Wild speculation that began with a movie…

In 1997, the inspirational sci-fi drama Contact arrived in cinemas on Earth. Jodie Foster played Dr. Eleanor (“Ellie” to her friends) whose childhood experiences compel her to search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, having been disappointed with life she made contact with here (or that life’s intelligence). The speculation approaches…

I re-watched this moving film recently and discovered it had lost none of it’s poignancy, impact or ability to provoke thought. Watching it again (twice), I made the terrible mistake of thinking. Oh dear, when will I learn… Out of this thinking popped a…theory? No, too formal…a hypothesis…No, far too scientific.  Let’s just call it wild speculation.

 In brief, for those prone to excitability at the shocking: extra-terrestrial intelligence in Contact proved capable of greatly amplifying an Earth-sourced radio signal for a return-call. The returned signal lead to significant and meaningful activity on Earth. If we suppose explicit effects at a distance are possible, is the possibility of tacit effects by signals from afar reasonable?

The Premises of the following Wild Speculation:

  • Radiation can change the properties of an organism’s DNA and is thereby believed to have contributed to evolution here on Earth (where this website is usually located).
  • Since the 17th Century, mankind has continually aspired to enhance the power and capabilities of telescopes and in this endeavour has succeeded reliably.
  • Earth offers scarce resources for a continually growing population of organisms that need them for survival and people are among those needy organisms.
  • Terraforming Mars is the subject of serious consideration for the purpose of sustaining future human populations (as a needy organism) and as security from a catastrophic extinction event as occurred 65 milllion years ago when a meteor is believed to have killed-off the dinosaurs (who weren’t as needy but just as fragile)
  • The lasers that once thrilled audiences of sci-fi films such as Star Wars, are now widely used in fields such as medicine, manufacture and military hardware. A laser device emitting highly amplified electromagnetic radiation may provide the characteristics useful for effect at great distances.


The earliest known telescopes started bringing small things into view during the 17th Century and have since become quite large things worth looking at themselves. From hands shielding eyes from the sun, to refractors, reflectors, the achromatic lens, paraboidal mirrors, and onto the radio telescopes bearing little resemblance to their ancestors of observation, our ability to see the universe only gets better with time.

Add to the mix the serious consideration given to terraforming Mars for colonisation, the evidence suggesting radiation has contributed to evolution of life on Earth and significant progress in laser technology and what do you get? An idea (a.k.a. Wild Speculation). A wildly speculative cogitation of imagination: Suppose we some day explore the use of laser technology in terraforming another planet.

Suppose telescopic technology continues to develop as history suggests it will,

giving us ever more impressive resolution of faraway things. Suppose, at some point in the future laser and telescopic technology become married in the pursuit of a home away from home for humanity… Now suppose, in as wildly an optimistic leap of logic as the present speculation is wild, that if such an eventuation were possible for us, that we may even so strangely be the result of such an endeavour from an unseen arbiter of our own evolution.

You can’t say you weren’t warned that the speculation would be wild. Now you know for sure.

Online Advocate/Australian Higher Education/Community Health/Youth Mental Health. Follow me on Twitter @writerinsight

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