Guest essay: What’s life like on Planet Kepler-22b?

Sunday, December 18th 2011. | Science News

Planet Kepler-22b

Canandaigua, N.Y. — NASA recently announced the discovery of a new planet at the edge of our solar system. They’ve named it Kepler-22b after the telescope used to identify it. While the telescope has found many new planets, Kepler-22b is the first that NASA says is possibly inhabitable, and the most Earth-like they’ve found.

Could there be intelligent life on Kepler-22b? Are they more advanced than we are? Think of the possibilities. Maybe they have a government where politicians serve the people and not their own reelection interests. They might have term limits where politicians serve and move on. Ethics and morality may take precedence over party and fundraising.

Perhaps they have a tax policy that is both simple and fair, and entitlement programs in place to help those truly in need without creating generations of dependence and debt. Government might be efficient and enact intelligent and sustainable policies for energy, commerce and defense. Budgets would be balanced and justice blind.

I bet they have no Taliban, no terrorism, no bailouts and no reality TV shows. Health care and college are probably affordable and the investment world may operate transparently and honestly. People likely show respect to one another, especially to their elders.

Yes, we do have a lot of good people doing good things right here on Earth. Sometimes it’s hard to tell through all the noise. But it would be great to visit and see just how they do it up there on Kepler-22b.

Unfortunately, their planet is 600 light years away from Earth. (To put it in perspective, that’s about how long Congress will need to balance our budget.) The trip could take awhile.

In the meantime, let’s hope those folks on Kepler-22b don’t have their telescopes pointed at us. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing? They probably disagree with NASA; we’re not very Kepler-22b-like. Guess we couldn’t blame them. Kepler-22b, or not to be? That is the question.

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