I'm a little nervous about how visibly a fascination with science fiction and fantasy worlds has permeated the internet science community. This side of the science world was supposed to be a closely held secret that thousands of pimply-faced, virgin boys supressed from view in order to.. ahem...well, to get on with things.
In the last two months I have caught two serious reviews now discussing Star Trek in the context of extraterrestrial life. Via The Eternal Golden Braid , professor Stephen Brenner speculates that maybe extraterrestrial life doesn't need liquid water, especially at very low temperatures, which would definitely upend a lot of the criteria used now to narrow the search. To bolster his arguments, he cites several life forms encountered by the Star Ship Enterprise in their five-season quest for sequels. A while back, a Chris McKay review on the same topic also pined for the famous "tricorder" which could detect life at a distance. Now Gene Rodenberry, may his ashes never waft into my coffee, was a brilliant man, but I think I'm not ready yet to footnote him.
Full disclosure: author has viewed Star Wars episode IV in excess of 100 times, and can recite long stretches of Monty Python from memory. Author has kissed a girl.