Science

Earth 2?

This morning I woke up to the news announcing the discovery of a new Earth-like planet orbiting a star in the constellation Libra. How awesome is that? Answer: very. There’s a good chance the planet is rocky, temperate, and watery, all of which makes it a prime place to start digging around for signs of life! The estimated temperatures range from 32 to 104F, which happens to be much, much more livable than Boston. If someone there sells a decent slice of pizza, I’ll be on the first rocket out of the Hub.

Of course, when I logged on to the Interwebbery I immediately checked out my darling Phil’s blog, and I encourage you to do the same to get the astronomically-correct info.

One quote from Phil really struck me:

Up until 1995 we weren’t even sure if any other stars had planets!

I had no idea — what an amazing thought, that in just twelve years we’ve managed to explore and discover so much about our universe. For comparison, it took me three years just to discover the Shawarma joint three blocks from my apartment.

This discovery is really only the beginning of a whole new task, with many more questions still unanswered. The most important of these is, of course:

What’s this going to do to my horoscope?

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

Related Articles

8 Comments

  1. Scott Adams makes a great proposal on this:

    [quote]I suggest we play God and put some there. 20.5 light years is too long for human travel, but we could place some hearty bacteria and whatnot in a probe and fire it in that direction. If there isn’t already life on Gliese 581 C, the bacteria and whatnot can evolve into zebras and Creationists over time. If there already is life on the planet, our bacteria and whatnot will probably infect them and wipe out their civilization. So we might want to put a Mars license plate on the probe.[/quote]

  2. It's still not known how common solar systems like our own are, because we can't yet detect solar systems like our own. It's funny how people realized that lower mass stars are (a) dimmer and (b) less massive, and so superficially with most kinds of planet searches it is easier to detect planets in the habitable zone around these less massive objects than around solar-like stars.

  3. Response to:

    "Scott Adams makes a great proposal on this:

    [quote]I suggest we play God and put some there. 20.5 light years is too long for human travel, but we could place some hearty bacteria and whatnot in a probe and fire it in that direction. If there isn’t already life on Gliese 581 C, the bacteria and whatnot can evolve into zebras and Creationists over time. If there already is life on the planet, our bacteria and whatnot will probably infect them and wipe out their civilization. So we might want to put a Mars license plate on the probe.[/quote]"

    There's also a third possibility. The alien civilization we almost just wiped out could send a rocket with their own alien death-virus back to Earth in their final days.

  4. "There’s also a third possibility. The alien civilization we almost just wiped out could send a rocket with their own alien death-virus back to Earth in their final days."

    Well, we'd probably have several centuries to wait for it to arrive, and we'd know where to look out for it.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close