NASA pushes to discuss what would happen when life beyond Earth is discovered

Fareeha Arshad
Photo byPhoto by NASA on Unsplash

In a recent scientific commentary, NASA scientists argue that it is time to establish a framework for reporting evidence of extraterrestrial life, even though we have not found such evidence yet. While the existence of alien life is yet to be proven, many scientists believe it is possible, if not probable.

The scientists assert that the discovery of extraterrestrial life is unlikely to be a yes-or-no, all-or-nothing event, and it will probably be a drawn-out, evolving process of scientific investigation and discovery. Thus, they advocate that we should start preparing for the possibility that we might discover evidence of life beyond Earth.

To prepare for such a discovery, NASA scientists suggest using a "confidence of life detection" (CoLD) scale to track the possibility of life using different benchmarks. Such a nuanced scale would help the research community and the broader public interpret new findings scientists report. The researchers believe that discussing the possible practices for discussing life detection will help set reasonable expectations, attach value to incremental steps, and help establish public trust as a part of the scientific process.

While the discovery of extraterrestrial life would be a groundbreaking event, it is essential to prepare for it, as it would have significant implications for helping us understand the Universe and our role in it. Additionally, it would raise many philosophical, religious, and ethical questions that we need to address. Therefore, NASA scientists believe we should be ready to report any evidence of alien life we discover, even if it is just incremental traces.

By establishing a framework for reporting evidence of extraterrestrial life, we can ensure that the scientific community and the public can make sense of any discoveries we make and build trust in the scientific process.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State

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