Extraterrestrial Life

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Lewis Thomas’ Ceti

Ceti, is a short essay taken from a book named The Lives of a Cell. It was written by Lewis in 1975. The essay briefly discusses the use of radio astronomy as a means of communicating with extraterrestrial life on other planets and galaxies. He also goes into detail about the various problems with trying to contact intelligent life. This leads to Lewis Thomas’ thesis. If we are ever able to communicate with extraterrestrial life, we need to stop and think about what we might say.

Lewis Thomas states in his essay, “Tau Ceti is a relatively nearby star that sufficiently resembles our sun to make its solar system a plausible candidate for the existence of life. We, it appears, ready to begin getting in touch with Ceti.” The reason for wanting to get in touch with Tau Ceti and the surrounding area, is because its similarity to our sun, makes it a viable spot for the support of extraterrestrial life. In 1972, an international called CETI was held to discuss the thoughts of communication with life forms of other worlds. The various physicists from the varying countries are all agree that the best possible method of communication is through radio astronomy.

Questions have been brought up asking why we want to make contact with extraterrestrials. Lewis Thomas answers the question stating, “The earth has become, just in the last decade, too small a place. We have a feeling of being confined-shit in; it is something like outgrowing a small town in a small country.” The sky is not the limit, it is merely a shell we all live beneath.

One has to ask themselves, if extraterrestrial life is found, how will we react. Thomas suspects that by the time we get a response, “we will probably be used to the idea. We can already provide a quite good explanation for the origin of life, here or elsewhere.”

Realistically, there is one major problem with communicating with distant life. Tau Ceti is many light years away from earth. Thomas states,...
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