The lonely spaceship earth

The lonely spaceship earth

A photo of the Nasa satellite OSIRIS-REx makes clear in the view back from 5 million km once again the precarious existence of the life

The search for extraterrestrial life has also a desperate character. For a long time mankind has lived quite well with living on a chosen place and having no cosmic neighbors. The anthropocentrism and geocentrism has naturally expressed itself also in the religions like the Christianity, after all Jesus has come as a Redeemer only on the earth to his believers, from other intelligent beings than the earthly people, the pagans were anyway excluded, was not the speech, one sees from angels, devils and other doubtful existences once off.

The Catholic Church has already managed to admit the possibility of other planets inhabited by human beings, saying that Christ came to earth as a substitute for everyone. Eigentlich hatte er sich ja auch vervielfaltigen konnen. The Son of God must be responsible for all in the cosmos, one has become careful with the chosen people, however, the unbelievers are still excluded. Inklusion ist nicht religiose Herzensangelegenheit. Difficulties are caused by the fact that at the time of Christ’s visit intelligent beings on other planets did not live yet or did not live any more – and how should they live? "Good news" have heard the good news at all.

In any case, it can be assumed that starting with the Enlightenment, i.E. The expulsion of ghosts, angels and devils, and the progress of science, the assumption was strengthened that it would be improbable if, in view of the vast universe, only the Earth was inhabited by life and also by intelligent life. But still there is only the hope or the assumption that somewhere on planets in the universe not only life, but also intelligent living beings are to be found. Proofs for the fact that there is also only extraterrestrial life, are not present, which does not say however much, because finally only our solar system was searched selectively for traces of life.

While the humans resp. The respective groups regarded themselves as crown of creation and the others as competitors and were anyway caught in anthropo- and geocentrism, we seem to move between fear of aliens and a longing not to be completely alone in our bubble of the spaceship earth, but maybe only to see the possibility to emigrate to other planets, in order not to have to realize that there is only one earth, which we seem to ruin by exploitation for the further generic life, because no other form of life and economy occurs to us.

And then when satellites like OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer) are sent out into near space to investigate, as in this case, an asteroid to see if it might have organic compounds or other molecular precursors to life, they bring with them not only images of life-repelling rocky or desert worlds, but sometimes take a look back at Earth that, while not new since the lunar missions, again vividly reveals the loneliness and perhaps uniqueness of Mother Earth or Spaceship Earth, drifting lonely and vulnerable through the darkness of space.

The image of Earth and its distant moon was taken by the OSIRIS-Rex camera on 2. October 2017. The probe was already 5 million kilometers from Earth at that point, 13 times the distance between Earth and the moon. Actually the image consists of three combined and color corrected images. In addition, the moon was made brighter so that it can be seen better.

Earth and moon float in black nothingness in this picture. This has to do with the fact that the picture was taken on the side of the earth illuminated by the sun, the light of the stars is too weak to be seen. Of course you could also turn the spieb around. An image from the Hubble Space Telescope, taken as part of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UVUDF) project, for example, shows a brilliantly luminous universe seemingly densely packed with galaxies.

Image: NASA, ESA, H. Teplitz and M. Rafelski (IPAC. Koekemoer (STScI), R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), and Z. Levay (STScI)

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