NASA researchers recently announced that life beyond our planet will be discovered in the next twenty years. Bill Nye, everyone’s favorite “Science Guy,” an educator, scientist, and the CEO of The Planetary Society, an organization that promotes space exploration, stopped by Big Think’s studio to discuss how this will change the world. The last time Nye visited us, he provided a disturbing assessment of the damaging belief of creationism, a movement he calls unique to the United States. Now he’s back with a request to the American public: let’s all contribute the price of a cup of coffee to continue the search for life.
Nye wants the search to target Europa, one of the 63 known moons of Jupiter. It's believed to have around twice as much sea water as Earth. The salt water geysers of Europa also indicate that it has the ingredients for life. Nye is convinced that that’s where we’ll first discover our cosmic neighbors, and it’s up to each of us to make it happen, as he explains:
"It would change the world for a price of a cup of coffee and wait, there's more. It wouldn't be the work of a guy like Galileo or Copernicus or Kepler, these are famous names in astronomy, or Isaac Newton or Einstein. It would be the work of all of us. It would be the work of all of us taxpayers and citizens of the earth who participate in this. Now it might be U.S. taxpayers nominally, but guarantee you the European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, almost certainly the Indian Space Research Organization, the Roscosmos, everybody would have a small part on this mission. Everybody would be involved. And if we were to find evidence of life it would change the world. Change the world."
The discovery would certainly unite the world. Until a NASA explorer docks on Europa, you can tour the cosmos and learn about the latest initiatives in the search for E.T. on the website of The Planetary Society.