A Whole New World

Our universe just got a little more interesting:

NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the “habitable zone,” the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. Kepler also has discovered more than 1,000 new planet candidates, nearly doubling its previously known count. Ten of these candidates are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of their host star. Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are actual planets.

The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun. The planet is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth. Scientists don’t yet know if Kepler-22b has a predominantly rocky, gaseous or liquid composition, but its discovery is a step closer to finding Earth-like planets.

The rumors that Dennis Kucinich has already been “called home” to Kepler-22b are completely unfounded.

Here’s NASA’s cool rendering of the system.

There’s no way, right now, of knowing what this planet is like. It could be like Venus or Mars, incapable of supporting our kind of life. But give how (comparatively) easily Kepler is finding these things, they must be very common.

The day is coming when we will know just how common life is in our universe.

Comments are closed.

  1. AlexInCT

    If we ever encounter aliens I am afraid that if the laws of nature apply to them it will be us or them. All that hoity-toity crap about wise advanced civilizations trekking the stars for fun is just that: wishful thinking. It will be about resources, and we all know from our history how that always plays out.

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  2. ryansparx

    When we put our heads together and tried to list everything we could say with certainty about other civilizations, without having actually met them, all that we knew boiled down to three simple laws of alien behavior:

    1) THEIR SURVIVAL WILL BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN OUR SURVIVAL.
    If an alien species has to choose between them and us, they won’t choose us. It is difficult to imagine a contrary case; species don’t survive by being self-sacrificing.

    2) WIMPS DON’T BECOME TOP DOGS.
    No species makes it to the top by being passive. The species in charge of any given planet will be highly intelligent, alert, aggressive, and ruthless when necessary.

    3) THEY WILL ASSUME THAT THE FIRST TWO LAWS APPLY TO US.

    From The Killing Star, by Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowsk, because I like my Scifi to be hard and unforgiving.

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  3. West Virginia Rebel

    Send ‘em Michael Moore. The planet looks big enough to support his weight, and they can live off of his body mass for decades.

    I imagine that if/when we finally do meet aliens, we probably wouldn’t even recognize them as such.

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