I had a dream when I was little about a giant silver ball descending into my back yard. It was slowly rotating, and I could see patches of strange writing on the sides. It looked like it had a little door.
That was it. No strange creatures came out; I was not abducted.
The Kepler telescope, set to launch tonight, brings this dream back to me. Four years from now we may discover many more planets like ours, circling powerful stars. And the day will come when humans learn they are not the only conscious creatures in the universe. I’m convinced of it.
We Earthlings are like that remote tribe photographed in the Amazon last year. They were terrified, of course, and shot arrows at the plane – but they learned that man can fly.
In my dream, I wasn’t scared. In a strange way, that silver ball was comforting. I wanted to read the writing; I wanted the door to open.
It’s odd, I know, to be comforted by the idea of space aliens. But this is how I see it: We find ourselves now on our slowly dying planet, in an economic morass, not even sure why we’re here in the first place.
Maybe they will help – if those future humans don’t shoot them first.