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Space & Astronomy

Average star may have two habitable worlds

February 7, 2015 | Comment icon 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 | Comments (32)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #23 Posted by Ozfactor 7 years ago
actually i am curently monoring in normal biology Is that anything like a monobrow ?
Comment icon #24 Posted by gailforce 7 years ago
Is that anything like a monobrow ? minoring (?) maybe... i dont really get your english spelling all that mutch
Comment icon #25 Posted by hulabaloo 7 years ago
will this fact, lower UFO sightings? after all...we don't have to imagine Aliens now...they are bound to be there, albeit too far away
Comment icon #26 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
who cares im still right on this one No one but you is assuming science dictates that a world must be earthlike to have life. There are many that hypothesize Europa and Titan could harbor life and neither is earth-like or even a planet and both reside in our little solar system. Life on those worlds would be radically different than what we have on earth. Habitable zone is merely shorthand for an orbital region around a star within which a planet could support liquid water. Many call it the Goldilocks Zone which is probably a more appropriate term but nothing in either term suggests that it is... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by Gomar 7 years ago
Life is rare; intelligent life is even rarer. In the 20th.c. there were still naked uncontacted native tribes all over the world who lived the same way for thousands of years. If a society has no need for higher tech such as radio, tv, electricity, computers, autos, airplanes, A-bombs, space ships, it simply wont develop them... and remain naked in the jungles.
Comment icon #28 Posted by toast 7 years ago
Life is rare; intelligent life is even rarer. That statement may fit for the life on Earth but it is inadmissible to judge about the question and/or math about the amount of intelligent life in the whole universe as we do not have a model independent point of view to be able to collect data that would allow us to calculate the proportion and/or commonness of intelligent life within the universe.
Comment icon #29 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
One thing that I find amusing is that many, if not most, people think of Earth as the perfect planet. As far as we know, Earth may be just on the borderline of what is habitable. Until we get out there and investigate, we'll not know if life is easy or hard. Perhaps all "intelligent" species are contacted and any outward signs of their presence is covered up. It is possible that we are only on the idiot edge of intelligence and that we aren't worth contacting.
Comment icon #30 Posted by socrates.junior 7 years ago
That finding about two inhabitable planets per star system may be telling us more than we realize. Mars appears to still be marginally habitable, by certain forms of life, in certain environmental niches. It may actually be inhabited, in its modest way. That's an extremely generous assessment of the potential for life on Mars.
Comment icon #31 Posted by bison 7 years ago
Not really that generous. The article, linked below gives a good sense of what I had in mind. Science takes the idea of the current habitability of Mars quite seriously. This most likely applies to micro-organisms in underground niches, but that would still be life on Mars. Actually finding any sort of life on Mars would be a major scientific discovery, with very important implications for the abundance of life throughout the universe. http://www.universetoday.com/91848/new-study-says-large-regions-of mars-could-sustain-life/
Comment icon #32 Posted by socrates.junior 7 years ago
It would be a major scientific discovery, I agree there. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/ast.2011.0660 Good stuff in the paper. But I stand by their "water = life" attitude as being a generous assessment. Something interesting to note, at least for the model of this paper...heat flow on Mars is going to be quantified pretty soon with the Insight mission. As long as the regolith cooperates and allows the heat probe to go down. And it should, thousands of rocky ejecta craters notwithstanding. So Jones et al could get some good data soon.


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