Television recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the original TV series Star Trek and those that know me well know that I am a Trekkie. I have been going to other galaxies, distant star systems, and planets to seek out new life forms via all the Trek spinoffs for over 50 years now and it’s been a fun adventure, as Spock would say “quite fascinating indeed”.
On the real side of science, scientists have now discovered some 3,500 planets orbiting other nearby stars which is ‘Star Trek’ technology coming to pass. They can even tell the size, density whether rocky or gas giant, and the atmospheric composition of these planets. When the TV series says ‘scan the area for an M class planet’, this is the information requested and now it’s a reality.
It should also be noted that in our Milky Way galaxy alone, there are over 200 billion stars. The known observable universe contains over two trillion galaxies. This means that there are most likely hundreds of billions of potentially habitable planets for life to form and evolve on. There is also a high number of red dwarf stars which have a much longer life span than our sun.
If you have an earthlike planet revolving around a red sun, the potential lifeforms on those planets would have over 100 billion years to evolve as opposed to the 5-10 billion years that we have here on our beautiful, blue world.
Granted, we are hundreds or even thousands of years from actual star travel as we need some major breakthroughs in technology to get there but it is an exciting proposition. If we are to go where no man has gone before, we will definitely need to bring a lot of food, water, oxygen, and some very groovy music to sustain us for the journey.
Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.