The final frontier

Successes in space exploration should lead to better funding

At this moment, an earnest, scientific search for intelligent alien life is underway, and the search is centered in the North State.

The 42 separate radio antennas at the Allen Telescope Array, near Lassen Peak, have turned their full attention to KIC 8462852, a star located about 1,500 light-years from Earth. This after last week’s announcement that researchers and citizen scientists working with the Bay Area-based Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute detected the star intermittently dims in a way that can’t be explained by known phenomenon. Some astronomers, who generally avoid such wild conjectures, have suggested the dimming could be caused by a storm of comets or, amazingly, an “alien megastructure.”

The mystery has ignited curiosity that likely will lead to discovery; if not of aliens, then of something else previously unknown to man. New and exciting information continues to pour in from outside of our atmosphere. In the last month alone, NASA announced the evidence of water, ice and blue skies on Pluto and flowing water on Mars.

These discoveries come in the face of a chronic lack of funding to NASA and space exploration. If there was a time to invest in these efforts, it’s now. Space scientists and engineers have spent the last 30 years learning to do more with less. It’s time to help them help humanity understand the universe and our role in it.