By Shelt Garner
I’ve written about this some before, but given that we’re about to get our first imagines from the James Web Space Telescope today and tomorrow, I thought I would talk about it some more.
I noticed that the first exoplanet that the JWST is going to look at is a bigger planet that is highly unlikely to have life on it. I’m no expert, but it sounds like they picked such a planet instead of a more Earth-like planet because they wanted to calibrate their instruments before looking for a planet that might actually have life on it.
But if you really wanted to get paranoid about it, you might suggest that they avoided an Earth-like planet for a reason. They just aren’t prepared for the consequences of “soft” First Contact so early into the project and they want to make sure that when that event happens they’ve given it some thought. The great irony would be, of course, if they picked a planet that they didn’t think would have any signs of life on it, only to find signs of life on it.
I suspect if that was the case, however, there would be intense chatter about Something Big being announced soon. But, to date, that has not been the case. NASA is not exactly known for not leaking. Or, at least, I seriously doubt they would be able to keep Soft First Contact a secret if it happened.
Now, I am a strong believer in the idea that whenever there is “soft” First Contact it just won’t matter. The public’s interest in this momentous discovery won’t last a news cycle. The only way anyone is going to care is if Little Green Men land on the White House lawn.
Otherwise, it’s all a lulz.