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Is planet hunting crucial to our survival ?

Posted on Monday, 7 May, 2012 | Comment icon 49 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: NASA

Astronomers in Australia have emphasised the importance of seeking out other habitable planets.

In the future the world's population is likely to increase to such an extent that one planet just isn't going to be enough, at some point the human race is going to need to colonize other planets and when that happens we're going to need to know where to go. Great strides have been made in recent years in the field of planet hunting and while we now know that extrasolar planets can be found in many different solar systems it isn't clear whether any of these would be suitable places to live.

"Determining whether these planets are habitable has become the new holy grail of astronomy," said Dr Charley Lineweaver. "It's probably one of the biggest, most confusing, and important issues that planetary scientists are going to have to deal with in the next 10 to 20 years."

"Understanding habitability and using that knowledge to locate the nearest habitable planet may be crucial for our survival as a species, writes Dr Charley Lineweaver and PhD student Aditya Chopra of the Australian National University in the Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences."

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #40 Posted by Bildr on 8 May, 2012, 22:17
Hmm... What about LIMITING BIRTH!?
Comment icon #41 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 May, 2012, 22:46
I'm really not sure what the point is that you think people are beginning to get. So I'm afraid I'm going to have to inject some reality here and repeat myself. We are not going to be able to leave this planet for centuries. If the problems are as bad as some are claiming we will be long extinct before then. If not then we are likely to have gone at least some way to solving them. Either way your argument is an irrelevance. As to being quarantined, what nonsense. We are not quarantined, we just don't have the capability to travel amongst the stars yet. How do you propose th... [More]
Comment icon #42 Posted by DONTEATUS on 9 May, 2012, 2:30
Wow ! THis is where Space meets the Place ! Were soon to not even need to worry ! THe clock is running,Humans will need to evolve quite a bit before we even try to move off planet ! Tech, social,which is all in the Mental part of our new needs on this world. Maybe we really could use a mentor ? Call Earth E.T We need your help !
Comment icon #43 Posted by _Only on 9 May, 2012, 2:51
He's not very good at finding a phone.
Comment icon #44 Posted by freeman88 on 9 May, 2012, 9:25
I don't mean to come across as a pessimist but i'm almost positive we will be long extinct before we will need the sustainability of a new planet. people as a whole are impatient, arrogant, ignorant and completely driven by the material world. i look around today and i see billions upon billions spent killing each other off while more die hungry, i see religion poisoning the minds of the short-sighted and spreading ignorance, and i see people in general who when it comes down to it don't give a damn about the next man and will crap on your grave if you cross him. the human race is ... [More]
Comment icon #45 Posted by nohands on 9 May, 2012, 12:21
maybe time will come itself and must start now....territory is going rough as they say... like china on philippines...
Comment icon #46 Posted by DONTEATUS on 9 May, 2012, 13:00
Hey freeman88 all good points indeed,one thing though If man ever gets off his high horse and evolves into a star traveling being,I would think we will of grown past the trivial mess we see all around us today. Its time to teach our children about potentials,about the far reaching goals we are so cappable of.Its just a very long way down the street to the pharmasist. And space is really,really Big so we should be looking as well as we can. Even expaand our tech to look even futher ! Great opinion,and Waspie is always right on mark ! Seeyaz !justDONTEATUS
Comment icon #47 Posted by Zarifa on 9 May, 2012, 17:56
Hopefully we will achieve some ethical improvement before we accomplish the technology to spread our seed any further.
Comment icon #48 Posted by shaddow134 on 9 May, 2012, 20:39
If we had Invested in Space the amount of money we have spent on Weapon systems to kill each other since world war 2.Then i'm pretty sure we would have bases on the moon and maybe on Mars by now....

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