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.