It has been reported that NASA scientists, using data from the Kepler telescope, have discovered another potentially habitable planet outside of our solar system. The new planet has been named Kepler 452b and is, they say, “the closest twin to Earth – or the Earth 2.0 – that we’ve found so far in the dataset”.
The space agency and others have apparently analysed four years’ worth of data and announced the new exoplanet along with twelve possible “habitable” other exoplanets and 500 new candidates in total. Searching the stars makes for exciting science but the hunt for extraterrestrial life rather suggests that we should be careful what we wish for. What if Earth version 2.0 turns out to be the much the same as the original?
Let’s just hope that the new planet is populated by, say, a nice race of Boovs and not their humanoid counterparts: let’s face it, we haven’t really done a top notch job here have we? As a supposedly enlightened species we have committed genocide, allowed children to go hungry and many hundreds of other species to die out, fought pointless wars for trivial reasons and permitted second rate individuals to become our UK leaders and do their level best – for idealogical reasons – to shatter the composure of the Union. It couldn’t really get worse could it?
Perish the thought that we should eventually send a manned space probe to these outer limits only to find that alien spacecraft are banned because of worries about pollution and climate change. Or, if our intrepid pioneers are allowed to land, they discovered that they have to undergo hours of travel delays because of terrorist concerns because Earth v2.0’s leaders were too slow, gutless and wishy-washy to nip the problem in the bud.
Wouldn’t it be nice though if instead we got there and found that rip-off fuel prices (the UK is the most expensive in Europe and diesel elsewhere is often cheaper than petrol) were forbidden and that supermarkets and Utilities were banned from pricing goods and services by obfuscating and devious means under the guise of a ‘good deal’? The explorers would find that the planet’s natural resources are exploited in the most eco-friendly, cost effective way and that honesty and fairness prevailed over greed. For starters though, it would be insulting to then call the new planet Earth v2.0 and anyway, sadly, it’s all just science fiction.