Sunday, July 25, 2010

NASA's Deep Space Camera Locates Host of 'Earths'

Scientists celebrated Sunday after finding more than 700 suspected new planets -- including up to 140 similar in size to Earth -- in just six weeks of using a powerful new space observatory.
Early results from NASA’s Kepler Mission, a small satellite observing deep space, suggested planets like Earth were far more common than previously thought.

“The figures suggest our galaxy, the Milky Way [which has more than 100 billion stars] will contain 100 million habitable planets, and soon we will be identifying the first of them,” said Dimitar Sasselov, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and a scientist on the Kepler Mission. "There is a lot more work we need to do with this, but the statistical result is loud and clear, and it is that planets like our own Earth are out there."

We're in the outer, lefthanded corner of the Milky Way. Looking in from Andromeda, that is. Sol is genuinely distant from the Galactic core that our newer space telescopes have begun to illuminate, and while these results are interesting, they beg the question; where are they?

Our galactic neighbors? The ones, some of them leastwise, with 8 billions or so years of head start? The ones we can now, however faintly, see, that must have most assuredly saw us in kind, many, many centuries ago. A galaxy that contains 200 to 400 billion stars, perhaps a hundredth of them the right temperature, perhaps a hundredth of them possessing satellites similar to earth, and maybe a hundredth of them the center of a solar system with planets fortunate enough to have the right sized moons and a thick enough atmosphere to withstand the bombardment of planet-killing asteroids, long enough for intelligent life to first gain a foothold, and then thrive.

The hundredths divided by the hundredths still equals an awful lot of potential earths. Maybe. Birds and ants and crocodiles perhaps but not one of these, still imaginary many, with anything remotely resembling a technology. 

The eggheads continue to argue over the size of the Milky Way, closest of all galaxies to giant Andromeda,  that itself holds captive over a trillion stars, but Andromeda poses an even more perplexing picture. Three to four times as star-strewn as our own, so where are its earths? More importantly, where are its low, mid, high, or super technologies?

Eliminating the impossible leads to the truth, so we know these potential space brothers aren't invisible, or species claws its way to the top of the evolutionary heap to then exist as a wallflower...or disinterested, or, X-Files aside, already among us.

Whats left?


fits said...

fits said...