at a velocity higher than that of life) finding the actual distance of this dwarf galaxy in miles (or kilometres) will be a mind-boggling exercise. This means that the mysterious radio waves have taken three billion years to reach the Earth and if the Earthlings wish to send a reply, it will take another three billion years to reach those who sent them. Communication or conversation between us and ‘them’ will therefore be impossible. The finding of the radio waves may be a matter of great excitement for exobiologists (exobiology is the science dealing with extraterrestrial life) but for ordinary men it is hardly a matter of interest.

Some scientists like Prof Stephen Hawking have been warning repeatedly that the Earth is going to be uninhabitable for man in near future for a host of reasons. Therefore if the species called homo sapiens has to survive it has to migrate to and colonize some other habitable planet whose atmosphere is similar to that of the Earth. The proposition sounds logical and optimistic. But the problem is the immense distance that has to be covered, the time it will take and the enormous quantity of fuel such a spacecraft has to carry to cover the distance in addition to the human load. Astronomers claim that the nearest planet outside our solar system which may have an Earth-like atmosphere is orbiting the star Proxima Centauri. Its distance is 40.14 trillion kms (one trillion is a hundred crore). A good theme for a best-selling sci-fi but useless as a practical proposition. Talking to ‘them’ or going ‘there’ leaving Mother Earth behind for good, will always remain just that – the theme of a sci-fi.

All that is within the realm of possibility in an unknown and distant future is the scientific confirmation that life – and intelligent beings – exist outside the Earth. But Man is destined ever to remain Earth-bound. His existence on Earth has a finite time-limit. Beyond it, he will be extinct as a species. He will be able neither to talk to ‘others’ nor go somewhere ‘out there’ and live, whatever Stephen Hawking may conjure up – for himself and the gullible.

Monday, 9 January, 2017