Odyssey Launch to Mars Spurs Search for Life on Other Worlds

Apr 18, 2001, 01:00 ET from Newsmaking Feature Service

    LOS ANGELES, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The launch of NASA's Odyssey
 spacecraft to search for signs of water -- and life -- on Mars has touched off
 a new wave of speculation about the existence of intelligent life on other
 worlds:  If they're out there, are they coming here?  And will we need a "Star
 Wars" defense if -- and when -- they do?
     According to Los Angeles-based Newsmaking Feature Service executive editor
 Bill Widder, the recent discovery of at least 50 planets -- and mounting
 evidence of many others -- in the reaches of our own Milky Way Galaxy is
 adding heat to the controversy.  National polls and a spectrum of scientific
 opinion, Widder says, indicate a strong, growing belief that not only is there
 intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but someday, sooner than later
 -- perhaps in this century -- they'll come to see us.
     What will alien travelers look like if -- or, again, when -- they arrive?
 Opinion varies widely -- from intelligent light forms, or the conventional
 tear-shaped visitors of "ET" or "Close Encounters" to the multipod terrors of
 "Independence Day" or Wells' "War of the Worlds" -- or the taloned nine-foot
 tall, gas breathing Psychlo conquerors of L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction
 novel, "Battlefield Earth."
     At the same time, according to Newsmaking Feature Service, some pundits
 and poll respondents agree it might be prudent if the current "Star Wars"
 defense idea were expanded to include some kind of armed, globe-girdling
 satellite shield -- or at least a deep orbital "early warning" system
 -- against possible future intruders from space.
     And with -- or, more dangerously, without -- the protection of a "Star
 Wars" defense -- will extraterrestrials come in peace or war, as friend or
 adversary?
     Opinion, again, is divided -- but the most widely held view, Newsmaking
 Feature Service adds, is somewhat less than reassuring:  to journey across the
 gulf of interstellar space, alien visitors would have to be more technically
 advanced than we are.  And if they're not really friendly when they get here,
 the sudden, swift -- and ruthlessly one-sided war of "Battlefield Earth"
 -- and the thousand year conquest that follows it -- could easily become a
 history of the future.
 
 

SOURCE Newsmaking Feature Service
    LOS ANGELES, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The launch of NASA's Odyssey
 spacecraft to search for signs of water -- and life -- on Mars has touched off
 a new wave of speculation about the existence of intelligent life on other
 worlds:  If they're out there, are they coming here?  And will we need a "Star
 Wars" defense if -- and when -- they do?
     According to Los Angeles-based Newsmaking Feature Service executive editor
 Bill Widder, the recent discovery of at least 50 planets -- and mounting
 evidence of many others -- in the reaches of our own Milky Way Galaxy is
 adding heat to the controversy.  National polls and a spectrum of scientific
 opinion, Widder says, indicate a strong, growing belief that not only is there
 intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but someday, sooner than later
 -- perhaps in this century -- they'll come to see us.
     What will alien travelers look like if -- or, again, when -- they arrive?
 Opinion varies widely -- from intelligent light forms, or the conventional
 tear-shaped visitors of "ET" or "Close Encounters" to the multipod terrors of
 "Independence Day" or Wells' "War of the Worlds" -- or the taloned nine-foot
 tall, gas breathing Psychlo conquerors of L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction
 novel, "Battlefield Earth."
     At the same time, according to Newsmaking Feature Service, some pundits
 and poll respondents agree it might be prudent if the current "Star Wars"
 defense idea were expanded to include some kind of armed, globe-girdling
 satellite shield -- or at least a deep orbital "early warning" system
 -- against possible future intruders from space.
     And with -- or, more dangerously, without -- the protection of a "Star
 Wars" defense -- will extraterrestrials come in peace or war, as friend or
 adversary?
     Opinion, again, is divided -- but the most widely held view, Newsmaking
 Feature Service adds, is somewhat less than reassuring:  to journey across the
 gulf of interstellar space, alien visitors would have to be more technically
 advanced than we are.  And if they're not really friendly when they get here,
 the sudden, swift -- and ruthlessly one-sided war of "Battlefield Earth"
 -- and the thousand year conquest that follows it -- could easily become a
 history of the future.
 
 SOURCE  Newsmaking Feature Service