Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oh, the Possibilities

National Geographic has short article on their site about a recent study which determined roughly 15 percent of all stars in the Milky Way galaxy may be similar to ours, which increases their likelihood of harboring life.

From the article:

The research is based on surveys of stars with gas giant planets—similar to Jupiter and Saturn—that orbit far from their stars.

As in our solar system, vast distances stretch between these stars and their gas giants. This creates ample room for rocky planets to thrive in the stars' habitable zones, the regions where liquid water can exist.

And that boosts the likelihood that other Earths, and maybe even other forms of life, abound in the Milky Way.

Hopefully, the Kepler Space Telescope and future missions will be able to support this article's conclusions. Unfortunately, it will take a couple of years before we have any answers from Kepler (to see how Kepler works, I recommend Phil Plait's explanation). Being patient sucks!

Anyway, I love imagining the possibilities. There is just so much out there waiting to be explored. I only wish I would be able to see some of it in my lifetime. But who knows? Humanity might be able to send an unmanned probe to some of our nearest neighbors and send back pictures in time for me to see them. Only time will tell.

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