If we discovered evidence of alien life, would we be still able to understand it? Life on other planets could be so different.
For the last few years, we have seen extreme shifts to the theories about what counts as a biosignature and which planets will have aliens’ existence. So, what can we do best? The best we can really do is to understand the data and knowledge we have with our current best approach instead of some future idea that doesn’t even exist.
This is really an issue for those who are involved in the exploration of extraterrestrial life or presumably alien life. Member of Nasa’s Advisory Council, Scott Gaudi has said that “One thing I am pretty sure of after having spent more than 20 years in this field of exoplanets is, just expect the unexpected.”
How to Expect the Unexpected?
Do you think it is actually possible to anticipate the unexpected? Multiple inventions happen by accident, from the result of penicillin to that of the cosmic microwave radiation left over from the Big Bang. These findings often reflect the luck on behalf of the researchers included in it. When it comes to alien existence, do you think it is enough for scientists to assume “we’ll know it when we see it”?
There have been various outcomes that seem to tell us assuming the unexpected is really very challenging, according to a cognitive psychoanalyst. Daniel Simons’, famous for his work on inattentional blindness investigations, has shown how people can miss a gorilla banging its chest in front of their eyes. There are similar experiments that also show how blind we are to non-standard playing cards. In the last case, we miss the gorilla if our attention is adequately occupied. In the end, we miss the unusualness because we have strong expectations.
There are also various examples that are important to the history of science. Philosophers term this sort of phenomenon as “theory-ladenness of observation”. What we notice depends on our theories, concepts, background beliefs, and prior expectations. Even more commonly, what we take to be important can be influenced in this way.
Studying the entire universe largely disconnected from theory is not only a legal scientific attempt, but it’s a crucial one too. The strength to demonstrate exploratory science disparagingly as “fishing expeditions” is likely to harm scientific progress. Investigation of under-explored areas is necessary, and we can’t know in advance what we will find. In the search for extraterrestrial life or alien’s presence, scientists must be completely open-minded for every law. Space investigation agencies, such as NASA, must learn from such incidents if they truly believe in the search for alien life or extraterrestrial life. We should “expect the unexpected.”