Since the US Congress doesn’t have enough to worry about, oh, I don’t know, running the economy into the ground, allowing the NSA to snoop through our phone calls, and otherwise trashing the Constitution, they spent valuable Congressional hearing time hearing about the possibility of life on other planets.
In a situation of epically misdirected priorities, Congress heard testimony from Massachusetts Institute of Technology planetary science and physics Professor Sara Seager, who told the lawmakers that the chances of another Earthlike, populated planet were very high.
“The question is: Is there life near here, in our neighborhood of stars? We think the chances are good,” she said, answering a question from Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, who asked: “Do you think there’s life out there, and are they studying us? And what do they think about New York City?”
Seager was one of three Ph.D.-credentialed witnesses prominent in a scientific field once considered speculative who testified at a hearing called “Astrobiology: The Search for Biosignatures in Our Solar System and Beyond.”
A biosignature is a substance — such as an element, molecule or even a phenomenon — that provides scientific evidence of past or present life.
The others testifying were NASA astrobiologist Mary Voytek and science historian and astrobiologist Steven J. Dick of the Library of Congress.
“Whether they’re looking at New York or some small town in Indiana, the diversity of life here and the way that we live our lives is phenomenal, and I think it goes all the way down from humans to microbes,” Voytek said.
Dick said, “I think the guiding principle holds that what’s happened here has happened elsewhere in our huge universe,” the Washington Post reported.
Seager, whose scientific research has earned her a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” told lawmakers scientists now had the capacity to make a breakthrough.”This is the first time in human history we have the technological reach to cross the threshold,” she said in remarks quoted by Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
The next-generation James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018, and other advances are changing the search for alien life forms, she told lawmakers.”
If life really is everywhere, we actually have a shot at it,” she said. (source)
Of course, the testimony inevitably ended in a plea for money, beyond the whopping $17.7 billion dollar allocation of funds that has already been budget for NASA, in order to further study the potential extraterrestrials.
Nero fiddles, while Rome burns.
Americans starve, homeless and on the streets, while astronomers look for aliens in other galaxies.
It’s vital that the truly important things take precedence in the days of a busy member of Congress, you see. Incidentally, this attentive group is populated by the same batch of officials that was too busy to listen to testimony regarding the Benghazi debacle last September, and left early that day.
Kimberly Paxton, a staff writer for the Daily Sheeple, is based out of upstate New York.
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Image Credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post