Since this build of the LEGO Ultimate A-Wing Starfighter model from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi — which is being undertaken by my chum John — is scheduled to take 30 days at 19 instructions per day, and since we are now on Day 9 of the build, this means we are already 30% of the way through the project. My, how time flies when you’re having fun.

Starting the first wing (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: John Alflat)

Accompanying today’s photo, John’s email conveyed the following words of wisdom: “Work has commenced on the wing at the top of the picture. If you zoom in, you can see the complexity of the piece attached. The top of this wing comes next, followed by the wing on the other side, so progress will appear to be slow for a while. There is a green piece of LEGO in the wing that will not be seen by an outside observer. I wonder if they had some extra parts that needed using up?”

As part of our discussions in the Day 8 column, I posed the question: “If one were to binge all the Star Wars films in one mammoth session, should one watch them in the order in which they were made or in the order of chronological events?”

Well, John replied as follows: “As for the order in which to watch the Star Wars canon, it’s in this order, which follows the story timeline. And yes, I do watch the cartoon series as well because they add to the story and because they are pretty good (with the exception of Star Wars Resistance). Also, watch out for The Bad Batch, which is going to be released soon.”

What? There are cartoons as well? I fear that I’m completely out of touch (note to self, “Must do better!”). Sparked by this build, one of the things upon which I’ve been cogitating and ruminating is the concept of alien life. Based on everything I’ve seen and read, I’m convinced that life in one form or another abounds throughout the universe. If you haven’t already perused and pondered these books, I hearty recommend Life’s Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos by Peter M. Hoffmann and Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell by Dennis Bray.

Despite some false starts, I honestly don’t think it will be long before we discover traces of life on Mars (these traces may be of life that is now extinct, but I wouldn’t be overly surprised if we were to find living microbes under the surface wherever there is some form of water). Furthermore, as we spread throughout our solar system, I have every confidence that we will find simple* lifeforms in places like some of Jupiter’s moons, with Europa being favorite, but Callisto and Ganymede are also in the running, along with some of the moons of Saturn, such as Enceladus and even Titan** (*in reality, nothing about life is simple; **in he case of Titan, this wouldn’t be anything like life as we know it). There have also been recent speculations about the possibility of life high in the atmosphere of Venus.

Furthermore, although it’s science fiction, after reading Heart of the Comet by David Brin and Gregory Benford, you’d be hard pushed to persuade me to set up home in tunnels hewed out of a comet as part of a mining expedition. Farfetched? Perhaps, but don’t forget that just a couple of years ago as I pen these words, the Colorado School of Mines debuted an advanced degree program for asteroid mining (see also my column I Want to Be an Asteroid Miner).

We will continue this discussion in our Day 10 blog. In the meantime, do you believe we will one day discover rudimentary life on other planets and moons in our solar system?