Space & Astronomy
Average star may have two habitable worlds
February 7, 2015 | 32 comments
How many habitable extrasolar planets are out there ? Image Credit: NASA
Scientists in Australia have determined that Earth-like planets are likely to be commonplace.
The search for extraterrestrial life typically goes hand in hand with the search for extrasolar planets, in particular those that are the correct size and distance from their parent star to support the conditions needed for life as we know it to survive.
One of the biggest questions scientists have been attempting to answer is how many such worlds actually exist out there and if worlds like our own are the exception rather than the norm.
Now scientists in Australia including Professor Charley Lineweaver and PhD student Tim Bovaird believe they may have come up with the answer by applying a centuries old astronomical rule called Bode's Law to data collected by the Kepler Space Telescope.
Their findings suggest that there are on average two Earth-like worlds in orbit around every star, a figure that would seem to be far higher than anyone could have ever guessed.
Whether or not life actually exists on these worlds however remains a matter of some debate.
"The universe is not teeming with aliens with human-like intelligence that can build radio telescopes and space ships," said Prof Lineweaver. "Otherwise we would have seen or heard from them."
"It could be that there is some other bottleneck for the emergence of life that we havenít worked out yet. Or intelligent civilizations evolve, but then self-destruct."
Source: The Register
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