Space travel has always seemed to be the epitome of the future: humans being able to travel from galaxy to galaxy alike our favorite characters in Star Wars, having intergalactic battles like in Star Trek and discovering new worlds beyond Earth that holds life. Space is truly the final frontier, and now, understanding its expansion and extent will finally no longer be a goal of the future but a thing of today.
NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is launching a new mission with a satellite, coined "TESS," according to its recent public announcement, whose goal is to scour the universe in search of new planets and life. More specifically, TESS will hopefully be able to find other planets that orbit around stars like Earth and study their composition to determine whether or not they may be able to support life or not.
Personally, I feel that TESS will not only be highly successful, but could change what we know of humans and our existence in the long run. It was always been highly debatable whether or not "aliens" do exist, but with TESS's help and NASA's new technology for space exploration, I find it highly likely that there must be another world, life, in the universe besides us on Earth and we're closer than ever on finding it.
NASA has already previously launched a satellite, KEPLER, in 2009 whose goal was to just be sent deep in space to find as many exoplanets, planets outside our solar system, as possible. KEPLER was also highly successful, adding to NASA's list of discovered and known planets that has almost reached a membership of 4,000 planets. Within this 4,000 it's estimated that almost 50 seem to hold the criteria for human life.
With this scientific information brought to light, and understanding of our world's functioning, it simply seems improbable that Earth would be the only planet capable of life when others contained the same needed characteristics. With this hope in mind, that we aren't alone in the universe, TESS comes in as a replacement to KEPLER to finally be able to discover and further develop our understanding of these mock-Earths. Finally, we can begin a new wave of discovery that goes beyond existence to sustainability of life.
For some, this is amazing news! A new step for humanity to take to change the future and how we see the universe and our role in it. No longer are we afraid of space, its vastness and mysteries, but intrigued by its composition of other planets like us. For scientists, this raises the potential hope of being able to occupy and/or visit such planets one day, given the crises of today, including overpopulation, massive pollution of the environment and global warming.
Every day, more trash is placed in our oceans, more trees are cut down for industry and more humans are born, affecting global population and our long term sustainability at the rate we are consuming. TESS could be the first step to the migration and saving of humankind in our dying world.
However, just as this may seem amazing, knowledge of other species being in the universe sounds just as terrible and frightening, for others. They are almost always perceived as monsters or kidnappers who preform experiments on the human race, which only drives up the fear factor between humans and the possibility of finding life in space. In fact, aliens have become the most famous conspiracy theories, with its mysterious factor drenched in a sense of fear due to their unknown.
But is it more scary knowing we're alone, or that others exist beyond us?
Whether or not we can come to a conclusion on our stance with foreign bodies, TESS will be known as the newest scientific breakthrough of our generation: now being launched and will be able to scour space for the next hundred years for new Earths and life. More importantly, humans will finally be able to know and understand the vastness of our universe, how unique of a dot we are in it and where the future of humanity may go.