News and Tribune


June 30, 2014

CUMMINS: Is there life out there?

— Out where? Beyond our Earth where we seem to be destroying the life we have here. We were warned to take care of Earth and to love our neighbors, but it’s become a burden. Six billion people produce too much garbage and pollution, and there’s no place to put it, except maybe ship it to another planet. Concerning the love thing, there are too many different races, colors, creeds and religions here. Expecting to love them all is ridiculous, and we don’t consider all people as our neighbors. How many people do you know living in the Middle East? My neighbors live close to me, but some of them would fit in better living in Iraq.

In the Middle East, people divided themselves into two Islamic factions in the seventh century, when Mohammed died. They’ve been at each other’s throats since then, despite Mohammed, having taught and written, “The most perfect among men is he who loves his neighbor without thinking about whether he is good or bad.”

We understand that man is not perfect even in the U. S., which is supposedly a Christian nation. Christians are encouraged to love neighbors, but to be cautious. Carry a rapid-fire gun, concealed or strapped on your shoulder, with you to churches, schools, malls and keep one under your pillow. If an un-loving, evil person points a gun at you, quick draw yours and let him have it. If I were starting out in the business world, I’d sell ammunition, make a fortune and then move to a peaceful place such as Switzerland or Greenland.

For some unknown reason, the world’s people also divided themselves into liberals and conservatives, which eventually developed into the haves and have-nots. There’s no way liberals will ever lie down with conservatives as lambs and lions should do. Then as the haves began gobbling up Earth’s resources, the have-nots were left at the mercy of various governments. Since the haves learned how to control governments, they rebelled at being taxed to feed the have-nots, who wouldn’t work anyway. As you can see, planet Earth may be in its last throes.

 Since we’re losing faith in mankind, and guns may eventually kill us all, where do we turn? There’s nowhere to turn except to science. A scientist invented the gun and Alfred Nobel, who gives out the peace prize, invented dynamite the forerunner of other explosive devices, which promotes peace indirectly maybe. Top scientists are now searching for life in other places and on other planets. Surely, God created intelligent life on at least one plane. If Earth blows up, we’ll need some place to go.

The latest “National Geographic” feature article asks, “Is Anybody Out There?” For several years, the SETI program, search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has been underway. They’re listening for radio signals sent by organisms smarter than we are. And now scientists in the astrobiology field are working for you. They’re wading in deep caves in Mexico and searching under the ice at the poles to find life forms in places where life shouldn’t exist.  

Our best chance, however, might be on Europa, a planet near Mars, which was also the name of my favorite candy bar. The NASA rover Curiosity is currently exploring Gale crater on Mars where a huge lake sat a billion years ago and where the chemical environment would have been hospitable to microbes. Take a microbe, give it a billion years and it might develop arms, legs and a brain. However, there are undeveloped microbes walking around on earth, primarily in Washington, without the sign of a brain. And recently, NASA’s spacecraft Cassini spotted jets of water, a substance necessary for life, spouting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Remember when we thought there was only one moon, and wondered how a cow could jump over it. Don’t sell science short; it’s a matter of time until cows give chocolate milk. In the past few years, they’ve discovered nearly 2,000 moons called exoplanets. Astronomers now believe that a fifth of the stars harbor Earth-like planets. Who knows what we might bump into out there?  

A half-mile under the ice in Antarctica, scientists discovered what they called “snottites.” They’re a glob of microbes resembling mucus blown from human nasal passages, and they live on different nutrient systems in places where life forms shouldn’t be.

Maybe we should try cleaning up the arrogant, snot-nosed leadership here on Earth before we try finding a habitable planet in one of the other universes.

Contact Terry Cummins at


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