Op-ed: Earth to Kepler-452b

  • By Cal Thomas
  • Monday, July 27, 2015 5:45pm
  • Opinion

NASA has discovered the answer to all of our problems. It is another planet, a possible twin to Earth that could theoretically sustain life.

This revelation could be bigger than Columbus “discovering” America, or Lewis and Clark finding the Northwest Passage.

It offers the possibility of starting over. Hasn’t the thought crossed the mind of every adult of a certain age that if we could time travel back to our youth and know what we know now, we would not have made the mistakes we made?

The first step in boldly going where no one has gone before is to re-name the planet. Kepler-452b won’t do. How about Krypton? That name is already widely known as the fictional planet from which Superman came, thus giving it cultural standing. Steven Spielberg could make a film about our new second home. ET might even be there to welcome us.

Then we have to figure out a way to get there. Kepler-452b is 8,400 trillion miles away. Using present technology it would take 25.8 million years to get there. To reach the planet, people would have to reproduce in space, creating multiple generations of descendants. How would the new arrivals find materials to build anything? We’d be starting over like cavemen, though that should not deter us. Early pioneers didn’t give up when they encountered obstacles.

What is really interesting is that Kepler-452b is not the only planet with an environment thought capable of sustaining life. The Kepler spacecraft has found more than 4,000 planets in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone,” meaning they have temperature ranges that could support at least plant life and possibly more advanced life forms.

This could be the solution we have been looking for. Republicans and Democrats could have planets of their own, which could settle once and for all the argument over whether big or small government is best; not that one would be able to convince the other, even if verifiable proof could be presented. The same goes for global warming proponents and climate change deniers.

Criminals would have their own planet where they could prey on each other instead of the rest of us, thus “solving” the crime problem. And the gun control crowd could inhabit a planet where all guns would be banned, though sticks and stones, mankind’s first weapons, would remain. It would be left to the peace-loving citizens of “gun-free-opolis” to work things out amongst themselves, but they would have achieved their ultimate goal — no guns.

There is just one overarching challenge for those who might like to travel to this new world. How do you solve the problem of human nature? Travelers would take that nature with them, as illustrated in William Golding’s classic novel “Lord of the Flies” in which a group of children crash on a remote tropical island and, cut off from civilization, slowly turn into savages.

Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner recently announced a $100 million, 10-year project to search for intelligent life in the universe. Stephen Hawking, the physicist, has signed on to work with him. They are wasting their time and money. However, given the lack of intelligence on Earth, I can’t blame them for looking elsewhere.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

More in Opinion

The official ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Division of Elections)
Voices of the Peninsula: Check out the ballot before you vote

This kind of ballot is not something you have seen before.

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party

State Sen. Josh Revak (Photo provided)
The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The hope is that the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) will come to the Senate floor for a vote

Michael Heimbuch attends a memorial service for the late Drew Scalzi on Aug. 5, 2005, at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Point of View: King salmon: The clash of culture and science

People do some pretty awful things to king salmon stocks

Lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald speaks at a Charlie Pierce campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Election Integrity: An Alaskan question with an Alaskan answer

A needless round of feel-good meetings and what-if conversations will be a thing of the past

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

The cost of health insurance will rise substantially next year for about 13 million Americans

The offical ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Divison of Elections)
Opinion: Alaskans deserve an election system that represents our differences

The new system’s goal is to make this election cycle transparent, secure and easy for all Alaskans to vote

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (Courtesy)
Opinion: UAA’s career certificates are helping to fill Alaska’s workforce pipeline

At UAA, we are announcing a new suite of certificate programs responding to some of the state’s most critical needs

Opinion: Remaining vigilant after 30 years

Exxon Valdez spurred both federal and state legislatures, the industry, and the public to come together