I have been a little behind on the Astronomy front lately but I really enjoyed this article and wanted to share. This is a recent photo taken of Mars from orbit by HiRISE. It shows a huge sea of sand dunes (color enhanced for visibility):
I love this photo because it’s a lot like Earth in some ways:
But at the same time, it’s so different in other ways. It’s a fascinating reminder that there are other worlds than this.
Regardless of whether life exists on Mars or not, there’s so many other planets in this galaxy alone, someday we’ll find other worlds with life. And of those worlds we’ll find a few with sentient life. It may be 10,000 or 20,000 years later but it is inevitable. The universe is simply too big not to have other worlds, other lifeforms.1
From the perspective of Buddhism, this wouldn’t be too surprising either. Although the ancient Indian world-view of a infinite number of continents no longer fits the modern scientific world-view, the idea of countless worlds apart from our own still fascinates many people, and remains a part of the Buddhist tradition. In Buddhism, the focus is on liberating all sentient beings, and whatever sentient beings existed in other words would not be excluded. The Dharma, as a fundamental law of reality, would apply to them just as much as it would anyone.
1 Let’s just hope there are no giant sandworms there