So I was thinking, again.

I’m going to be 50 this year, and it really doesn’t scare me, not the way 40 did. I got the ol’ salt and pepper going, I wear bifocals, I take glucosamine supplements to keep my knees from sounding like Rice Krispies, and my digestion isn’t what it was 20 years ago, and in gay years it means I’m already dead, but you know what? If this is going-on-50, it doesn’t suck. Mentally, I still feel twenty-something, and I feel like I still have half my life ahead of me rather than most of it over with.

Heh. Back when I was going on 40, I kept seeing things saying ’40 is the new 30!’

Now I’m seeing ’50 is the new 30!’

Well, hell, if I can just keep resetting to 30 every ten years, I don’t mind that. Anyone care to wager if 60 will be the new 30 in ten years?

I will say this: there are a few things I want to live long enough to see.

I want to see equal marriage rights across the country. I give it about a 65% chance of happening this year or next, depending on when the cases hit the Supreme Court.

I want to see another manned landing on the Moon, and I don’t care which country does it. I give it 75% within the next 15 years. I want to live to see us reach Mars with people rather than robots. 40% within the next 30 years.

I want to see microbial life discovered on another planet or moon in our system. I give it 50% for Mars (once we get a mission to where the water is — permafrost, polar caps, or northern frozen sea if that theory pans out), 60% for Europa, and 15% for Titan. Everything we’ve seen about life just on our own planet is that once it gets a foothold, it doesn’t let go and it will find a way to make a living. As long as Mars’ climate change from warm and wet to cold and dry wasn’t catastrophic, I think any life that arose early on found a way to adapt. It won’t be more than microbes, but microbes would be enough. Europa, we need to get under the ice. It’s quite possible, maybe even likely, that the tidal stress Jupiter puts on it is enough to keep its core molten and therefore it should have an active geology — see Io — which means something quite like the black smokers in the Atlantic are likely there. If microbial life ever took hold, it’s had plenty of time to become multicellular, and maybe even more complex. As for Titan, I’d love to have something turn up there just to see life based on something other than water. It’s not likely… but something has to explain the excess acetylene in its atmosphere, and life is a possible source for that. You have a solvent and an energy source… whether it was enough to ever start anything, I don’t know, but if it did, wouldn’t cold methane life be an astonishing and awesome thing to be able to study?

I want one confirmed SETI signal. Given the size of the galaxy and all the other variables involved (I think the most difficult is: will we even recognize it when we see it?), I’m going to give it 1% within the next 50 years — but 100% within the next thousand.

I’d also like a MegaMillions hit. I put the odds of that at 0+ε% :)

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