Why is discovering alien life important?

Why is discovering alien life important?


One of the biggest curiosities of mankind is whether we are the only ones out there. Some believe that somewhere in our ever-expanding universe, alien life exists and there are various theories out there that try to explain these events. One key question is; do we really need to know?

You might wonder what the benefit of such knowledge will do to us. Let’s say someone discovered that aliens existed in a planet far far away, then what next? It is unlikely that they will come and end our world as we know it. Right?

[Image Source: Wikipedia]

Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the director of the Hayden Planetarium and also the host of the recent Cosmos reboot, has a few thoughts in mind. He believes it is important for us to discover alien life, if any exist. His main motivation is the fact that humans have not understood life itself yet. He believes that by discovering aliens, we will have a better idea of what life is.

“Can you even define your sample if it only exists as one?” Dr. Tyson.  “Scientifically, generally you want multiple examples of something to say ‘here’s what they have in common, here’s what’s different, here’s what really defines it, and here’s what doesn’t.’”

“Does life require liquid water?” he asks, rhetorically. “No, because this one is using liquid ammonia. Does it require a sun? No, because this one is getting energy from volcanoes—whatever! I’m making this up, of course.”

He was obviously making that up but what he was also doing was making a very valid point. It just would not be possible for us to make a conclusion of what life is without witnessing different forms of it from different parts of the universe.

“You can’t claim to fully understand your sample unless you have a diversity of kinds of samples.” he concluded.

To watch his full statement, check out the video from Tech Insider.