It has long been suspected that humans are the only life forms in the universe. With recent discoveries as to how large our universe actually is, many people have begun disagreeing with this theory.
On September 28, 2015 NASA reported the discovery of flowing bodies of water on the surface of Mars. NASA believes that this discovery has the potential to prove the existence of a habitable environment on the surface of Mars. According to NASA however; the Mars rover is unable to approach and test the discovered water due to the possibility of contaminating the water with Earth-borne or other dangerous bacteria.
The fear of contaminating the water stems from a treaty written by the United Nations in 1967. This treaty states that all space exploration will be conducted in such a way to avoid any possible contamination by Earth life. There is a way around the UNs treaty however, the Mars rover would need to be sterilized to a higher degree.
2020 will mark the next Mars based mission for NASA with a rover said to be sterilized to the same level as Curiosity. This would mean that the next rover will be unable to reach the water sources either, unless plans change between now and five years down the road.
What does this discovery mean for the human race? Are we still alone? Is there the possibility of another race of intelligible life somewhere among the stars?
There are many arguments that could come into consideration over this topic, both in favor and against the possibility of other species in the universe that we as humans have not encountered yet. If it is considered that there are known bacteria in space; and more importantly the known and widely accepted theory of evolution, is it much of a stretch to believe in the existence of another form of life?
As humans, we seem to take the fact that we are at the top of the food chain for granted. What if that were to change? Would we still be so careless and arrogant? Or would the change in our status provide a much needed change in perspective.
Having no solid evidence of any possibilities, positive or negative, the whole situation becomes a waiting game. It may be a long while before the waters of Mars become a possibility of exploration, but all that means is that the human race will have another goal set in its future to achieve and progress with.
That leads to a final thought. Are we the only ones striving for answers in this huge universe?