In its passion for space, the US space agency, NASA, decided to use the clergy to prepare the ground for the human response to finding life on other planets.
The agency is seeking to recruit 24 theologians to participate in its program at the Center for Theological Inquiry (CTI) at Princeton University in New Jersey, for which NASA provided a $1.1 million grant in 2014.
CTI describes it as a project to build “bridges of understanding by inviting theologians, scholars, and policy makers to think together and help public opinion on space-related topics that will have global concerns.”
The program aims to answer questions that have puzzled us since the beginning of time, such as “What is life?”, “What does it mean to be alive?”, and “What are the chances that creatures exist elsewhere?”
Now that NASA has two rovers on Mars, several objects orbiting Jupiter and Saturn, and the launch of the James Telescope that will study the formation of galaxies, stars and planets in the universe, the agency appears to be hoping to be on the right track to discovering life beyond Earth. .
Help from men
But the Scientific Agency needs a little help from the clergy and theologians, to help the general public understand these developments and whether that discovery will actually happen.
According to a report by the British newspaper, “The Times”, “NASA” chose at this stage the Reverend Andrew Davison, a theologian at the University of “Cambridge” and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of “Oxford”, among the 24 theologians in whom the agency will use this program. .
As for Davidson, he explained in a publication on the University of “Cambridge” website that “religious traditions will be an important factor in understanding the human approach if life is confirmed elsewhere on our planet.”
“Because of that, it is part of NASA’s ongoing goal to support work on the societal implications of astrobiology, working with many partner organizations, including the Center for Inquiry Theological Seminary at Princeton.”
Davison is scheduled to publish a book next year entitled “Astrobiology and the Christian Doctrine”, in which he may indicate, according to the “Daily Mail”, that he believes we are close to finding life on other planets.
Communicating with aliens
NASA will also employ other religions and sects to verify the believers’ reactions, “in preparation for the process of communicating with aliens.”
Davison’s book notes that “followers of a range of religious traditions report they can accept the idea”, while also that non-religious people “appear to overestimate the challenges that religious people might face if they encounter evidence of alien life.”
Studies and surveys have shown that religious people are less likely to believe that there is life on other planets, but Davison isn’t the only “believer” who doesn’t think the idea of extraterrestrials is impossible.
Doulia de Mello, an astronomer and professor of physics at Catholic University of America, said she has many academics in her classes who often ask theoretical questions about life in the universe.
“If we are a product of creation, why doesn’t life evolve on other planets as well? There is nothing to prove otherwise.”
Chief astronomer at the Vatican
Also in 2008, the Vatican’s chief astronomer said there was no conflict between belief in God and the possibility of “extraterrestrial brethren perhaps more advanced than humans”.
“In my opinion, the possibility of life on other planets does exist,” said Reverend Jose Gabriel Funes, 45.
NASA is preparing for this religious approach following the launch of the James Webb Telescope, a next-generation instrument designed to dive into the cosmos, with capabilities that exceed and complement those of the current Hubble in space.
And “Hubble” revealed the mysteries of 13.4 billion years, which was represented by a clustered chain of a galaxy that is currently the oldest and most distant object ever observed.
But astronomers are eager to bridge the 300-million-year gap with James Webb, and “get closer in time to the Big Bang, the moment when the universe formed 13.8 billion years ago,” according to Thomas Webb, associate director of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. Zorbuchen.
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