“Is there life on Mars?” David Bowie posed this question to the masses in 1971 when the world was obsessed with the notion of life on other planets. On Feb. 22, NASA announced the discovery of the first “exoplanet” system, called TRAPPIST-1, located approximately 40 light-years away from Earth and centered around an ultra-cool dwarf star. This new planetary system, which is comprised of seven Earth-sized planets, three of which are inhabitable, is the largest extraterrestrial discovery in the history of NASA, strengthening the belief for inquisitive individuals and conspiracy theorists alike that there is the possibility of extraterrestrials in other galaxies and planets.

In a childlike wonder, we question the possibilities of little green men visiting Earth from distant, alien-sounding planets and abducting us in their UFOs. However, the case simply is that these beings may be simplistic or germ-like in nature, sitting in a primordial ooze in comparison to how evolved we are as a species. As stated by The Independent, “Even if life isn’t ever found near TRAPPIST-1, it might eventually develop there. The star is relatively young – even when our own Sun has run out of fuel and our solar system is destroyed, the newly-discovered one will still be in its early infancy.”

While these beings may not be the stuff of nightmares as envisioned in our childhood, the possibility of life remains a viable option for scientists and opens a door to the possibilities of life existing outside of our solar system. So forget Mars; the future of extraterrestrial beings lies in an incomprehensible space of being that we may never reach in our time here on Earth.

There is also the possibility that despite these recent discoveries, the entire situation may be overhyped. While this large extraterrestrial discovery has been made and while the possibility of life out there is ever imminent, there remains the chance that there may not be life out there at all. While scientists may discover the existence of vegetation or water, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are guaranteed to see another life form nearly as advanced as human beings walking around on this “exoplanet” system.

Again, the childlike whimsy takes over and we find ourselves back to square one asking ourselves the question of whether there truly is life out there. As best said by Fox Mulder in the hit sci-fi series “X-Files,” “the truth is out there.”

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