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KEPLER SCIENTIST: 'GALAXY IS RICH IN EARTH-LIKE PLANETS'

POSTED BY: AURAPTOR
UPDATED: Monday, July 26, 2010 15:27
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Monday, July 26, 2010 3:25 PM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!


This is cool....

In a recent presentation, Kepler co-investigator Dimitar Sasselov preempted the official announcement that the exoplanet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope has discovered about 140 candidate worlds orbiting other stars that are "like Earth."

Usually, announcements like these happen after an official press release, but during the TEDGLobal conference in Oxford, U.K., Sasselov unexpectedly dropped the groundbreaking news in one of his presentation slides.

"You can see here the small planets dominate the picture," he casually said while referring to a graph depicting the different exoplanet sizes and their number as of July 2010.

Although he refers to these exoplanets as "candidate" Earth-like worlds, Sasselov goes on to talk about the statistical prevalence of small planets throughout the Milky Way.

Before Kepler, only the larger exoplanets could be seen. This is fairly obvious; large gas giants are easier to detect over the great interstellar distances. The highly sensitive Kepler has now leveled the playing field, indicating that there are many more exoplanets twice the size of Earth and smaller.

Undoubtedly, this is huge news. If officially confirmed by NASA -- and only then would it be advisable to pop the champagne corks -- the discovery of dozens of worlds of comparable size to Earth is historic.

Although it has largely been assumed to be the case, Kepler will have proven that our planet is not unique in our galaxy. If there are so many Earth-like worlds out there, will any be home to extraterrestrial life?

Speculation about the existence of alien life will have another strong case to suggest that if planets like Earth are not rare, than perhaps "life as we know it" is ubiquitous throughout the Milky Way.

http://news.discovery.com/space/kepler-scientist-galaxy-is-rich-in-ear
th-like-planets.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1






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Monday, July 26, 2010 3:27 PM

CYBERSNARK


"And the meek have inherited not a one."

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We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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