sRemember: that was September 2020 and in the newspapers there was a lot of phosphine. The media shocked the media with this strange word that most of us had never heard before, but then it carried information important enough to saturate the public space for a few days.
A study was published in Natural Astronomy The authors of this work reported the discovery of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus and was there, and the authors of this work suggested an indication of microbial life in the planet’s cloud cover. It appears that phosphine is indeed a marker of bacterial metabolism.
The find was quickly rejected, and it was soon replaced by many other stories of the same barrel. A few days later, French public television broadcast a documentary explaining how the asteroid belt could be used as a background base for an invasion of the Solar System. Perhaps starting with the colonization of Ceres – a dwarf planet to which physicist Pekka Janhonen (the Space Observation Center of the Meteorological Institute of Finland) has just devoted a “reclamation” study, published on the pre-release site arXiv.
Shocking news filled the public debate a few days later with the global launch, at the end of January, of an article written by astrophysicist Avi Loeb (Harvard University), indicating that “Oumuamua – a rectangular asteroid whose path surprises scientists – is in fact a strange ship …
Behind this accumulation of Hollywood science and its transmission in the media lies much more than an interest in the advancement of knowledge (no one disputes its intrinsic value). There is clearly a myth forming there that does not speak in its name, but which operates on the imaginations and the subconscious.
By accumulating contextual information, making the belief that there will be a large number in the uninhabitable and inaccessible universe, it makes the destruction of the environment more likely, by feeding the vague hope of a possible mass migration – and this is perhaps not a coincidence the first was baptized Mission of the United Arab Emirates to Mars « Al-Amal » (“Hope” in French).
The vocabulary record that scholars and journalists use unconsciously derives from this irrational hope. Are we not saying about some exoplanets that they are located in a “habitable zone” when they are at a distance from their star consistent with maintaining the surface of liquid water? Talking about habitability is already thinking about the house.
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