terrestrial planets

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Planetary Messenger

At long last my philosophical novel is complete! A journey through space, time, and dreams, Planetary Messenger explores the social, scientific, and spiritual consequences of discovering another planet in the galaxy just like our Earth. I began this project as a NaNoWriMo entry in 2007 and continued editing and revising for a year and a half.

From the back cover:

Since the dawn of humanity we have gazed at the stars to ponder our existence. To the naked eye the skies are dark and lifeless, but what if, through a glass, we looked to the heavens and saw our mirror image, a twin Earth from afar? If we found our uniqueness shattered in the vast cosmic arena, then what, if anything, could we still hold sacred?

Planetary Messenger is now available either directly from Createspace or through Amazon. Thanks to all of you who have been part of my life so far and helped make this possible. Happy reading!

The Milky Way is old enough that a slightly more advanced civilization than us could conceivably have colonized the galaxy several times over by now. Known as the Fermi Paradox, the absence of extraterrestrial observations is often taken to imply either the rarity of life or the impossibility of interstellar travel.

In a paper published in the February issue of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society titled “The Sustainability Solution to the Fermi Paradox“, we challenge this conclusion with the possibility that exponential growth is an unsustainable development. That is, even if an extraterrestrial civilization has colonized the galaxy, it would have done so through rapid unsustainable growth and collapsed upon reaching a physical resource limit. Not enough time has yet passed for a sustainable growth civilization to colonize the galaxy, so there is still promise in the search for extraterrestrial life. Furthermore, though the absence of extraterrestrial civilization does not imply the unsustainability of exponential growth, it does increase the probability that humanity should transition to sustainable development in order to prevent its collapse. A more detailed writeup is available on the Lifeboat Foundation blog.

In other news, NASA’s Kepler Mission successfully launched yesterday evening! Over the next three years, Kepler will observe 100,000 stars in a patch of the Milky Way in search of Earth sized planets. This is the first mission with the capability of detecting Earth at a distance, so with any luck we’ll soon have a better idea of just how common small rocky planets are in the galaxy.

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