President Trump announced the Pentagon will start creating a "Space Force" equal to that of the U.S. military.
President Trump expressed a desire to establish "dominance" in space, and not fall behind other countries like China. [CBS News]
WHY IT MATTERS
Discussing the possibility of extraterrestrial life can be a polarizing topic of conversation in America.
The United States can be viewed as one of the most backward countries in the world when it comes to alien exploration. Belgium, France, the U.K., and South American countries (like Chile) can be seen as more open and willing to discuss the topic. [Newsweek]
“Our scientists are scared of being ostracized, and our media is scared of the stigma..."
-Robert Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace
Indicators of life
In 2015, NASA announced strong evidence that liquid water flows on present-day Mars. Water is critical for life. [NASA]
Trappist-1 Planetary System
This recent discovery has many excited about the possibility of life. It is located approximately 39 light years away from Earth (close by galaxy standards– the Milky Way spans 100,000 light years), and contains similar planetary structures to Earth. [Trappist.one]
Some believe NASA's recent ramp-up efforts, such as TESS ("planet-hunting" satellite), the work of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), and even President Trump's "Space Force" [CBS News] signals the government has found something promising.
NOT A CHANCE
Rushing to conclusions
Astrophysicist Sara Seager believes “not knowing the origin of an object does not mean that it’s from another planet or galaxy." [NPR] Just because we do not know what is within the Navy pilot video does not mean it is an alien spacecraft.
Professor Nick Lane cites the complex and statistically unlikely creation and survival of mitochondria (a building block of life) as a reason to doubt the existence of life on other planets that are more barren and hostile than Earth. [Futurism]
Clues, not facts
When looking into the numerous "sightings," some believe there are too many conflicting facts and variables. This leads many to consider these as"clues", or even debunked, as opposed to facts.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
NASA and SpaceX launched TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), planet-hunting Mission in April 2018. [NASA]
The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program is officially listed as shut down. Yet, parts of the program are still classified. [The New York Times]
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Any contact we may receive from extraterrestrial could already be dead. Read more.
The CIA published a public library of unclassified UFO recordings. Access here.
Check in with TESS on NASA's blog.
Some individuals have formed private space exploration companies, like Elon Musk's SpaceX. Should we be relying on individuals or the government to lead exploration in space?