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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Friday, September 19, 2003

 

Interstellar environmentalism
NASA has recently made what I think is the first of many silly decisions made for environmental reasons in outer space. They are purposefully crashing Galileo into Jupiter to avoid a collision with Europa, Jupiter's moon, to protect any life or potential life that may be there*.

This seems downright silly to me. Quite frankly, dumping whatever Terran bacteria may be hanging out on Galileo would give Europa a much better shot at ever developing life on its own, if that's the goal (it's not). Even the most hardened supporter of evolution has to admit that the chances of such a thing happening--even under the best of circumstances--are slim to none. And lightning doesn't strike the same... er, solar system twice. And beyond that, the chances of Galileo coming down on any particularly crucial spot is likewise astronomical.

And is this going to set a precedent? When we start colonizing planets, is Europa going to be off limits as some sort of lunar nature preserve? From what I gather, it might be one of the best places to colonize, so that would be dumb.

And lastly, if Europa does, hypothetically, develop life, wouldn't it be way cool if they had an alien artifact there?

UPDATE: Just after posting, I realized how cool it would be if the US could tack another record onto it's list--"First Nation to Be Responsible for Creation of a New Lifeform." Perhaps they would be grateful to us, and ally with us--maybe our new motto should be "It's not unilateral if we grow our own allies." Then again, they'd probably be ungrateful, just like France. It is called "Europa," after all.

*And, no, the irony of a government program going to so much trouble to avoid damaging "potential life" is not lost on me.


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