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Ted Chiang’s novel, Tales of Our Lives, is about human interaction with aliens that have conquered Earth, and Dr. Banks is hired to figure out how they interact. Dr. Louise Banks narrates the story in the past tense, and it also features Gary Donnelly, a scientist working with the military to learn about science from aliens. The government requires the two people to learn how the aliens, known as heptapods in this situation, interact and attempt and understand their language. This book is one good pointer on the topic of the existence of alien life on earth and in the surrounding planets with extensive research showing the existence of aliens on planet Mars. To put this into perspective, aliens are considered to be creatures which exist in the universe, and there are a few cases of contact with them both on earth and in space. These creatures are considered to have superior or inferior qualities compared to those we possess, and they lead normal lives as we do on earth (Skurzynski & Gloria, 08). For ages, the national body which is in charge of exploration and research about human life in other planets, NASA, has given pointers about the high possibility of aliens’ existence. Although these claims are yet to be proven, there have been many reported incidents of unknown objects and bodies being found and other cases of recording of strange creatures in many countries.

This book explores this argument in all perspectives, and at the same time it explains the life of the daughter of Dr. Banks before and after she was born till the time she dies and beyond as told by Banks. In this case, she uses future tense to describe, and the contact with the aliens helps her see the future of the child even before she has conceived her. As they take part in this assignment with Dr. Donnelly, the story becomes clear the two have a common destiny, and Donnelly will be the father of Banks’ child. These aliens, heptapods, communicate using two languages, Heptapod A and Heptapod B. The first one is their spoken language while the second one is their written language and it is complicated to understand. The narrator of the story, Banks, embarks on understanding the second language and it turns how to affect how she perceives time (Skurzynski & Gloria, 08).

The story does not take a lot of interest in physics, and the variation of principles explained by the author is an excellent pointer to this. Many concepts are also adapted to give the story a critical meaning that can be related to physics. According to Stephen Hawking, the message one can pick from this book is they need to be patient because their future will come to them at some point in time (Willis & Jon, 40). The novel has been used by some other experts to analyze the effects of human beings coming into contact with aliens. They argue that the book provides a different basis of looking at alien life since it alters the way the main character, Banks, leads her life after getting into contact with the aliens by trying to understand their lives. As quoted by Stephen Hawking, “It can be frustrating that we could not remember the future. But remembering the future is child’s play for me now. I know what will become of my helpless, trusting babies because they are grown-ups now.”

While the existence of alien life is still a point of discussion because there has been no contact made or recorded at the moment, there have been many objects found in many countries which point towards their existence. Other typical cases have been incidents caught on camera of unexplainable happenings such as recording of funny flying objects in the sky or strange creatures (Elfman, Eric, and Jeff Westover, 76). The latest event was a report by residents of a town in Russia who saw an unusual flash of light in the sky which appeared like a burning objected being hurled across the air in the early Monday morning of November 30th. A resident who was driving to work in the morning provided a video of the light as it fell towards earth. However, authorities have not recorded any strange events claiming the light was a meteorite although some residents claim signs of alien life. This is an example of cases involving peculiar behavior which depict extraterrestrial life which has been reported in the past few years. The most common area where these events occur is near the secret army air base in the United States, district 51, where residents or travelers claim they have seen strange objects flying in the air.

A few years ago claims of bacteria growth outside the International Space Station by astronauts was another pointer towards alien life (Willis & Jon, 80). The bacteria was noticed and collected by astronauts who were working outside the space station. The bacterium was obtained, and at the moment it is being studied for more information about its existence in space where earlier research showed there was little or no life. Scientists argue the bacteria must have flown from somewhere in space before settling outside the station because it was not there when the plant was initially set up.

Although this can be another pointer at alien life, many arguments say the bacteria may not be a valid pointer at this given in some cases; bacteria has proved it can survive the tricky journey from Earth to outer space (Elfman, Eric, and Jeff Westover, 86). As an example, tests carried out inside the space station showed that bacteria could survive the sharp temperature swings experienced during the journey from earth. Although in this case they were carried inside the space station, therefore, were not subjected to the temperature swings outside the station. Outside the station, temperatures can swing from lows of -200 degrees to highs of up to 400 degrees in a few seconds, and any human or plants cannot survive such harsh conditions.

A quick analysis of these incidents shows in all cases reported there is a conflicting story about it and the officials either deny or provide a different story in each case. This, according to the observation of experts can be cover-up plans by the involved governments or real claims by the scientist (Randle & Kevin, 108). Another claim of alien citing which was later refuted by the government of the United States is a video showing what people believe is a wreckage of UFO. This happened after the World War 2 period after the U.S army discovered a crashed craft with strange bodies and reported to the media. However, two days later the military retracted this statement stating they were remains of a collapsed air balloon used to spy. The images of the wreckage were taken to a top secret military base, and no videos were released to the media. This remains one of the most prominent conspiracy theories to date and no follow up has been done by the media or the military concerning this video footage. Another example of such incident is an incident in Texas where drivers reported their cars refused to start while others stalled when a glowing, egg-shaped object was observed in the sky. After the object disappeared, the engines of the vehicles restarted without a problem. When this incident was reported to the police, they concluded that an electrical storm had caused the sightings and vehicle failures and the claim by the farmers was forgotten after that.

Some false claims of aliens’ footage have found their way to mainstream media in the past few decades. This, scientists claim, is as a result of technological advancement and it is one of the challenges the government faces. In the video, which was uploaded to you tube, what appears like an alien autopsy film, it shows individuals operating on a strange creature which has six fingers on each hand and disfigured body parts which are not human. Authorities claim the video was produced inside a north London flat, thousands of miles from the secret US base it was purporting to be. This video received millions of views after being uploaded after being refuted as a scam. The military claim the footage which was produced in black and white was a scam by a film technology firm which was trying to gain popularity at that time, but the plan turned out to be a failure because of the sound effects used.

In one of the unresolved incidents of strange incidents, mariner Harold Dahl encountered a run-in with the men dressed in dark, in the wake of guaranteeing to have seen six UFOs while searching for driftwood in Washington’s Puget Sound. The following day he was approached by an obscure, dark-suited person who cautioned him off rehashing his story with dangers against his family (Elfman, Eric, and Jeff Westover, 76). Be that as it may, it’s hazy whether the UFO episode was, in reality, genuine or a mystery military exercise which had turned out badly. The story did not receive much attention from the media after that incident and the sailor preferred to keep off because he feared for his life and the safety of his family. Another event which is still unresolved to date was by two senior military pilots who claimed to have spotted three aircrafts of an unknown type to them while flying in a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber over the Carson Desert. They said the three unidentified objects were moving about three times faster than their B-25. While the B-25 was not a fast machine, both men insisted that the three crafts were not a new type of super-fast jet. 60 years later the sighting is still officially classified as unexplained.

While a majority of the claims in question show only recording of strange activities which people claim are aliens, there has been no human contact with alien life which has been reported yet. However, cases of unusual objects zooming past the earth have been recorded many times. Years ago, astronomers in the pacific telescope station in Hawaii reported observing mysterious objects flying through the earth atmosphere at a higher than the normal speed of flying objects. The strange object was thought initially to be an ancient comet, but observations revealed it was, in fact, an asteroid from another star system. Astronomers determined that the mysterious object, which was named Oumuamua and given the official scientific designation 1I/2017 U1, looped around the sun and made its closest pass by Earth a few days later after being spotted. ‘Oumuamua, whose name means “a messenger from afar arriving first” in Hawaiian, was then reported to be 124 million miles, 200 million kilometers, from Earth and zooming away at about 85,700 mph, relative to the sun, NASA officials claimed. Researchers scrambled to do more research on the images of the incredible body, which have revealed that this object is extraordinary indeed. In fact, it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

This was another of the rising number of reported cases which NASA and the government of the United States did not dispute or give an opinion. A few scientists working for NASA believe the observed object was not a coma because it was not shaped like one and it was not fizzing out any gases. However, the gases and rocks which were collected from the rock were different, and samples showed there are no such rocks on earth. Debates on the origin of Oumuamua pointed as the possible existence of alien life or a nearby planet which was inhabited by them. Research later conducted by NASA on the source of this specific rock was a failure with images from the international space station showing the rock was moving towards the earth surface from outer space. Scientists claim earth’s orbit attracted the rock by pulling it towards its center.

In the past decade, cases of unknown bugs being found on earth have been reported by the media with research showing these strange organisms may have found their way to land after surviving in outer space for too long. According to Chinese scientists who have studied flows of interplanetary between planets, dust that can travel through space at up to 70 km per second before reaching earth. They calculated that small bio-particles floating high in the atmosphere at an altitude of 93 miles or more could be knocked off the Earth’s surface by incoming space dust. Eventually, these organisms could reach other planets in the solar system. Some bacteria, plants and even hardy micro-animals called tardigrades are known to be capable of surviving in space. The same process could occur in reverse, bringing extraterrestrial bugs to Earth and possibly helping to seed life on the planet, the scientists believe. Previously scientists have considered the possibility of impacting asteroids and comets importing life, or the raw ingredients of life, to Earth.

In the book, Stories of our Lives, Banks makes contact with the aliens, and her life is affected by these with time. She is suddenly able to see through time and interpret some events which are beyond the actions of ordinary human beings. While this can be considered to be fiction, the possibility of alien contact cannot be ultimately ruled out given the extent to which organizations are trying to make alien contact. Debates on whether we should or should not try to make alien communication have always been there with some parties arguing for the idea while others are against the idea of contacting aliens. Those arguing against making contact with aliens in space say it’s entirely reckless and puts humans at risk. It’s likened to shouting in the jungle – you never know what’s out there, so you better not draw attention to yourself. One of renowned scientist, Stephen Hawking, argues that Earthlings might find themselves slaughtered and enslaved as seen when humans have colonized countries because of perceived superiority or pride. This argument, echoed by many other top scientists, is considered to be the most relevant given little is known of the abilities aliens have. Movies depict aliens as creatures stronger than normal human beings with strengths to fly and do things normal people cannot do or even try to do. If this is true, we can have one reason to avoid making contact with them for the safety of our planet and our lives.

While a number of these individuals believe it will be a huge mistake making contact with aliens, another group believes trying to contact with these unknown creatures will be of great benefit to the human kind generation (Randle & Kevin, 88). NASA’s continued the search for life outside our planet is based on the principle which states follow the water, a strategy reflecting the fact that, on Earth, where there’s water there’s life. Recent missions have revealed ice on the moon and Mars. Astronomers have detected more than 400 planets outside our solar system, some of which sit in the “Goldilocks zone” where the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to form. Scientists have tried to listen to strange sounds and activities using telescopes for more than 20 years, but we have also beamed our signals into space. NASA’s scientists wonder if we might be sending the wrong kind of messages.

Some enthusiasts believe any alien civilization capable of reaching us can only have survived long enough to develop the necessary technology by solving major social problems, such as war, poverty, and discrimination (Randle & Kevin, 88). According to research done by astronomers, every star in the universe is surrounded by planets and chances are a number of them support life. There are two techniques now under development that could make direct imaging of Earth-like planets possible. One involves specialized optics to block out interfering starlight and reveal the presence of orbiting exoplanets. The other is the “star shade, where an umbrella-like screen tens of meters in diameter is placed tens of thousands of kilometers in front of a space telescope lens (Randle & Kevin, 88). The star shade is designed to cast a shadow blocking out light from a star while leaving a planet’s reflected light unaffected.

In conclusion, the search for life outside of planet earth can be the only solution for the ongoing debate about the existence of aliens. All NASA needs to do is to intensify the search while at the same time address the claims of the sighting of UFO by people and the media. The military of the United States should also come clear of the debate by explaining to the public some of the sighting and cases of people coming into contact with strange creatures and objects. This will provide an excellent explanation to people who believe in alien life on earth. Fiction books and aliens about aliens can only be used as a form of entertainment for people because much of what they contain is not reliable to use or believe in.

Work Cited

Elfman, Eric, and Jeff Westover. Almanac of Alien Encounters. Random House, 2001.

—. Almanac of Alien Encounters. Random House, 2001.

Randle, Kevin D. The Ufo Dossier: 100 Years of Government Secrets, Conspiracies and Cover-Ups. 2016.

Skurzynski, Gloria. Are We Alone?: Scientists Search for Life in Space. National Geographic Soc., 2004.

Willis, Jon. All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life. Yale UP, 2016.

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