“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

There's got to be life out there

The Kepler space-based telescope has discovered at least 8 new exoplanets that are very Earth like. One of them is only 12% larger than Earth and orbits in the "habitable zone" of its star. Kepler-438b is most likely rocky and therefor the most Earthlike. Though it receives 40% more illumination, and would be warmer than Earth, its star is a red dwarf which is cooler than our sun and would give the planet a red sky. 

Sadly it is 470 light years away(the Milky Way is 100,000 light years across) so even if we had a ship that could travel a modest 0.1c, it would take us 4,700 years to get there. Maybe we should be looking a little closer to home for Earth's twin. 

Still, finding likely habitable worlds encourages, if not validates, my belief that the universe is teeming with life and civilizations. Not sure what that means in terms of theological existentialism and Christian orthodoxy, but I don't need all the answers to enjoy staring at the night sky in wonderment.  


Bill said...

Science is starting to think there are quite a few prerequisites for intelligent life. For example our Moon is apparently the result of a collision almost exquisitely precise. It stabilizes our rotation, gives rise to tides that facilitated both early sea life and movement of life to land. Jupiter serves as a powerful comet and asteroid sponge that protects Earth from extinction events. It may turn out that intelligent life is rarer than Sagan et al ever thought.

Ed said...

Good points all Bill. It does seem highly unlikely to have been a random series of events that led to where we are now.

But I'd like to see what kind of "life" evolved on a planet with 10 times our gravity and CO2 as an atmosphere. With trillions of "Earths" in the universe, billions upon billions just in the Milky Way, there has to be some life somewhere. What a disappointing waste of space otherwise.

Also, if we are alone as God's only experiment, what a disappointment we must be.

Bill said...

Agreed, with trillions of chances, extremely unlikely circumstances may lead to myriad examples. Places nearby like Europa and Titan may be the first places we find life.

Ed said...

Definitely the Jovian moons are the most intriguing. Wish we could land something semi-autonomous there to have a look around.

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