posted on Aug, 21 2007 @ 07:34 AM
On our planet, every nook and cranny teems with life. There are bacteria floating among the clouds; microorganisms living deep inside the earth; and
entire ecosystems that have evolved around the hellish, toxin-spewing vents in the ocean floor known as black smokers. And this life comes in an
astonishing -- literally unimaginable -- variety of shapes and forms. All the more astonishing when we realize that it is all based on the same type
of chemical blueprint, DNA.
Now there are those who believe that Earth is unique, the only place in the universe where life exists. I don't see that. I don't see one good
reason to believe that there's anything special about Earth, except of course that it's special to us.
Neither do I believe that life is rare in the rest of the universe. Observing the profligacy and ubiquity of it on our planet, I am encouraged to
believe that the universe is positively lousy with the stuff.
And given the multiplicity of forms it takes on Earth alone, I don't think we can even begin to guess at the variety that's out there. Boggleplex to
the power of infinity.
Walking, talking trees? Feathered tentacles? Come on, guys, take your imaginations out of the sandbox.
Imagine what a creature that lives in the methane fog of a gas giant must look like. Imagine what it takes to survive and thrive in the vacuum between
the stars. Think of what an advanced civilization evolving on the surface of a ball of rock, constantly being scoured by gamma-ray blasts from neutron
star collisions, might look like. Think of what might live on the satellite of a super-earth in the middle of a globular cluster, where the night sky
is a single sheet of light.
Impossible, you say? Life couldn't evolve under such conditions, you say? Well, maybe you're right. But I'm betting the other way -- and going on
current form, I reckon I'll win.
[edit on 21-8-2007 by Astyanax]