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Stories that mattered in 2016: 2. Search for ET life more focused, less aimless conjecture


For example, Life on Mars: New focus on deciding where to look


The aliens went extinct before we found them— there, that’s the answer! But now, consider all the other theses about why the aliens, they never write, they never phone
Astrobiology is, as has been famously said, at present a discipline without a subject.

<em>Pillow</em> Case Pair Woodland Brown And, one would add, philosophy of science hobby where hidden theology rules, in the absence of evidence. You know the sort of thing: What kind of a God would/wouldn’t …? What warm pillows for an academic grantsman when we actually don’t know what is going on out there.

Either we can’t know about extraterrestrial life, in which case we should just forget about it. Or we can know and we should try to find out, Mars being the obvious choice. Or, if we choose not to try, we should quit making theological claims or assumptions about it.

An artist's drawing of one of NASA's Mars rover on the surface of MarsAs noted earlier, it doesn’t matter how many exoplanets “could host” life. If we find life on Mars, we’ll have some answers, and if we don’t we’ll face some hard but needed questions.

See also: Stories that mattered in 2016- 1: Royal Society Conference A religion or metaphysic like Darwinism cannot be disconfirmed. One just moves on from it because other approaches to knowledge prove more fruitful and interesting.

New brooms at NASA?

Rob Sheldon on science and the US election Sheldon: Tell your European colleagues not to flee America, but instead emigrate here, because there probably will be a lot of job openings available.

See also: Researchers: Life could only exist on Mars far beneath surface


Was life found on Mars 40 years ago?

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