A.Dim posted this video about Garik Isrealian's talk in which he predicts that we will find definitive life signatures on exoplanets using spectroscopy in the next 15-20 years.
This is based on the anticipated results of the Kepler mission, which will begin returning data on earth-like planets (if they exist) which can then be targeted for spectral analysis by the new spectrometer Garin talks about in his TED Talk. SO, in my opinion, this is a pretty solid prediction based on real data. Of course, we wont know til then, but its fun to think about.
This thread is about the impact that that discovery would have on our civilization.
For the purposes of this discussion, I am assuming that this discovery is validated for one or more targets, and for each there is direct, undisputed evidence of earth-like bio-signs in the spectra, such as vegetation, as well as other essential elements such as Ozone, Oxygen, and Nitrogen Dioxide, etc.
This situation of finding life is different than say, finding a fossil on mars or having a UFO land on the White House Lawn. We can't go there right now. We can't send a probe, or even learn much more about that particular planetary system.
What it would do, however, is to answer the question of whether we are alone, and how ubiquitous life is in the universe, and that at least some of it is based on familiar processes. It would also give us some great SETI targets.
My hope is that it would drive us more towards exploring space and developing technologies that would eventually allow us to colonize the solar system, be more aggressive in finding out if life exists or existed on Mars, Europa, Titan, or other localities in our system.
What do you think?