In the mid-nineties, I was a huge fan of the show The X-Files, the cult-classic detective drama about paranormal activity — especially extra-terrestrials. As it turns out, the mid-nineties was also a period when the scientific community began embracing the possibility (or rather, the probability) that life exists on other planets.
According to a fascinating interview with Marc Kaufman, the author of First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth and a science writer at The Washington Post, not only do scientists now fully accept the possibility that life on other planets exists, they believe it almost certainly does.
In his interview with Dave Davies on Fresh Air, Kaufman discusses how scientists are using forms of life inhabit in the most inhospitable places on earth to speculate on the kinds of life that exist beyond our planet, even as close as Mars.
I was a little disappointed that Kaufman’s speculation didn’t include anything we’d recognize as your standard E.T.-ALF-X-Files type of alien; his are more on the microbial level. It’s still cool, but not quite as cool as little green men.
You know what is cool, though? David Bowie.