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Why Exploring Alien Life Is No Longer a Laughing Matter

Adam Frank: Astronomer Milan Cirkovic likes to emphasize how the question of other civilizations touches our deepest and most enduring questions about humanity and our place in the universe. What all the headlines about aliens demonstrate is that, culturally and scientifically, we’ve entered a new epoch in our approach to these questions. The exoplanet revolution has forced us to see that our world may be just one of many and is perhaps not so different. And with our civilization’s growing power, evidenced through climate change, we may also be ready to explore new ways of understanding the meaning of being a true planetary species. Our intense interest in other civilizations may really be a reflection of our hunger to understand what’s next for ourselves. We are standing on a frontier when it comes to the study of life and the universe.

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