A Deep Dive for Extraterrestrial Life

A Deep Dive for Extraterrestrial Life July 24, 2023


Exoplanet with dim star
This public domain artist’s impression shows an imagined view from close to one of the three planets orbiting a dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth that were discovered using the TRAPPIST telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s facility at La Silla, Chile. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and may be the best candidates found thus in the search for life outside our solar system. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star. In this view, one of the inner planets is seen in transit across the disc of its tiny and dim parent star.


I read a really interesting article in the New York Times today, about a recent expedition led by Avi Loeb.  I don’t know how many of you, if any, will be able to access it.  Just in case you can, though, here’s a link to it:

“Scientist’s Deep Dive for Alien Life Leaves His Peers Dubious: Avi Loeb, a Harvard astrophysicist, says that material recovered from the seafloor could be from an extraterrestrial spacecraft. His peers are skeptical.”

If you can’t reach the New York Times article, or if you want to read at least a little bit more about what could prove to be a hugely significant discovery, you might try one or both of these links:

The article in the Times led me to contact an acquaintance who, it turns out (and as I had already surmised), has direct personal insight into the matter.

His reply intrigues me even more.  Although, thus far, the response that’s been reported from other scientists has been very skeptical, there may be some extraordinarily interesting things coming down the pike.


IAU image of exoplanet
An artist’s conception of the surface of an exoplanet, from the International Astronomical Union (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


The article (and my contact’s response) has also led me to reflect, yet again, on the magnificent revelatory experience recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price.  For your convenience, I’ll cite a few verses from it:

And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.  And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.  And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.  (Moses 1:8-10)

Moses is already overwhelmed simply by a vision of the earth and its inhabitants.  But much more is on the way:

And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God.  And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.  And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.  And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying:  Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?  (Moses 1:27-30)

And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.  And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.  But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.

And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying:  The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.  And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.  (Moses 1:33-38)

In 1966, Walter Sullivan (1918-1996), who was then the science editor of the New York Times, published a prize-winning best seller entitled We Are Not Alone: The Search for Intelligent Life on Other Worlds about the possibility of contacting such extraterrestrial beings and about whether they existed in the first place. I found his book at my high school library shortly after it appeared, and I read it with fascination.  In his book, Sullivan discussed the tremendous impact that such contact would have upon humankind, should it ever occur.  Moreover, citing the passages above from Moses 1, he specifically commented that there was one group of religious believers who would be at least partly prepared for such an event.  And that group, he said, would be the Latter-day Saints.  That mention of us caught me by surprise, and I’ve never forgotten it.



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