Orson Scott Card on Extraterrestrial Life

February 9, 2012

What if we find life on another planet?  What will we do next?   Science fiction writer Orson Scott Card has thought extensively about the politics and ethics of first contacts.  His award-winning classic, "Ender's Game" lays out a few possibilities.  He's just published a new addition to the Ender series.  Steve Paulson takes the opportunity to ask him how he'd respond to news of the discovery of an alien civilization.



I am concerned about Card's urging that we seek to inhabit other worlds. We cannot guarantee, in fact it may be likely, that we will carry (or even be) pathogens that will destroy life on that other world.

Orson Scott may be a good sci-fi writer but he seems to have no grasp of the size of the universe. He suggests we travel to a habitable planet and set up shop in case of asteroids heading toward earth. The nearest possible habitable planet according to science is 4.2 light years away, or 24.9 trillion miles. Some ship traveling the speed of the Shuttle would take 168,000 years to get there. Of course a sci-fi guy will just throw out, "oh, we'll travel much faster than that soon." But there is no known technology to do that and most scientists have no viable suggestions now.

Mr. Scott needs to get real. Even his book fans must be disappointed at such naive ideas.

Earth is it for humans and global warming will stop us. If you think not, send me evidence of one instance of man slowing it in it's steady rise of CO2.