A few dozen Earth-like planets likely to exist within 30 light years

Friday, February 20, 2009

From Wikipedia: Artist's rendition of the view from a hypothetical planet orbiting Alpha Centauri A

I agree with this too, and it'll only be about two years before we start to get an idea of how accurate this estimation is after Kepler launches.
Earth-like planets with life-sustaining conditions are spinning around stars in our galactic neighborhood, US astrophysicists say. They just haven't been found yet.

"There are something like a few dozen solar-type stars within something like 30 light years of the sun, and I would think that a good number of those -- perhaps half of them have Earth-like planets," Alan Boss told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AASS).

"So I think there is a very good chance that we will find some Earth-like planets within 10, 20 or 30 light years of the Sun," the astrophysicist from the Carnegie Institution for Science told his AAAS colleagues meeting here since Thursday.


"I will be absolutely astonished if Kepler or COROT didn't find any earth-like planets, because basically we are finding them already," Boss told a press conference Saturday when asked why he felt so confident.

COROT has already discovered the smallest extraterrestrial planet so far. At a little over twice the Earth's diameter, the planet is very close to its star and very hot, astronomers reported earlier this month.

Boss said Kepler and COROT will likely find so many Earth-like planets that they will "tell us how to go ahead and build the next space telescope to go and examine these planets, after we know they are there."

That's the most exciting part for me too. I also think that once we start discovering these planets a lot of our existing resources will start to devote themselves towards finding out more about them as opposed to observations of more distant objects like other galaxies, pulsars and so on. These objects of course are interesting as well but if you have access to a certain amount of time at a major observatory and your choices are Galaxy XM45097 (just made that name up) vs. refining what we know about a planet about the size of Earth that might or might not have life, it's not that hard a choice to make.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP