We are all aliens here – Part II
Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 11, 2003
In my last column I said our planet formed from the stardust, eventually cooled, spent millions of years being bombarded with asteroids, and became covered with all the necessary elements to create life. All it needed was a spark. But where did the material come from that formed our planet? It took millions of years but I’ll shorten the story.
The hydrogen that forms stars, suns, eventually burns up after millions of years and collapses upon itself, becomes heavier and heavier and finally explodes. This is called a supernova and when that happens the material, containing all the elements known to man is spewed whirling into space as dust, some falling on other planets, some continues whirling and collecting and eventually forming a cloud, then a ball. As the ball gains in weight and size it collects more and more and finally creates its own gravity, which helps to collect even more. So was our earth formed, a planet exposed to the beating from asteroids for millions of years and eventually looking like our nearby moon.
Not only was our earth made of elements, passing comets dropped more on the surface. Everything necessary for life was in place. Moisture, the elements, the proper temperature, oxygen to breathe. Parts of the surface were awash with a blend, a fusion of material just waiting for that spark. Conjecture allows much latitude and since no human was around to watch, it becomes necessary for us to presume, surmise, and take a guess.
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Some say it was the hand of God, and if that is true it took a great deal of patience to hang around those billions of years, or else there was much to do on the other billions of planets when it became their turn to be introduced to life. If that is true then there must be millions of planets out there abounding with life. Some think it was a bolt of lightning that set off chain reactions necessary to create the protoplasm needed for even one cell. Whatever it was we are fortunate it took place. An even bigger debate takes place when pseudo-authorities pontificate on whether we, all animals, evolved from that original cell, or were plunked down on earth in our present form. I buy the former guess because it is much easier for me to grasp. If only someone had had the presence of mind to keep track of his family tree it would have eliminated all the guesswork.
There are over 10 million species of life on this one little planet, which is only about 9,000 miles across. It had to be a very busy being if they were created one at a time. And what an imagination; it’s no wonder the Dodo bird pattern was destroyed but why was the Gooney Bird okayed, or the Platypus? About 65 million years ago someone or something wiped the whole slate clean when it realized the dinosaurs were getting out of hand. And if you think about it, it might be time to do it again.
No need to worry, our star, the sun, is headed for oblivion. Duct tape and bottled water won’t help. As it heats up, and it will, future generations will move to Mars to escape serious global warming. I’m talking about thousands of degrees. And the planet Mars will suffice for only a few million more years, it’ll get too hot there too. Our planet will return to being a block of hot stone. There’s even greater risk that an asteroid will finish us off long before the sun heats up. The planet Jupiter has been catching most of them headed our way, but sooner or later one will get by and put an end to all life.
There will be no time for our government to post the &uot;threat level&uot; and it won’t be orange. But you and I and our great-grandchildren don’t have a reason to worry. Except maybe about those nutcases over in the Middle East. Whoever has the WMD, now that Iraq has heard from Tommy Franks, Inc. might get careless. It would only take a ton or so of Anthrax spread by a crop duster.
But for now the anti-war marchers can seek other noble causes, perhaps pleading the case for France, Germany and Russia. Or maybe marching and beseeching President Bush to stay with the United (?) Nations. I wish that decision were left to me.
Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com