The world is a mess. I should know, I am a child of the 80’s and was a teen of the 90’s when the “save-the-whales-the-air-is-dirty-recycle-or-we’ll-all-die!” Hysteria had hit its high point.
It still happens now but one of the– very few – upsides to the current post-sincerity, every-thing-is-ironic, meta-means-clever cultural context is that people have been largely sapped of their ability to care with the manic zeal they once did, the planet-sized let down of the Millennium being the last straw for many.
It is to the point now that if Star Wars-style 3D, holographic communications was publicly available tomorrow, people would still spend most of the time complaining about lack of compatibility and load times.
Is it any wonder then that the potential discovery of an Earth-like, livable planet as the coveted “Goldilocks” zone – astronomers’ adorable way of saying this particular corner of the deep black is ‘just right’ for the possibility of human habitation, was met largely with a ‘huh’?
A new nope
Back in the 1970s, hope was in short supply. The dreams of the 1960s had been crushed under the boot of the Nixon Administration and things were not looking like they were going to get much better. Then, near the end of the decade, a film was released that showed a different vision.
A whole galaxy of non-Earth dwelling humans fighting and winning against the forces of a massive, evil empire. Most people read it as an allegory about the Cold War but there are also parallels to be drawn within the Western political spectrum.
It was a bold notion that resonated through the next two films in the trilogy and while the real world would on get worse as time ticked into the 1980s, new options had been seen. Scientists have been searching the heavens for alternatives for Earth for decades, often coming up short.
At the end of 2015 a group of researchers from Australia, of all places, announced they had discovered not one but three rocky, Earth-like planets in the, now somewhat infamous, “Goldilocks zone”.
A scant 14 light years, a day trip in terms of the universe, one planet in particular known by the catchy moniker of Wolf 1061c held the best hope yet of supporting human life off the dying rock that has been humanity’s planet of residence.
From frying pan to fire: Potentially habitable earth like planet
Not so fast there star-tripper. You might not want to pack that suitcase just yet. A spoilsport by the name Stephen Kane, surely a future magnet for much hate mail, just had to try to be cleverer than everyone else and is now casting doubts on the possibility of humans being able to live on good old Wolf 1061c, or “Earth 2”.
According to negative nelly Kane, Wolf1601c is just a squint too close to Venus, a planet which has had a “runaway greenhouse effect” which could make one of humanity’s best hope in a while likely too hot to live on. Is it any wonder so many people are cynics these days?