If we find another Earth-like planet, will it be at like Earth?
A question of evolution
(Inspired by a recent program on the Science Channel ~ “Time”)
Done exclusively in Photoshop
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Time presents many paradoxes, not the least of which involves travel to the stars. If a so-called Generation Cruiser moving near the speed of light left today for the nearest Earth-like world around another star, it would take at least 10,000 years to reach its destination.
We don’t yet know where “the nearest Earth-like exo-planet” is, nor can we achieve such velocities. The point is, time would be very different for the passengers aboard the ship and those on Earth, due to Relativity. What would be 10,000 years to the travelers could well be 7 million years, on Earth. Time would be telescoped aboard the star-ship, an effect of high velocity ~ one made more extreme, if the ship were accelerating. (Check it out, Einstein will tell you that it’s true!)
The question then arises… what might occur at home in that long, long interim? The Earth could be destroyed by then. Humanity could well die out. But on an optimistic note, mankind could develop far more speedy means of traversing the galaxy. Maybe they would use worm-holes, enabling them to jump across the light-years in a virtual flick of an eye! In that event, a super-ship could leave the Earth in 4331 (pick a date) and reach the same Earth-like planet virtually the next day! So in Cosmic Time, they ~ the humans from the future ~ would arrive there “first!” The folks aboard the other, older vessel would continue plodding through the Deep Abyss at almost light speed, but the future colonists would “transport” in a few short moments, beating the others to the punch by centuries. When at last the older ship arrived ~ provided the descendants of the early pioneers survived the trip ~ what might they find of the other, “future” humans who arrived much earlier (even though they left the Earth much later on)?
Sure, it hurts your head! It’s Relativity!
Well, we haven’t found a truly Earth-like planet ~ yet. But wherever life exists in the Universe, chances are it isn’t very “Earth-like” even if it functions much like life on Earth and might even look familiar to the human eye. For example, earlier this year scientists confirmed that every living thing on Planet Earth shares a common gene ~ one which links it (and us!) to the Diurnal cycles of the planet. Humans have it ~ dogs have it ~ cats have it ~ trees have it ~ flowers have it ~ algae has it! The gene functions as a bio-clock. All Earthly life is synchronized to the rhythm and rotation of our world, “programmed” to sleep, to wake, to eat, not as we see fit but according to the schedule of the Earth herself; a fact born out in many recent studies and experiments. We as humans don’t simply live here on this globe, even though we sometimes think of it that way. We’re intrinsically connected to it and enmeshed within it, parts within the Whole.
Is it reasonable to think we could settle on some other world and still retain our Earthly selves, especially over generations and centuries of time? Or might it be that living things are so enmeshed in their environments that over time, the nature of another, foreign planet might exert itself, transmuting living things to fit not Earth, but the rhythms and diurnal cycles native to that other-world, itself?
What might Mankind’s progeny become? In enough time, thanks to Evolution, we might not even recognize our antecedents when we land!
A Thought Experiment!
Background is from Enchanted Forest ~ elenadudina at Deviantart.
Male traveler ~ from Explorer by Eisophtrophic stock
Female traveler ~ from Explorer Jade by Twilight Amazon stock
Ominous Tree, left- Big Tree by Tracie76Stock (eyes from another photo) ~ eyes added
Giant Shrooms – More Mushrooms by chop-stock (sizes, shapes and colors altered here)
Stone Creature underfoot from ForestGirl Stock (also, source of steps)
Mutant insects, leaves in foreground, face in tree to right are my own custom brushes
Multiple light layers, color changes are applied