With our recent global climate the idea that we may have made irreparable damage to earth grows increasingly apparent. Minds much smarter than my own have been running scenarios and algorithms and while I am not saying that we should give up on our current planet and let each other destroy it, I think we do need a backup plan. Worst case scenario the earth is uninhabitable in a few hundred years. What then? The idea that civilization could continue on another planet has been the topic of pop-culture for decades. However, what started in the fantasy sci-fi genre has moved more into scientific documentaries.

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Two weeks ago scientists discovered phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus this discovery provides potential evidence of life outside of our planet. While I don’t totally buy into the whole green aliens who abduct humans; I am more intrigued by the possibility of humans finding a viable planet outside of earth to inhabit. The discovery of phosphine gas is particularly interesting due to the nature of that gas. The only known source of that gas on earth is non-oxygen breathing microbial life forms. Does this new discovery imply an early evolution of life on other planets? For years, decades and centuries humans have been fascinated in space colonization. We saw after the cold war the great Space Race between the US and Russia. This idea of colonization and expansion is a motivator for many societies. It’s always fascinated me how this type of end goal can allow countries to put aside their differences for a greater goal and greater good. Space exploration literally brought an end to the cold war which could have turned catastrophically deadly had it not been for this common goal of societal growth as it relates to technological advancement.

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The idea that this phosphine gas was discovered on Venus allows one to assume that something had to have produced this gas and as we know the only known producer of phosphine gas is microbial life forms. One theory which hoped to debunk this discovery was the idea that an earth skimming asteroid could have transported the gas from earth’s atmosphere to Venus as we’ve seen happen in similar anomalies before. My question would be, if we can accept the fact that the phosphine gas traveled from Earth to Venus why is the idea that an Earth skimming asteroid couldn’t have also brought microbial life forms along the same trip? And if you’re immediately thinking that there is no way they could have survived the trip. These organisms that produce this gas are non-oxygen breathing life-forms which are found in extreme atmospheric conditions which in most ways are similar to space.

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While these discoveries are significant in their own right, I am more interested in the type of hope they instill. These small discoveries justify the continued support that NASA receives and the potential that one day future generations might find space colonization a little more plausible. Don’t get me wrong it is highly unlikely that Venus will be our next stomping ground and that we will all pack up and move there. But perhaps there is an earth 2.0 out there which will ensure the survival of the human race. And while I might not be the one actively looking for it I trust that there are great people up to the task and this discovery proves that they will get it done. 

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